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Cheltenham Awarded PAsmart Targeted Grant to Grow K-8 Computer Science

PAsmart logo The Cheltenham School District (CSD) has received a $35,000 PAsmart Targeted grant to expand K-8 computer science (CS) classes and teacher training. Cheltenham is one of 136 school districts, five career and technical centers, 15 charter and cyber charter schools and seven intermediate units to receive funding from the state.

The grant will support K-8 growth in computer science, specifically to train teachers through a series of face-to-face and online workshops. Additionally, funds will be allocated to building the district’s inventory of computer science reference materials, physical computing devices, such as Ozobots, Spheros, Hummingbird Robotics, Micro:bit and iPads and MacBook computers necessary for program creation.

The PAsmart grant will help fund the expansion of the school district's CS offerings to provide all K-8 students the opportunity to experience programmable robots, physical computing devices and coding of various devices in a collaborative environment through project-based learning and design thinking with computer science as the medium. With this change, Cheltenham has an opportunity to serve a significant group of students categorized as historically underrepresented within the CS environment.

In 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf secured $40 million to invest strategically in education and workforce development through PAsmart. The Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board provided recommendations and approved the framework for the funding priorities. One component of this funding includes expanding grants to accelerate learning and professional development in the fast-growing fields of STEM and computer science. Up to $20 million in grants will be awarded – via targeted and advancing grants – to bring high-quality STEM and computer science education to communities, with a focus on early learning centers, libraries, out-of-school time providers, career and technical centers, post-secondary institutions, elementary, middle and high schools. Up to $35,000 each, targeted grants are structured to meet the needs of local education agencies and their schools that currently have limited to no CS/STEM offerings.