FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 file photo, a college student plays a computer game at an Internet cafe in Seoul, South Korea. On Monday, 18, 2018, the World Health Organization said that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a mental health condition. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

The Georgia Department of Education announced Wednesday that it will provide $500,000 to 17 school districts to implement middle-school computer coding programs.

The funds, approved by the State Board of Education based on State School Superintendent Woods’ recommendation, will target middle schools in rural, underserved, or high-poverty school clusters. The grants look to fund equipment, training, curriculum, and teacher professional development.

“Georgia students need to graduate ready for 21st-century careers – we can’t be complacent and rely on the way we’ve always done things, and we can’t wait until high school to start preparing our kids,” Superintendent Woods said. “Coding and computer science is a piece of that puzzle. This funding and these new courses for middle-school computer coding are part of the broader work we’re doing at the Department to expand opportunities for students in Georgia’s public schools.”

The awarded districts are:

  • Appling County
  • Atlanta Public Schools
  • Ben Hill County
  • Savannah-Chatham County
  • Dougherty County
  • Gwinnett County
  • Jackson County
  • Jasper County
  • Jefferson County
  • Liberty County
  • Muscogee County
  • Griffin-Spalding County
  • Taliaferro County
  • Thomas County
  • Warren County
  • Wheeler County
  • Whitfield County

The grant is part of CS4GA, the Georgia Department of Education’s initiative to make Georgia a national leader in the computer science movement by developing and delivering high-quality courses, resources and professional learning; increasing the number of Computer Science (CS) endorsements held by educators, and expanding the integration of CS throughout the K-12 curriculum.

All Georgia school district were eligible to apply for up to four school-based grants along with meeting application requirements.  The applications that met the requirements were selected through a competitive award process.

Superintendent Woods also announced Wednesday that all Georgia schools will have access to three new middle school computer science courses. The State Board of Education approved standards for Foundations of Secure Information Systems, Foundations of Computer Programming, and Foundations of Interactive Design.

The course standards were developed based on public feedback, including opportunities for public comment and participation from educators, business and industry representatives, parents, and advocates.

 

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