Planning and implementation are well under way for 12 awarded Computer Science is Elementary schools, a joint project of the Iowa Department of Education and the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. For Kingsley-Pierson Elementary, students are already building confidence in computer science after only a couple months of implementing computer science into the elementary curriculum.
As a former high school business teacher for Kingsley-Pierson High School, Erin Chute was aware of the many careers that involve computer science skills so she began teaching them in her classroom. The Coding Buddies program was formed to partner high school students with elementary students and introduce computer science at a young age. With the computer science skills elementary students were learning early on, Chute knew curriculum would need to be developed to continue to grow and teach new computer science skills to students as they moved on to the next grade level.
This mindset led Chute, now the Curriculum Coordinator, instructional coach and digital literacy coach for Kingsley-Pierson Community School District, to pursue the Computer Science is Elementary award. Once awarded, the district wasted no time in planning and implementation. A group of educators found resources, wrote curriculum and held workshops over the summer to help prepare for implementation at the beginning of the school year.
Strong support from the community has helped bring awareness to many local careers that depend on computer science knowledge. Community engagement has ranged from guest speakers and open houses to demonstrations and field trips to see how computer science is used in the workplace.
“The Computer Science is Elementary award opened so many doors for our students. We were able to put computer science in the hands of our students a lot sooner. It can be taught in lessons, however, being able to have a hands-on computer science experience has made it come to life,” said Chute.
In the future, the goal is for computer science to be fully implemented across the Kingsley-Pierson elementary, middle and high school curriculum.
Kingsley-Pierson Elementary and eleven other schools will serve as models for Iowa educators interested in implementing computer science instruction. More information about the Computer Science is Elementary project and awardees can be found at www.IowaSTEM.gov/cselementary.