Spring Cove SD Awarded $500,000 'PAsmart' Grant

 

February 14, 2019



On Monday, Feb. 11, Gov. Tom Wolf announced $9.6 million in PAsmart Advancing Computer Science and STEM Education Grants will be distributed to 23 entities across Pennsylvania to expand Computer Science/STEM education.

The Spring Cove School District was among the recipients, securing the maximum award of $500,000.

Spring Cove’s PAsmart initiative – entitled the PAsmart Rural Community Advancement Partnership – will provide training and resources to expand K-12 Computer Science and STEM education through engaging, innovative Project Lead the Way (PLTW) programming and an expansion of industry-based learning. The initiatives within the grant are designed to address the economic and workforce needs of Spring Cove’s rural community.

Gov. Wolf’s

PAsmart Initiative

Occupations in STEM fields are growing exponentially. According to Pennsylvania Department of Education website, “Over the next decade, seven in 10 new jobs in Pennsylvania will require workers to use a computer and an estimated 300,000 STEM jobs will be available in the commonwealth by 2026. To meet this projected demand, Governor Tom Wolf launched PAsmart, a new initiative to invest in the commonwealth’s existing future workforce.”


“With PAsmart, Pennsylvania will have the most prepared and talented workforce in the country, which will help businesses succeed, grow the middle class, and strengthen the economy for everyone,” Gov. Wolf said.

Project Lead the Way

PLTW allows students to build their knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through real-world challenges. PLTW Computer Science and STEM modules/courses require research, problem-solving, teamwork, communication, and mediation – the soft skills required for success in the 21st century workforce. Students are actively engaged in learning experiences which are coherent with labor market priorities and are, therefore, empowered to achieve future career success.

According to David Dimmett, senior vice president and chief engagement officer of Project Lead the Way Inc., “PLTW is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for PreK-12 students and teachers across the United States. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning.”


“High concentrations of PLTW schools can be found in Eastern and Western Pennsylvania, particularly around cities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but not in rural central Pennsylvania,” Dr. Betsy Baker, Spring Cove School District superintendent, said. “The Spring Cove School District is one of only five Districts implementing PLTW in Central Pennsylvania, and none of the five currently offer K-12 programming. Rural communities, such as ours, need access to high quality Computer Science/STEM programming and our students deserve the opportunity for this access in order to prepare them for success in the 21st century and in the workforce.

“To meet the educational needs of our students now and in the future, we need to immediately provide them with greater access to effective Computer Science and STEM education. Our PAsmart Grant initiative allows us to do so with the urgency required while still ensuring a successful implementation through a carefully planned initiative built around effective, research-based instructional programming.”

SCSD’s PAsmart

Grant Initiative

The goals of Spring Cove’s PAsmart Grant initiative include the following:

• Expand access to high quality education in Computer Science and STEM for all K-12 students;

• Increase the number of educators trained to teach Computer Science/STEM education;

• Boost the participation in Computer Science/STEM education of historically under-served and underrepresented populations;

• Improve student achievement in the areas of math, science, and industry-based learning;

• Increase course rigor; and

• Equip students for success in post-secondary education/training and/or in the workforce.

To achieve these goals, Dr. Baker said PLTW District Transformation Training will be provided to all elementary faculty. The related supplies to implement PLTW Launch will be purchased, including 900 Chromebooks for the K-5 classrooms. Two trained Launch Lead Teachers will help sustain the initiative into the future.

At the middle school, where three PLTW Gateway modules are currently being implemented, training and supplies, including 3D printers, will be provided to implement four new modules focused on Computer Science/Technology:

• Gateway App Creators in Grade 6,

• Gateway Design and Modeling in Grade 7,

• Gateway Computer Science for Innovators and Makers in Grade 7, and

• Gateway Science of Technology in Grade 8.

In addition, Dr. Baker said students will also be offered the opportunity to achieve industry-recognized IT certification through a partnership with CompTIA. Finally, three new PLTW courses within the Computer Science and Engineering Pathways will be instituted at the high school in 2019-20:

• Computer Science Principles,

• Introduction to Engineering, and

• Computer Integrated Manufacturing.

A Cybersecurity course will be added in 2020-21. Supplies to support these courses will include a CNC machine and robotics kits to be purchased through grant funding. Efforts will also include expanding dual-enrollment offerings and increasing work-based learning experiences.

PAsmart Rural

Community

Advancement Partners

“To support our local community and to better prepare our students for the workforce, our district has to be proactive in approaching local employers, determining their needs, and responding appropriately with revisions to our curricula and to the educational opportunities we provide for our students,” Dr. Baker said. “Spring Cove’s PAsmart Rural Community Advancement Partnership leverages the support of ten already-established cross-sector partners and positions the District to further build upon these relationships to include additional partners.”

Each of the 10 established, diverse sector partners provided letters of support which were submitted with the district’s grant application. In addition, a recent $20,000 donation from NPC Inc. provided “matching funds” to support the district’s proposal. Spring Cove’s PAsmart Rural Community Advancement Partners, listed alphabetically, include:

• Blair County Chamber of Commerce,

• CompTIA (IT Trade Association),

• Dragon Pride Foundation (SCSD Education Foundation),

• Martinsburg Community Library,

• Morrisons Cove Rotary Club,

• Mount Aloysius College,

• NPC Inc.,

• Project Lead the Way,

• Spring Cove Education Association (SCSD Labor Organization), and

• Southern Alleghenies Workforce Development Board.

Dr. Baker said these cross-sector partners work with the district, in various capacities, to define stakeholder needs and to reduce the isolation between schools, businesses, and other community stakeholders, opening the door for collaboration and idea sharing to address identified needs and to better prepare our students for post-secondary and career success. Spring Cove’s motto is “Building a foundation of excellence…one student at a time.” The District’s Board, administration, faculty, staff, and school community work collaboratively in this continual stride for excellence.

In his letter of support for the PAsmart Grant Initiative, Spring Cove Education Association President Joe Logan wrote:

“SCEA is proud that it works cooperatively with the Spring Cove School District administration and puts the students’ best interests first in its decisions and actions. SCEA understands the need for continuous school improvement and for high quality education in the areas of Computer Science and STEM in order to keep pace with the constant advancements in business, science, and technology.

“As such, SCEA supports the district’s efforts to provide high quality professional development for its teachers, research-based educational programs for its students, and the necessary and appropriate supplies and resources for teaching and learning. By continuing to work together collaboratively, the Spring Cove faculty and administration will further build upon the established foundation of excellence to better meet the needs of each individual learner and to achieve the District’s mission of inspiring and equipping all students to become responsible, respectful, and productive contributors to our local and global communities.”

 

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