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New Initiative Aims to Expand Computer Science Learning Opportunities in Kentucky Schools

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Kentucky is launching a new initiative that will provide more students with computer science education classes from elementary to high school.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt announced the plan Tuesday at Glasgow High School. The initiative will develop state-based computer science standards, and create professional development opportunities to encourage teachers to attain computer science credentials.

Commissioner Pruitt thinks computer science learning opportunities need to be available to all Kentucky students.

“And what this is really about is providing our students that are low-income, our students of color, our girls—that traditionally might not have considered this as an opportunity for them—but really focused on recruiting those kids into these courses,” Pruitt said.

Under the initiative, the Kentucky Department of Education will count a computer science credit as either a standalone requirement, or as a class that that can be substituted for a science credit toward high school graduation.

Thirty-one school districts and seven area technology centers are currently participating in the Kentucky Computer Science Initiative.

State Senator David Givens of Greensburg has been a vocal supporter of increasing computer science learning opportunities for Kentucky students.

He says early feedback from participating school districts has been positive.

“They see it as a synthesis of chemistry, physics, and advanced math. And for it to count as a science credit opens up new opportunities for a lot of districts that have quality people in place, and now they can provide students access to another credit through the same staff they have,” the Greensburg Republican said.

The group is working with its local partner AdvanceKentucky to help prepare 50 teachers a year for three years to expand opportunities for students to take the AP Computer Science Principles course, as well as expand preparation for its middle school course, Computer Science Discoveries, and its elementary school course, Computer Science Fundamentals.

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