Ohio awards $6 million in grants to expand computer science, including OSLN programs

Today, Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced $6 million in grants supporting teachers pursuing licensure in computer science education.

The Teach CS Grants will give full scholarships to more than 130 teachers in 2024 who take part in the Ohio STEM Learning Network (OSLN)’s computer science programs. OSLN’s programs prepare educators to bring computer science to their schools at any grade level and any level of computer science experience. OSLN will also launch a new licensure preparation program. Over two awards and two years, up to 349 educators will receive the OSLN programming free of charge.

Awarding the Teach CS Grants is just the latest milestone in a series of steps Ohio has achieved, moving the state toward a path where every student can access computer science education.

Today’s announcement: The 2024 Teach CS Grants

Lt. Governor Jon Husted speaking
at the 2023 Ohio STEM Innovation Summit

Lt. Governor Jon Husted, a long-time advocate for STEM learning in Ohio and founding supporter of OSLN, announced the first awards of the Teach CS Grants today. The funding was managed by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, which took proposals from Ohio colleges and educational service centers. The Teach CS grants are a partnership between InnovateOhio, the Office of Workforce Transformation, the Ohio Department of Higher Education, and the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce.

The Putnam County Educational Service Center partnered with OSLN to increase access for Northwest Ohio educators. With funding from Teach CS, OSLN will recruit up to 184 Northwest Ohio educators over two years for computer science programs. The network will also host a special local, week-long TeacherCon, launching the programs. Participants who complete the program’s requirements will receive full scholarships.

The Educational Service Center of Central Ohio also partnered with OSLN on a proposal. There, OSLN will recruit up to 165 educators over two years, focusing on Central Ohio, with full scholarships available.

OSLN will also provide elementary and middle school educators in both programs with a technology package providing the resources needed to implement computer science lessons.

Applications for OSLN’s computer science education programs will open in 1-2 weeks, in partnership with Code.org. Teachers statewide at any grade level and any prior experience with computer science can apply. Pre-apply here.

Finally, OSLN will build and deliver a new licensure preparation program within the network’s computer science portfolio. The new program will support teachers in gaining supplemental licensure to teach computer science. It will include both scheduled study groups with peer educators and asynchronous test prep resources delivered through a partnership with Kira Learning.

These programs and services will deliver up to $900,000 worth of support to teachers in Northwest Ohio, Central Ohio, and statewide.

Across the entire Teach CS Grant program, 17 institutions received a total of $6 million. 

Change driven by a community of educators and organizations

OSLN’s active participation in the computer science advocacy community began in 2016. That year, Battelle, which manages the network in partnership with the Ohio Department of Education & Workforce, won support from Code.org to bring the organization’s high-quality teacher professional courses to Ohio.

For the last eight years, OSLN has worked with leading partners in the space. We would like to recognize Code.org, Cleveland State University, Project Lead the Way, HER Academy, the Ohio Computer Science Teachers Association, Ohio Excels, the Teaching and Learning Collaborative, and TechCORPS as essential members of the coalition.

These organizations stand as advocates for thousands of teachers and hundreds of principals who see the opportunity of computer science education and want to do more.

Just four years ago, we gathered our most important supporters, students, at the Ohio Statehouse to meet legislators and advocate for computer science for all.

Listening to the community: The State Committee on Computer Science

Ohio’s first Computer Science Advocacy Day laid the foundation for an extensive community-building and listening effort: The State Committee on Computer Science and its report.

Over 2021 and 2022, this 26-member body built a list of ten recommendations that, if followed, would make Ohio a national leader in the computer science education and workforce pipeline.

In particular, the grant announced today shows major progress on Recommendation 6 – Expand Teacher Licensure and Professional Development.

OSLN Director Kelly Gaier Evans facilitated the committee’s ten-month series of publicly streamed meetings. The report built through those conversations is available here.

What’s next

As the State Committee on Computer Science wrote: “Every Ohioan deserves the chance to succeed, get a good-paying job, raise a family comfortably and be secure in their future. Every Ohio student should have the opportunity to live up to their maximum potential. Computer science is one exciting pathway for students to achieve these objectives.”

In just five months, the first teachers supported by this investment will join the program and begin working toward licensure as new teachers of computer science.

And there are more changes coming. Ohio has built the community and the plan to become the best state in the nation at unlocking the potential of computer science.

If you know an educator who’s ready to do more in the classroom, nominate them to hear about these opportunities or click here to learn more. Applications will open in 1-2 weeks. Interested applicants can pre-register now to receive notice when applications open.

Bring computer science to your classroom

Applications open soon for OSLN’s computer science program. Learn more below, including dates for the 2024 summer workshop. Teachers at any grade level and any prior computer science experience can get the support they need to get started.

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