Google grant allows ASMSA to expand computer science program

1 year ago

A grant from Google will allow the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts to expand its Coding Arkansas’ Future initiative to include a course for teachers interested in learning and teaching computer science to also earn college credit.

ASMSA received a $34,685 grant from the technology company to establish a Google CS4HS program at the school, one of 27 sites in North America receiving funding this year. ASMSA is seeking to grow the community of computer science educators in Arkansas by providing teachers opportunities to learn and network. Through a partnership with Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, participants will also have the opportunity to earn college credit.

Since its introduction in 2015, Coding Arkansas’ Future has worked to increase student access to high-quality computer science learning opportunities. The program was developed in response to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s initiative to require every public and charter high school in the state to offer computer science courses. Through ASMSA’s Plus program, cohorts of teachers receive yearlong professional development and teaching assistance as they learn to teach computer science “on the job.” Teachers in the Plus program lead their students through the curriculum while receiving assistance from ASMSA.

In the new ASMSA CS4HS program, teachers will strictly be learners, enrolling in an online Computer Science 1 and 2 course designed by ASMSA computer science education specialist Daniel Moix and computer science and math instructor Denise Gregory to meet the state’s revised computer science learning objectives. Three “Lead Learners,” teachers from around the state who were members of previous Coding Arkansas’ Future cohorts, will assist.

The course will be delivered through a combination of asynchronous weekly learning modules and interactive video support sessions. Participants will complete the same lessons and assignments as high school students enrolled in the course experience with hopes that participating teachers will choose to teach the course at their own schools the following year.

There is no cap for the number of teachers who may enroll in the program, but the grant funding provides extra support for 18 educators who plan to teach the course in the future. Registration, meals and housing costs will be covered for participants to attend an orientation weekend, the Computer Science Education Leadership Summit in Russellville and a teacher certification “boot camp” in Hot Springs.

Coding Arkansas’ Future has been successful in preparing many teachers across the state for the test as approximately half of the professionals who have earned their license for computer science have participated in ASMSA’s program.
The grant also will provide tuition scholarships for participants who need course credit for an Additional Licensure Plan, which requires teachers to earn four hours of college credit in computer science until they pass the certification exam. Participants who do not receive a tuition scholarship may still earn the credit hours but will be required to pay tuition themselves.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to engage teachers as learners through this program,” Moix said.  “We will also be growing the next generation of computer science education leaders at the same time.  Three Arkansas teachers who learned to teach computer science through the Coding Arkansas' Future program will be mentoring participants next year."

For more information on the program, visit To apply for enrollment in the program, visit The priority deadline to be considered for face-to-face support and a tuition scholarship is June 6.

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