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Ohio Invests $6M in Professional Development for Teaching Compsci

The Educational Service Center of the Western Reserve and a handful of other educational centers will train up to 1,100 educators to teach computer science through supplemental certifications and other programs.

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(TNS) — The Educational Service Center of the Western Reserve has been awarded state funding aimed at heightening computer science courses for K-12 educators.

The ESCWR is among only six educational service center partners statewide to benefit from a total of $6 million awarded to 17 overall Ohio educational institutions (including Lake Erie College) to cover the costs of professional development under the Ohio Department of Higher Education's Teach CS Grants program.

The program specifically allows educators who qualify to teach computer science through supplemental certification, college endorsement programs, and alternative resident educator licenses, and awards grants competitively to eligible state institutions of higher education.

Statewide, up to 1,100 educators will receive training.

The ESCWR received $200,000, officials noted, to pay tuition and materials for the teachers enrolled.

"The (Teach CS grant) program emerged from the Ohio Computer Science Promise Program, which states that beginning with the 2024/2025 school year, a student in grades seven through 12 may, at no cost, enroll in and receive high school credit for one computer science course per academic year that is not offered by the student's current school, so long as they are accepted into the class and funding allows," said Vanessa Karwan, ESCWR director of special services and accountability. "The mid-to-long-term goal is to also establish a support and professional development network for graduates with webinars to keep them up-to-date in their field."

Karwan added that ESCWR is collaborating with Lake Erie and Kent State University to build a local consortium and a local computer science professional learning community to support districts and schools to have teachers achieve their licensure.

Teachers in math, science, and technology fields are the focus of ESCWR's Teach CS efforts and may obtain an additional computer science endorsement through a 21-credit-hour program offered through Kent and a 17-hour program offered through Lake Erie.

Karwan added that Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools, Painesville City Schools, and iSTEM, a public science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) school in Painesville, have committed 14 teachers, total, to date.

"Empowering minds through technology education is about unlocking creativity, fostering innovation and building a future where every individual can thrive in a digital landscape," said ESCWR Superintendent Jennifer Felker.

"Supporting our teachers (in computer science) is crucial to preparing our next generation for a technology-driven world," she added. "Some of the initiatives this grant will provide include teacher endorsements, professional development, community collaboration, advocacy, and industry partnerships."

The Teach CS Grants program is a partnership between InnovateOhio, Gov. Mike DeWine's Office of Workforce Transformation, the Department of Higher Education, and the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce.

For more information about Teach CS Grants, visit

©2024 The News-Herald (Willoughby, Ohio). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.