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RIDE Awarded $2.5 Million to Improve Computer Science Education

Congressional Delegation Supports Work-Based Learning in High-Wage, High-Growth Pathway

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) has been awarded a $2.5 million Education Innovation and Research grant from the U.S. Department of Education to expand work-based learning opportunities in computer science. Supported by the state’s Congressional delegation, this grant will expand services for more than 1,000 students and includes a research partnership that will help guide future improvements to Computer Science for Rhode Island (CS4RI).

“Over the next decade, computer science careers are expected to grow by 16 percent. That means Rhode Island students will have more opportunities to compete for good-paying jobs,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “When students have work-based and advanced learning opportunities while they’re still in school, they are more likely to excel when they enter the workforce. We need to continue to align what students learn in the classroom with the skills they need to succeed in a 21st century economy, and this grant will help us do just that.”

The five-year project will create or enhance computer science pathways in up to 20 Rhode Island schools, where student experiences will culminate in an Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles course in grade 11. Professional development will also be provided to teachers participating in this project. In half of the schools, students will participate in an industry project in conjunction with computer science professionals. RIDE will then study the impact of work-based learning on student performance on the AP test.

This research will support future improvements in computer science education, as well as the overall work-based learning strategies under Prepare Rhode Island (PrepareRI), the state’s comprehensive career readiness initiative.

“Expanding computer science education efforts also expands a world of new opportunities for our students. This is a smart investment in ensuring Rhode Island has a well-prepared workforce that is ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. “I am pleased to help deliver more federal resources to support computer science education, work-based learning, and STEAM in our schools.”

“Computer literacy is a key ingredient for success in just about every career,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “This federal grant will give Rhode Island students more opportunities for advanced computer science education both in the classroom and out in the real world.”

“Governor Raimondo’s Computer Science for Rhode Island initiative is successfully preparing students for high-demand, high-paying jobs,” said Congressman Jim Langevin, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus. “With career opportunities in software engineering continuing to grow, it’s critical we keep investing in computer science education. I was proud to help secure these federal funds to bolster the CS4RI program with my federal delegation colleagues to ensure Rhode Island students are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.”

“A solid foundation in computer science education will give Rhode Island students the tools they need to succeed in a dynamic and highly technical 21stcentury economy,” said Congressman David N. Cicilline. “I commend the Governor and RIDE for recognizing the importance of providing CS education for Rhode Island’s next generation. This valuable federal investment will open new doors for even more students in our state, and I look forward to continuing to work alongside my colleagues in the federal delegation and the Governor to create more opportunities for federal funds to be brought home to Rhode Island.”

Through this grant funding, the state can better understand the future impact of work-based learning while enhancing opportunities available to students today. By partnering with the Education Development Center, RIDE will be looking at the impact of this project on student engagement, performance on the Advanced Placement test, and student interest in pursuing a career in computer science.

“If we want students to graduate ready for the jobs of tomorrow, we need to make their learning experiences more meaningful, rigorous, and hands-on. Through this grant, we will be able to enhance computer science programming and better understand what levers are most impactful in setting students up for success in this high-wage, high-growth industry,” said Angélica Infante-Green, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “I’m grateful to the Congressional delegation for their support of this work, and look forward to our continued partnership in improving education for all students.”

Computer Science for Rhode Island launched in 2016 by Governor Gina Raimondo. It represents a partnership between Rhode Island state government, RIDE, K-12 schools, higher education, private industry, and non-profits across Rhode Island. Learn more at www.cs4ri.org.

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