The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) announced today the launch of Boot Up Wyoming 2022, an initiative to implement computer science in all Wyoming schools.
“Computer science is a critical skill set that all students need to build, starting from an early age,” said State Superintendent Jillian Balow. “It is important today and even more important tomorrow. I am so excited for Wyoming’s students, who will have the opportunity to learn computer science at all grade levels.”
During the 2018 Budget Session, the Wyoming Legislature passed Senate Enrolled Act 0048, which adds computer science and computational thinking to the state educational program. Effective July 1, 2018, a computer science course may count as a science course in high school graduation requirements, and may count as either a science course or an “additional math” course in the Hathaway Success Curriculum. Standards must also be developed, approved, and fully implemented at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.
Boot Up Wyoming 2022 will focus on analyzing the costs and district needs to offer computer science, ensuring teachers are trained to teach the subject, and facilitating the development of statewide standards for promulgation by the State Board of Education (SBE).
Superintendent Balow added, “We will work quickly and carefully to implement computer science education within five years. This will require continuous collaboration with our partners to address challenges, identify best practices, and ensure that every teacher has the resources they need to successfully support computer science education in Wyoming.”
Cost and Needs Analysis
WDE staff will visit all 48 school districts over the next six months in order to thoroughly analyze all changes and costs necessary to implement computer science. Each visit will include meetings with the district’s superintendent, curriculum director, business manager, tech director, principals, computer science teachers, and any other personnel that the district deems necessary.
The WDE hosts webinars on the first and third Wednesday of each month on the creation and development of computer science programs. Each meeting highlights an industry partner and a Wyoming school district. Details are available here.
The Professional Teaching Standards Board offers four pathways to educators and districts to obtain computer science certifications. They include the traditional route of program completion with an Institutional Recommendation, completion of 27 credit hours and a passing score on the Praxis exam, a Professional, Industry, and Careers Permit, and a new Exception Authorization in Computing Technology. More information is available here.
The Wyoming Educational Trust Fund for Innovative Education Grant will give priority to districts showing creation or improvement of computer science programs and professional development for the 2018-19 grant award year. All Wyoming public school districts are eligible for this one-year grant, with a total of $250,000 available. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on May 25, 2018. More information is available on the WDE website.
A list of computer science professional development opportunities and resources is also available on the WDE website.
The Computer Science Standards Review Committee will begin meeting in the summer of 2018, with 2-6 days of meetings through the fall, and additional meetings as necessary throughout the next year. Any educators, community members, parents, or industry partners interested in serving on the committee should complete the Call for Participants Survey by May 14, 2018. Completing this survey expresses interest in participating, though it does not commit anyone to serve on the committee.
In addition, the WDE and SBE seek input on the development of the standards for the committee to review as they begin the development process. Input can be given online through June 3, 2018 or at regional community meetings from 6-8 p.m. at the following locations:
- May 14, Central Admin. Building, 665 N. Tyler Street, Pinedale
- May 15, Park #1 Support Services Building, 245 N. Evarts Street, Powell
- May 15, Central Admin. Building, 3500 Foothill Blvd., Rock Springs
- May 16, Central Admin. Building, 201 N. Connor Street, Sheridan
- May 16, Laramie #1 Storey Gym, 2811 House Avenue, Cheyenne
- May 17, Natrona #1 Central Services Facility, 970 N. Glenn Road, Casper