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Holmes Middle School grant from PLTW, Verizon to enable students to develop hands-on computer skills

This coming school year, students at Holmes Middle School will be able to take computer science classes and learn to create their own computer applications, thanks to a $20,000 grant from Project Lead The Way and the Verizon Foundation.

Holmes Middle is one of 72 schools across the country receiving part of a $3 million grant that is designed to increase students’ access to computer science curriculum and help students develop the in-demand knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the rapidly advancing, technology-based economy.

“What middle schooler doesn’t love a good app?’’ asks Renae Lovins, technology coordinator and instructional coach at Holmes Middle. “Now they can learn to make their own.’’

Renae Lovins and student

Receiving the grant will have a significant impact on teaching and learning as the middle school seeks to expand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) opportunities for students.

“This hands-on program will give students authentic experience, pride in ownership of their projects, and insight to potential STEM careers,” Ms. Lovins said. “It will be a key factor in achieving our goal of providing students with dynamic STEM opportunities– and our district’s mission to equip students with ‘the skills to achieve their dreams and adapt in a changing global society.’”

The grant funds will be disbursed over a two-year period and will offset startup costs associated with implementing the units. The funds will also support professional development for teachers and provide schools with equipment including tablets and software.

During the first year, the middle school will offer App Creators, Ms. Lovins said. In subsequent years, the school plans to offer a greater selection which would prepare students for high school offerings.

“This grant is an awesome opportunity for our Holmes students,’’ said Jeanetta Kathman, principal at Holmes Middle School. “These funds will enable us to provide opportunities that we otherwise would not be able to give our students. Our kids deserve an opportunity to be on the forefront of technology education and this will provide that.’’

Project Lead The Way is a nonprofit organization that provides transformative learning experiences for K-12 students and teachers through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. Holmes Middle School joins more than 10,500 schools across the U.S. in offering Project Lead The Way programs to students.

“Project Lead The Way is committed to preparing our nation’s next generation of problem–solvers and innovators,” said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram. “In partnership with Verizon, we are significantly increasing the number of students who have access to high-quality computer science education and will be prepared for these growing career opportunities.”

From Covington Independent Public Schools

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