C Spire Foundation continues its $1 million computer science education commitment through teacher training
Published 2:00 pm Thursday, March 23, 2023
C Spire is continuing its commitment to the next generation of technology leaders through a computer science training “road show” it held recently at the company headquarters in Ridgeland. This initiative builds on a $1 million donation for K-12 teacher training launched in 2021 after Mississippi Legislators passed a law requiring schools in the state to teach computer science.
“This is a part of a bigger initiative called Computer Science for Mississippi in response to a new law requiring all schools (K-12) to offer computer science instruction by the 2024-2025 academic year,” said Shelly Hollis, director for MSU’s Center for Cyber Education, which has partnered with C Spire to bring the latest tech trends to Mississippi youth. “Furthermore, this year, 50% of elementary schools are required to offer at least one hour of computer science education at each grade level.”
During this training, teachers had a front row seat to the robotics of the future, featuring ways to incorporate new trends into their elementary curriculum. Educators attending the training were thrilled about the new techniques and how they would positively enhance learning strategies for their students.
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“My students are always so excited to start a new computer science lesson,” said Jessica Boyd, STEM teacher at Brandon Elementary School. “They love interacting with the robots, seeing the programs and things they create come to life.”
One of the most vital goals of the C Spire Foundation is to support community efforts to improve educational opportunities in Mississippi, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“With a massive shortage among computer professionals, it is hard to find qualified computer science teachers at the K-12 level,” Hollis said. “Support from the C Spire Foundation has helped us equip nearly 600 elementary teachers in 130 districts with computer science training, curriculum materials, and classroom robots.”
During the 2021-2022 academic year, more than 80,000 students throughout 422 schools were enrolled in computer science courses. This year, more than 130,000 students in 539 schools participated in computer science curriculums.
C Spire has been significantly involved in efforts to promote computer science education in Mississippi since 2015 with coding challenges, coding academies, pilot accelerated degree programs and other innovative initiatives. These programs inspire and encourage students to consider pursuing academic degrees or professional careers in science, technology, engineering, and math-related fields.
Mississippi State University’s Center for Cyber Education Research and Curriculum Unit has more trainings planned this summer and anticipates training and more than 600 elementary, middle and high school teachers next year.