The Southwest Virginia Public Education Consortium will use a $125,000 Advancing Computer Science Education grant to develop high quality instructional resources and to provide professional learning opportunities for teachers in 19 school divisions.

The competitive grant, which was officially awarded to the city of Norton, comes from the Virginia Department of Education. The grant is renewable for three years if funding is available.

Adrienne Hood, director of the Consortium, said the partnerships in Region 7 is one of the reasons the grant was successfully funded. The Consortium has just a few months to get the first year of the project ready to go. Organizers will immediately begin developing and implementing workshops, conferences and related material to boost the way teachers in PreK-12 implement computer science in the classroom, regardless of curriculum.

The Consortium is already working on 10 training programs and a conference between now and April 2020.

“We are developing and implementing curriculum here at UVA Wise so teachers can eventually add computer science endorsements to their license,” Hood said. “Very few colleges or universities have that endorsement available.”

Hood said the Virginia Department of Education wants the Consortium to provide the professional development needed so teachers can implement computer science in the everyday classroom.

“I think we will be very successful,” Hood added. “We are fortunate to have great partnerships with our superintendents and higher education representatives.”

The grant funded program will use innovative learning experiences for students and teachers to strengthen computer science skills and to boost interests in computer science careers.