HARRISBURG (January 16, 2018) –  Two charter schools in Chester County – Avon Grove Charter School and Renaissance Academy Charter School – will receive $70,000 in total state grant funding to expand computer science classes and teacher training, state Senator Andy Dinniman announced today.

The funds, which are administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s PAsmart Initiative, represent the first-ever dedicated computer science funding to schools across the Commonwealth.

“Over the next decade, seven in 10 new jobs in Pennsylvania will require employees to use a computer and an estimated 300,000 STEM jobs will be available this year,” Dinniman, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, said. “It is crucial that we prepare the students of today for the careers of tomorrow by investing in science and technology education, in addition to expanding apprenticeships and opportunities for on-the-job training.”

Both Avon Grove and Renaissance Academy will receive $35,000 each in targeted grants to fund teams of educators (four or more) who would like to be trained on ways to implement computer science in their classrooms. No prior computer science experience is required, and the grants are meant to support schools that currently have limited to no computer science offerings.

In addition to helping schools introduce and expand computer science programming, the targeted grants will provide greater opportunities for students of color, low-income students, underserved students and girls to learn critical skills needed to succeed in today’s workforce.

Avon Grove and Renaissance are part of 765 schools across Pennsylvania to receive more than $8.7 million in total grant funding through the program. They include 221 school districts, two career and technical centers, and 18 charter and cyber charter schools, and eight intermediate units.

These targeted grants represent the next phase of the new and innovative PAsmart initiative, which will provide $20 million to bring high-quality computer science and STEM education in elementary, middle, and high schools, and professional development for teachers. With this commitment, Pennsylvania now ranks second in the country for investments in K-12 STEM and computer science.

Additional funding in the $30 million PAsmart initiative for science and technology education, apprenticeships and job training will be announced in the coming weeks.


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