FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Governor Hutchinson Allocates Additional $300,000 For Stipends for K-8 Teachers to Learn to Teach CS
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has added $300,000 to the initial $500,000 he allocated last year to train K-8 teachers to teach computer science, he announced on Wednesday.
The money for the K-8 Computer Science Lead Teacher Stipend and Training Program comes from the budget of the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Office of Computer Science.
The Governor announced creation of the K-8 stipend program during Computer Science Education Week in December of last year and authorized the initial $500,000 for training elementary and middle school teachers to become Computer Science Lead teachers.
Governor Hutchinson allocated the additional $300,000 for stipends because of the high level of interest and the high demand for computer science teachers in Arkansas’s elementary and middle schools.
“Every educator who takes up the challenge to teach computer science to our youngest students not only enhances the life of the student but is building on Arkansas’s reputation as a high-tech leader,” Governor Hutchinson said. “This is the way to an even stronger workforce and economy that will improve the quality of life for all Arkansans. I am grateful to lead a state whose educators and lawmakers understand this and are willing to fund it.”
The additional money will support 150 more teachers to join the 250 who already have signed up for the training, said Anthony Owen, state director of Computer Science Education.
“When the ADE Computer Science team started planning the K-8 Lead Teacher program, we knew it would be successful,” Director Owen said. “However, the interest locally and nationally has grown well beyond our expectations. Almost every spot that was originally allocated for the program was taken within a week of Governor Hutchinson’s announcement in December. This additional funding is important for the #CSforAR / #ARKidsCanCode initiative. The governor recognizes that in order for Arkansas to continue to lead the nation in the Computer Science Education, we need teachers.”
To be eligible for the full $2,000 stipend, a computer science lead teacher must be a licensed educator at an Arkansas public elementary or middle school; attend a five-day professional development session provided at no cost by the Arkansas Department of Education Office of Computer Science; obtain the 528 Computer Science Endorsement; and provide a requisite number of one-on-one support and school-wide professional development hours to other educators.
Additional information of the K-8 Computer Science Lead Teacher Program can be accessed at http://adecm.arkansas.gov/ViewApprovedMemo.aspx?Id=3443.