Whitfield County (Georgia) Schools is among 17 districts receiving $500,000 in grant money to implement middle school computer coding programs, the Georgia Department of Education announced Wednesday.
The funds, approved by the state's Board of Education, will specifically target middle schools in rural, underserved, or high-poverty areas, according to a news release. Each grant includes funding for equipment, training, curriculum and teacher professional development.
Whitfield County is the only district in the region to receive funds.
The grant is part of Computer Science for Georgia, the state's initiative focused on making Georgia a national leader in the computer science movement by developing and delivering high-quality courses, resources and professional learning, the news release states. It increases the number of computer science endorsements held by educators and expands the integration of computer science throughout the K-12 curriculum.
"Georgia students need to graduate ready for 21st-century careers – we can't be complacent and rely on the way we've always done things, and we can't wait until high school to start preparing our kids," state school Superintendent Richard Woods said in a statement. "Coding and computer science is a piece of that puzzle."
Every Georgia school district was eligible to apply for up to four school-based grants, according to the news release. Funding recipients whose applications met the requirements were selected through a competitive award process.
Also announced Wednesday, all Georgia schools will have access to three new middle school computer science courses.
The course standards were developed based on public feedback, including opportunities for public comment and participation from educators, business and industry representatives, parents and advocates, the news release states.