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$20,000 Grant to Help Covington Students Create Computer Apps

Students at Holmes Middle School will take computer science classes and learn to create their own apps next year thanks to a grant from Project Lead the Way and the Verizon Foundation.

The grant is worth $20,000.

Holmes is one of seventy-two schools across the country selected to be part of the $3 million effort designed to increase student access to computer science curriculum and to help students develop skills needed for a technology-based economy.

“What middle schooler doesn't love a good app?,’’ asked Renae Lovins, technology coordinator and instructional coach at Holmes Middle. “Now they can learn to make their own.’’

Receiving the grant will have a significant impact on teaching and learning as the middle school seeks to expand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) opportunities for students.

“This hands-on program will give students authentic experience, pride in ownership of their projects, and insight to potential STEM careers,” Lovins said. “It will be a key factor in achieving our goal of providing students with dynamic STEM opportunities-- and our district's mission to equip students with ‘the skills to achieve their dreams and adapt in a changing global society.’"

The grant funds will be disbursed over a two-year period and will offset startup costs associated with implementing the units. The funds will also support professional development for teachers and provide schools with equipment including tablets and software.  

During the first year, the middle school will offer App Creators, Lovins said. In subsequent years, the school plans to offer a greater selection which would prepare students for high school offerings.

“This grant is an awesome opportunity for our Holmes students,’’ said Jeanetta Kathman, principal at Holmes Middle School. “These funds will enable us to provide opportunities that we otherwise would not be able to give our students. Our kids deserve an opportunity to be on the forefront of technology education and this will provide that.’’

Project Lead The Way is a nonprofit organization that provides transformative learning experiences for K-12 students and teachers through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. Holmes Middle School joins more than 10,500 schools across the U.S. in offering Project Lead The Way programs to students.  

“Project Lead The Way is committed to preparing our nation’s next generation of problem–solvers and innovators,” said PLTW president and CEO Vince Bertram. “In partnership with Verizon, we are significantly increasing the number of students who have access to high-quality computer science education and will be prepared for these growing career opportunities.”

-Staff report
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