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Skills21 Receives Prestigious NSF Grant Award in STEM + Computing

October 4th, 2017

This week, Dr. Jeffrey Kitching, EdAdvance’s Executive Director, announced the award of a National Science Foundation (NSF) STEM + Computing Partnerships (STEM + C) grant to Skills21 at EdAdvance that supports the integration of computer science into core high school science coursework. Newly developed, digital computer science learning modules will be integrated into three full-year high school science courses (Biology21, Chemistry21, and Earth & Energy Essentials) which meet state graduation requirements. These reengineered courses will develop and advance students’ computing competencies using Skills21’s nationally recognized, challenge-based learning model, STEM21. This project advances current educational efforts to improve computer science and computational thinking skills in high school students, particularly in groups underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

The NSF award, Integrating Computer Science in the High School Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Energy Sciences Curriculum, (STEM21 + CS), provides $1.25 million dollars in funding over three years. In addition to EdAdvance, project partners include the CT State Department of Education, the CT RESC Alliance, and the CT Association of Public School Superintendents. Other collaborators include the CT Commission for Educational Technology, CT College of Technology, Trinity College, Southern CT State University/CRISP, CT Office for Workforce Competitiveness, the CT Business and Industry Association, CT Innovations, IBM, diverse school districts, and research partner, Hezel Associates.

Over the next three years, STEM21+CS will engage over 1,200 predominantly underrepresented students in the development of solutions to challenge projects that fully integrate STEM and computer science concepts and practices. Student teams from across the state will showcase these product or service innovations at the student Expo Fest, held in May each year.

STEM21 + CS leverages Skills21’s Launchpad Platform. This web-based tool helps students, teachers, and mentors engage in authentic hands-on challenges and demonstrate the best of student learning and innovation. Matt Mervis, Director of Skills 21 at EdAdvance, commented that “this project provides a critical opportunity to simultaneously enhance Computer Science and STEM learning while investing in CT’s future workforce.”

For more information on the STEM21 + CS project, email Jonathan Costa (costa@edadvance.org) or Matt Mervis (mervis@edadvance.org), or call 860.567.0863. For more information on Skills21 at EdAdvance’s innovative 21st century learning programs, visit: www.skills21.org.


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