Ten years ago, Jeff Walz, a manager on Google’s University Relations team, had a hunch about widening access to computer science (CS) education for students—he thought that if teachers could train other teachers, who would then train their students, together they could create a ripple effect. After attending a Carnegie Mellon University workshop for high school teachers designed to expose them to the “bigger picture of computer science,” Walz was inspired to create opportunities for teachers to expand their skill set. So he created Google’s first grant program to fund professional development opportunities in computer science for high school teachers.
Over the 10 years since, we’ve provided more than $13 million through our professional development grants program, formerly known as CS4HS, to fund teacher PD in computer science education around the world. Over 50,000 educators in more than 50 countries have benefited from our professional development program, designed to grow their confidence and skillset. This program is just one example of our ongoing commitment to ensure more students have access to computer science education.
And today, grant applications are open to school districts, universities, and other education nonprofits around the world for the 2018-2019 school year. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the program, we’re expanding to include applications to fund PD programs for primary, secondary, middle school teachers, as well as teachers who are still in school. Grants are available in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, China, Australia, New Zealand and Africa.
The impact of professional development grants for educatorsHere are a few stories of how PD providers have used our funding to support and enable educator impact:
Dr. Lisa Milenkovic, STEM and CS Supervisor for Broward County Public Schools, the sixth-largest school district in the U.S., wanted to boost interest in CS across her district. As a grantee, Milenkovic developed an online PD course to help educators achieve state certification in Florida for teaching CS. The CS certification course and face-to-face mentoring builds CS teaching expertise in the district, increasing the availability of CS classes district-wide. Learn more about Lisa’s PD journey for educators in Broward County Public Schools.
Paul O’Callaghan is a primary school teacher at Lucan Community National School in Dublin, Ireland. To further build his confidence in teaching CS and computational thinking (CT), Paul participated in the CTwins project, a joint initiative of 2016 grantees Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast. “It was motivational to be surrounded by like-minded educational professionals and to work collaboratively with people of all ages who were passionate about integrating CT meaningfully into their curricula.” The CTwins workshops encouraged Paul to integrate CS throughout the entire curriculum for students aged 5 to 12. Paul says that “the potential for CS in our school knows no bounds” thanks to professional learning opportunities for teachers like himself.