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CEDAR FALLS — The University of Northern Iowa has created a program to help Iowa teachers receive their secondary computer science education endorsement after receiving a nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation.
Teachers who earn the endorsement will be qualified to teach computer sciences in grades five through 12. The program is taking applications for the first cohort, which will begin in June.
The computer science education program at UNI is helping Iowa schools meet state requirements to offer at least one computer science course. The requirement is in effect in Iowa high schools, with elementary, seventh and eighth grade beginning July 1.
“The NSF entrusting us with this kind of award is a huge testament to the long history of high-quality teacher education at UNI,” said Ben Schafer, professor in the department of computer science and coordinator for the program.
In addition to the online lectures and coursework, teachers will participate in monthly face-to-face meetings at their local area education agencies. The first cohort is partnering with the Central Rivers AEA, Grant Wood AEA and Northwest AEA.
The online program will take 18 months to complete. The first cohort will include up to 90 teachers. A second cohort starting June 2024 will double to nearly 180.
The new program builds on a similar 2018 program, which was funded by a $300,000 grant from the NSF and helped in-service teachers earn a computer service endorsement. This grant helped formally launch the computer science education program at UNI.