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Kasson-Mantorville Schools Win Big with Computer Science Award

Recently, the Kasson-Mantorville Schools were awarded $10,000 from to develop an innovative approach to bridging gaps in industry with Computer Science education.

In this interview, you'll learn a little more about the amazing work they're doing and why they deserve these incredible kudos!

Please, tell us who you are and what your role is...

My name is Ashley Kaplan and I am the Director of Teaching and Learning for Kasson-Mantorville Schools.

What led K-M to apply for the CS Leaders award?

We are committed to increasing our computer science programming for our students in grades K-12. When talking to our industry partners, we saw a programming gap based on skills and credentials that businesses are seeking in potential employees. The CS Leaders Award will assist us in training our teachers and ensuring we have the equipment necessary to run a new Computer Science Discoveries course as the pathway into our other CS course at the high school level.

What are K-M’s plans for the prize money?

We are excited to spend the prize money on materials that our CS Teacher can easily integrate into their teaching that will provide our students with experiences they would not have received otherwise. This prize money truly allows us to start a course with equipment that will give our students meaningful hands-on experiences. This equipment will include Adafruit Circuit Playgrounds, Raspberry Pi’s , LED’s, LCD’s and accessories used to demonstrate the variety of ways computer science is used daily in our lives. Our plans for the prize money will be finalized in the next few months but we are very excited and appreciative of what this allows us to bring to K-M!

How did K-M celebrate receiving the award?

On December 16th, we hosted an assembly for our middle school and high school students to celebrate this award. We shared the CS course opportunities that we will offer at both schools for the 23-24 school year, and we also hosted an Hour of Code to build engagement and excitement around coding.

Brad Haugen on stage, presenting to a group of students about app development
Code Savvy CS instructional coach Brad Haugen leads a group of students through an app development activity.

What’s next for K-M in CS?

In addition to our CS award, Kasson-Mantorville Schools also received a donation from a K-M alum that works in Cyber Security in California. With our addition of CS courses, we are also offering students the opportunity to earn credentials through an internship program with our IT department, starting student IT teams at our Middle and High School, creating a Coding Club at our elementary school (that filled after the first week of being announced!), and a robotics program at our middle school. We are in the beginning stages of creating a Computer Science Community Advisory Counsel to ensure our students are gaining the skills employers are in the market for when they graduate from our district.

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