A trio of Ohio County elementary schools have been awarded grants to bolster their students’ computer science skills.
Bethlehem, West Liberty and Woodsdale elementary schools have earned the West Virginia Department of Education’s “Country Roads Codes” grant, which was created to provide students in grades K-12 opportunities to develop age-appropriate computer science skills. The grant provides winning schools with $2,000, and the goal is to bring computer science to West Virginia families and communities.
Bethlehem teacher Genevieve Fields, West Liberty teacher Brandy Lackie and Woodsdale teacher Sandy Wiseman were successful in securing the funding for their schools. Woodsdale Principal Ashlea Minch said her grant funding will be used to provide coding activities during “Computers in Education Week” which will be held Dec. 5-9.
Minch said Woodsdale will also host a “Beyond the Hour of Code” evening event for students and their families, and they will purchase seven Lego Essential Robotics kits for use during the evening event, and those will then be available to students in the school’s maker space.
Minch commended Wiseman for her efforts in winning the grant for her school and students.
“We are so lucky to have Mrs. Wiseman’s knowledge and expertise in the area of coding and computer science,” Minch said. “She has led the way for Woodsdale and Ohio County Schools for many years, and now we’ll have even more robotics kits for our students. We can’t thank her enough for what she does for our school.”
Drew Villani, principal of both Bethlehem and West Liberty elementary schools, said the schools will also participate in the hour of code event, and the schools will host community nights to showcase student skills and allow families to participate with the tools.
He said a goal of the Local School Improvement Councils this year at Bethlehem and West Liberty is to provide additional enrichment opportunities in STEM and robotics. He thanked Fields and Lackie for making those goals a reality.
“They provide our students with an amazing coding experience,” Villani said. “Ms. Fields’ experience in “On-Ramp to Robotics” will allow learners to create color and sound on a microcontroller, learn how to program a robotic vehicle and experience how these concepts scale up to a broader variety of STEM activities. This will help our students realize the connection between what they are learning and how that intersects with STEM careers.
“Mrs. Lackie’s “STEM Behind Sports” experience will place students in the middle of competition and challenges them to make meaningful connections between concepts in math and science. I’m honored to work alongside dedicated educators like Mrs. Lackie and Ms. Fields. They are constantly looking for innovative ways to support and educate our students.”