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W.Va. K-12 Schools See Rise In Popularity, Access For Computer Science

computer circuitry

A report from the West Virginia Department of Education says access to computer science courses has notably increased over the past four years. This comes after a 2019 Senate bill that had the department create a development plan in K-12 schools.

The report was given to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Educational Accountability during Sunday’s legislative interim meetings.

Erika Klose coordinates computer science initiatives for the state’s Department of Education. She says the report indicates 76 percent of West Virginia high schools are now teaching computer science courses as of 2021. That’s 30 percent higher than before the bill was passed. It is expected to increase further this school year.

“Our goal is that every high school in the state will have access to a trained computer science teacher, every middle school will have access to a trained computer science teacher,” Klose said during the meeting. “If there’s one educator in each school at each grade level, they can support those that they teach with in providing that computer science instruction.”

More than 1,100 West Virginia teachers have undergone professional development courses relating to computer science since the initiative began in 2019, including 116 high school, 181 middle school and 819 elementary school teachers.

Digital literacy classes are similarly growing in popularity, with an estimated 242 schools in West Virginia offering courses this school year after a House bill required the state Board of Education to implement the Mountain State Digital Literacy Project in 2019.