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Tamaqua receives grant for STEM, computer science

Published January 21. 2019 11:43AM

The Tamaqua Area School District has been awarded a $35,000 PAsmart Targeted Grant to be used toward expanding the district’s computer science and STEM courses.

The grants are a product of Gov. Tom Wolf’s initiative to develop a well-trained and skilled workforce to compete in the global economy.

The Governor’s Middle Class Task Force was created in fall 2017 and identified six critical areas needing improvement. Pennsylvania’s budget for fiscal year 2018-2019 included $30 million earmarked for PAsmart, offering grants of up to $35,000 for local education agencies to expand access to high quality computer science courses and programs for students in grades K through 12.

Tamaqua’s grant, according to Assistant Superintendent Stephen Toth, will be used primarily in grades K through 8. According to the grant’s guidelines, the district will have at least four teachers attend CS/STEM professional development sessions approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Once the training is completed, additional funding may be requested for implementing the standards and principles into classrooms.

Toth says “We’re excited to have this money come into our district. We’re going to balance out the funding the best we can for the maximum benefit.”

Pennsylvania has the world’s 14th largest economy and ranks sixth in job volume within the United States. The governor’s task force determined that by 2025, more than 60 percent of the good jobs in the commonwealth will be in the fields of computer science, science, technology, engineering and math.

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