Game-changing computer science, computational thinking program recruiting Kentucky teachers

By Quin Welch, Building Kentucky

Kentucky teachers know how important it is for their students to be prepared for the workforce when they trade the classroom for the real world. Teach Tech Kentucky, a new program that will integrate computer science education into existing public school curricula, is seeking interested teachers to sign up to help drive Kentucky’s workforce forward into the future.

The benefits the program provides to students are clear: by engaging in computer science and computational thinking, students leave school with skills that will serve them for a lifetime, whether that includes a job in computer science, or something else.

Sofia Sileo, a student at iLEAD Academy, said that she fully expects skills she’s learned in the computer science realm to serve her well in the future.

“It really helps you think through every single challenge and problem in your life, which you’ll face no matter what career you go into,” Sileo said. “Even if you don’t do computer science or engineering, you’re still going to need to logically think through those problems.”

Some kids have a dream job – and they know that computational and computer science skills will help them get the job they’ve always coveted. Blain Booth, another student at iLEAD Academy, knows he is on the path to success because of what he’s learned in school.

“I’m looking forward to being a video game designer. If I have a major in coding, I might be able to have a good career,” Booth said.

Although students reap clear rewards from Teach Tech Kentucky’s efforts, teachers do, too. Teachers who successfully complete the program earn a $4,050 stipend and are eligible to complete a rank change (at no cost to them), which generally enables teachers to increase their yearly salaries. Teachers who have participated previously highly recommend it because of its convenience and the impact it has on students as they move forward in their lives.

“I would say (to teachers): give it a try,” said Sarah Hodges, Principal of Maurice Bowling Middle School in Owen County. “As educators, we’re always learning. We’re always in professional development and we’re always growing. This is a direct avenue to where you can get into this program, learn on the job and apply it to your classroom immediately, so it has a direct impact on our students.”

Teachers have also seen students who typically struggle in school light up when presented with a new challenge that involves computer science or computational thinking.

“I have kids who don’t necessarily love math, they don’t necessarily love science, and they’re not necessarily the best students in those classes,” said Mandy Parker, a teacher with Owen County Schools. “But when we get into robotics and we start looking at how things work together and the mechanisms and thinking about how you would put all of that together to build a machine that’s actually going to work, they thrive in it.”

Teachers interested in Teach Tech Kentucky can sign up for a webinar in May or June by visiting

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