Educating the Next Gen

Educating Montana’s next generation begins with well-informed teachers.

Through a Gianforte Family Foundation grant, MindSpark Learning is helping Montana’s K-8 educators increase their computer content knowledge and incorporate greater Computer Science (CS) education into the classroom. The partnership will lead to more computer science programs and learning opportunities for students across rural communities in Montana.

STEM and CS jobs are expected to grow by 11 percent through 2032, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—compared with a projected increase of 3 percent for all occupations.

MindSpark presented a weeklong Montana Computer Science Institute in 2022, followed by fundamentals and implementation workshops this past October in Kalispell. According to Hannah Gonzalez, MindSpark’s director of professional learning, “Overall, the workshop was a success for the Flathead Valley teachers.” Gonzalez noted that 100 percent of participants strongly agreed or agreed that they are more confident in their abilities and motivated to be champions of this work as a result of their participation.

As one teacher commented, “We are here to expose students to all kinds of learning and subjects. With the ever-increasing need for computer science knowledge in future careers, it is our responsibility to show them the CS world.”

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