Six states were awarded mini-grants from the Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP) Alliance in round six of the grant program: Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, and Utah. The ECEP Alliance includes 17 member states, 12 of which applied for funding in June 2017.
Of the states receiving funding, five are using their funds to host state gatherings, a key step in ECEP’s “How to Change a State” model. Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, and Utah will all host convenings of diverse stakeholders between March and June 2018. For Connecticut, Nevada, and Utah, this will be their first ECEP-specific gathering focusing the agenda on broadening participation in computing. Maryland and North Carolina plan to reach new audiences with their next summits, as they continue to advance their strategic efforts. Specifically, North Carolina is hosting a summit in a rural part of the state to ensure the entire state has a voice in building the computing education equity strategy for K-12 and beyond.
Indiana, Maryland, and Utah are each funded to revise and update current landscape reports, which offer data that inform decisions that drive equity in CS computing pathways. Having just released a nationally recognized landscape report, Anne Ottenbreit-Leftwich, faculty at the Indiana University Bloomington School of Education, and Maureen Biggers, director of the Center of Excellence for Women in Technology at the Indiana University Bloomington, have identified high quality CS initiatives in Indiana that are making a huge impact on increasing diversity in K-12 CS education. Through additional data collection, interviews, and observation, they will document a series of case studies and use them as a resource for other teachers, administrators, and school districts that are seeking to launch similar CS programs.
Round six mini-grant submissions ranged from continuation proposals from previously funded states, to new projects in states that had not applied for funding in the past. Criteria for the grants include alignment with a state systemic strategy to address access and equity in computing education.
As is the case with each round of funded projects, states receiving funds are expected to provide updates on monthly ECEP Alliance video conference calls. These updates encourage other states to explore and attempt similar projects, while providing a deeper knowledge of state-specific initiatives. States continue to identify ECEP mini-grants as a valuable resources that allow them to define and refine their strategies, leverage additional resources, and launch their CS education initiatives.
Since ECEP started offering mini-grants in 2015, 12 (91%) of eligible states have received funding.