Keystone Oaks School District News Article

PA Smart Grant will allow Keystone Oaks to integrate computational thinking concepts into elementary curriculum

Keystone Oaks School District is one of 163 local education agencies in Pennsylvania that has been selected to receive a $35,000 PA Smart Grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The District will use the grant to implement computational thinking concepts throughout elementary classrooms at Aiken Elementary. 

Led by building principal Dave Thomas, a team of four teachers will participate in professional development on how to integrate computational thinking into all areas of the curriculum. Those teachers will then train other elementary educators and will work with them to design lessons and activities. Some of the grant funding will also be used to purchase physical computing devices.

“Computational thinking is often thought of as only being applicable to computer science courses,” said Shannon Varley, Ed.D., Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment & Staff Development. “But, computational thinking is more about approaching problems and finding solutions with a systematic manner. It really can be applied to any course or field of study.” 

Computational thinking is one of the main pillars of the STEAM course that all elementary students participate in during a six-day rotation that also includes art, music, library, and physical education. This grant will allow Keystone Oaks to expand students’ learning of those concepts and ensure that they are reinforced in other areas of the curriculum. 

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