Cleveland Foundation to fund initiative to provide computer science classes for all Cleveland Metropolitan School District high school students

Grant supports foundation’s strategy to build an inclusive digital economy in Cleveland

RELEASE DATE: 8.17.2016

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation Board of Directors has approved a $124,235 grant to Cleveland State University (CSU) to launch an initiative aimed at providing computer science classes to all students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD).

The Cleveland Foundation worked with academic leadership from CMSD and CSU to design the initiative. This grant will help fund Phase I, which is focused on offering computer science courses in all of CMSD’s high schools within three years. The long-term goal is to expand the classes into the district’s middle and elementary schools.

“Cleveland is winning right now and to stay competitive we must be at the forefront of the digital economy,” said Ronn Richard, president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. “By connecting students with the latest technology, we are connecting them with jobs that are available right now and in the future. We look forward to working with our partners at CMSD and CSU so that Cleveland is part of the third wave of the digital revolution.”

This local program, dubbed “CS4All” is modeled after similar programs in Chicago and New York City that offer computer science in all public schools, with the growing understanding that computational thinking and knowledge of the digital world is necessary for students’ future success.

“Ensuring that students have access to 21st century technology is essential for preparing students for success in a 21st century workforce,” said Eric S. Gordon, CEO of the CMSD. “Our partnership with the Cleveland Foundation and Cleveland State University will enable us to provide student access to computer science classes in every one of our schools.”

The grant funded the July training of 25-30 CMSD high school and middle school teachers through a professional development and support program led jointly by CSU’s Washkewicz College of Engineering and the College of Education and Human Services, creating a corps of educators who will serve as a resource base for the district as the program is implemented at full scale.

“CSU has been at the forefront of developing cutting-edge curricula that are designed to provide teachers with the skills necessary to train our next generation of computer scientists, engineers and technologists,” said Nigamanth Sridhar, professor of computer science at CSU and principal investigator on the grant. “We are honored and excited to be selected by the Cleveland Foundation to help CMSD in implementing CS4All for the betterment of Cleveland’s school children, and ultimately, our economy as a whole.

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Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $2.1 billion and 2015 grants of $95 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of residents of Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation tackles the community’s priority areas – education and youth development, neighborhoods, health and human services, arts and culture, economic development and purposeful aging – and responds to the community’s needs.

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