Press Release: SSDA Launches Computer Science & STEM Education Rural Implementation Project

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Contact: Corrie Pelc  
Phone: 916-662-7213

SSDA Launches Computer Science & STEM Education Rural Implementation Project
5-Year Research Project Will Help Create K-12 Computer Science Pathways in Small Rural Schools

 SACRAMENTO, CA, February 2021 – The California Small School Districts' Association (SSDA) is proud to announce the launch of CS4NorCal — a computer science and STEM education rural implementation project, funded under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Program. CS4NorCal will bring computer science pathways to students in rural communities by teaching computer science curriculum to more than 260 teachers in some of California’s most rural schools.

“A student’s zip code should not determine their chance at developing the skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. “I commend the SSDA and its partners for launching this ambitious initiative that will not only bolster teachers’ professional learning, but inspire and propel countless students into futures of innovation and opportunities.”  

“Equipping rural educators with the skills to teach their students will be one of SSDA's most important projects in our 38-year history,” says Tim Taylor, SSDA executive director. “We are thrilled to partner with Sacramento County Office of Education and together be the conduit to prepare students to learn computer science at an early age.  CS4NorCal rural students will be more prepared to compete for college and career opportunities. That is a major goal of SSDA and our member school districts.”

CS4NorCal is an innovative five-year regional research and innovation project sponsored by SSDA to create K-12 computer science pathways in small rural schools in six northern California counties: Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta and Siskiyou. CS4NorCal is an opportunity for education leaders from county offices of education, districts and schools to investigate and design implementation models to integrate the 2018 state CS standards into their educational programs and provide students with access to one of the core subjects of a “well-rounded” education. (Every Child Succeed Act, 2015).

With guidance from the Sacramento County Office of Education, local planning teams will co-design professional learning and school implementation models. Researchers from the University of California at Davis will evaluate the process to inform the refinement of a high-quality product that can be replicated in similar rural communities. Educators will participate in up to 3 years of compensated professional learning and form a regional CS community of practice. Schools will receive access to no-cost or low-cost, nationally-validated, standards-aligned CS curriculum. Community partners will integrate CS pathways into postsecondary preparation and workforce development initiatives.

"Modoc County is excited to be part of the computer coding program that is being brought to us by SSDA through an EIR grant," says Mike Martin, county superintendent for Modoc County Office of Education. "Through this program our teachers and students will be provided with computer coding training that would not be possible otherwise. On behalf of Modoc County, thank you!"

SSDA and the CS4NorCAl team is currently recruiting school teams from grades K-12 from Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta and Siskiyou counties for computer science professional development workshops that will begin summer 2021. The program will then be expanded in 2022-2023 and again in 2023-2024, with the final comparison year taking place 2024-2025.

This project is funded under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Program. However, this content does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

 About Small School Districts’ Association (SSDA)

The California Small School Districts’ Association (SSDA) is California’s leading organization in terms of addressing, supporting, and lobbying on issues specific to the unique needs of small school districts. The mission of the Small School Districts’ Association is to provide relevant information and proactive assistance to small school district governing boards and superintendents through legislative advocacy, collaboration, professional development, and support services. To learn more, visit

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