DES MOINES, IOWA (December 3, 2020)  Governor Kim Reynolds today announced the members of a new Computer Science Work Group created by a 2020 state law that for the first time requires Iowa’s 327 school districts and 116 accredited nonpublic schools to offer computer science instruction.

Earlier this year, Gov Kim Reynolds proposed, and the Legislature unanimously passed, House File 2629, requiring high schools to offer at least one computer-science course by July 1, 2022. Elementary and middle schools must provide computer-science instruction in at least one grade level each by July 1, 2023. The bill also calls for The Iowa Department of Education to convene a Computer Science Work Group to make recommendations to strengthen computer-science instruction and develop a campaign to promote computer science to K-12 students and families. The work group’s recommendations are due to the General Assembly by July 1, 2021.

“Computer science is no longer an elective course, but a basic skill every student needs to succeed in a technology-driven workplace,” said Gov Reynolds. “We have made computer science a priority by adopting state standards and expanding professional development so more educators are better prepared to teach computer science. Now, we have assembled a group of talented stakeholders to help us take that next step to bring computer science to every Iowa classroom.”

“The innovative work some school districts already have done with computer science is a strong foundation to build upon,” said Ann Lebo, Iowa Department of Education director. “I am eager to increase opportunities for more students and appreciate the Computer Science Work Group’s commitment to our ambitious goal.”

Kathleen Kay, chief information officer at Principal Financial in Des Moines, and Jeff Weld, executive director of the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Advisory Council, are the work group co-chairs. Other members are:

  • Wendy Batchelder, chief data officer, VMware, Des Moines
  • Dan Carver, K-5 computer-science teacher, Carlisle Elementary School/Hartford Upper Elementary School, Carlisle Community School District
  • David Collison, senior vice president, Applications Development ITS Inc/SHAZAM, Johnston
  • Nicole Crain, executive vice president, Iowa Association of Business and Industry
  • Samantha Dahlby, director, K-12 Education, NewBoCo, Cedar Rapids
  • Jacquie Drey, K-4 STEM teacher, Storm Lake Elementary School, Storm Lake Community School District
  • Annette Dunn, director, Office of the Chief Information Officer, State of Iowa
  • Debi Durham, director, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Iowa Finance Authority
  • Linda Fandel, governor’s liaison for Future Ready Iowa, Iowa Department of Education
  • Dan Greteman, vice president and chief information officer, Ruan Transportation Management Systems, Des Moines
  • Dee Hamlett, computer-science technology teacher, St Joseph Catholic School, Marion
  • Denise Hoag, computer-science teacher, Thomas Jefferson High School, Council Bluffs Community School District
  • Wren Hoffman, computer-science consultant and work-group facilitator, Iowa Department of Education
  • Doug Jacobson, electrical and computer engineering professor, Iowa State University, Ames
  • Ann Lebo, director, Iowa Department of Education
  • Joe Murphy, executive director, Iowa Business Council
  • Samuel Padilla, Morningside College senior/co-founder, Steven Mentor, a tech company that helps international students transition into the American job market, and incoming cloud technical resident at Google, Sioux City
  • Melissa Pettigrew, software engineer, Principal Financial, Des Moines
  • Kyle Rector, computer-science assistant professor, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Ryan Schaap, chief information officer, Wells Enterprises Inc, Le Mars
  • J Ben Schafer, computer-science associate professor, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls
  • Lance Stonehocker, information technology-systems networking instructor, Southwestern Community College, Creston
  • Robert Stough, computer-science teacher, Clear Lake High School, Clear Lake Community School District
  • Joe Stutting, superintendent, North Scott Community School District, Eldridge
  • Beth Townsend, director, Iowa Workforce Development
  • Timothy Urness, computer-science professor, Drake University, Des Moines
  • Brian Waller, president, Technology Association of Iowa 

The Computer Science Work Group will hold its first meeting remotely Tuesday, December 8, 3:30-5PM. Members of the public interested in participating may join remotely through video conferencing or by telephone. The instructions for joining remotely are available in the meeting agenda found on the Iowa Department of Education’s Computer Science Work Group webpage.

The Governor's STEM Advisory Council and Iowa Department of Education also are partnering with business and industry on the Computer Science is Elementary project, which aligns with House File 2629. The project was launched in 2019 to transform 12 high-poverty elementary schools across Iowa into models of innovative computer-science instruction.

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