Growing the Commonwealth for the Common Good.

Office of Senator David Givens

September 19, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. Ė As we settle into fall with our school and sports schedules, I wanted to update you on some of the education topics Iíve been focused on the last few months.

The Governorís Scholar program is a summer residential program for rising high school seniors. Selection is highly competitive; the program is geared to our best and brightest and is designed to challenge them academically while highlighting educational opportunities here in our Commonwealth. We had many such scholars in our community which is a testament to our students, parents, and teachers. These young people backed their applications with outstanding grades, civic service, and teacher recommendations. We have a great brain trust here and I certainly hope that these star students will call Kentucky home in the future.

As a member of the Education Committee, I have focused in part on increasing educational opportunities for our children. Providing adequate funding for programs such as Governorís Scholars is a way to inspire and hopefully keep our children engaged. Last month, I visited Lee County to see another example. The Education Committee met there because Lee County High School is piloting a terrific program called TEALS or Technology Education and Literacy in Schools Program. TEALS helps high schools start and grow a sustainable Computer Science (CS) program and build CS teacher capacity by integrating professional software engineers into the classroom in a co-teaching model with a classroom teacher. Committed partner schools run the CS courses with their own classroom teachers after two years. I am excited about promoting this program in our schools and I wanted to brief you as well.

In small, rural Lee County, they have a group of high schoolers who are being taught computer science through remote instruction by Microsoft engineers in New York City and Redmond, Washington, partnered with local teachers and volunteers. These kids are learning first-year college computer science which has not only led them to take their other coursework more seriously but has spurred them to further their education in a booming industry either through a university or the local community college. Any high school can avail themselves of this option by providing a few prerequisites such as classroom space and local IT professional volunteers. I have offered my assistance to our local schools to see if this could be an option for us.

Kentucky is a small state but the success of our graduates prove that we have a large brain trust. Our people are indeed our best resources. By 2020, it is estimated that the United States will be in need of one million computer programmers. Fifty percent of so-called STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) jobs do not require a bachelorís degree yet earn an annual average of $55,000. Imagine having the opportunity of graduating with an associateís degree and earning a stable living. During the 2013 General Assembly Session, the Senate passed a dual-credit bill that would help high school students obtain a degree like this faster. While the legislation failed to win passage in the House, I will be advocating for similar legislation again this coming session. But I am also pursuing other avenues as well and that is why I am enthusiastic about the opportunity offered with TEALS

I am committed to bringing TEALS or programs like these to our schools. I continue working in Frankfort in committee meetings and research often. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns at 502-564-8100 or toll-free at 800-372-7181. Interim committee meetings will continue through November and beyond as we prepare for the 2015 Session.

Sincerely,

David Givens
State Senator
District 9


Note: Senator David Givens (R-Greensburg) represents the 9th District including Allen, Barren, Green, Metcalfe, Monroe and Simpson counties. He is the vice-chair of both the Appropriations and Revenue Committee and the Health and Welfare Committee. Senator Givens is a member of the Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee, the Education Committee and the Agriculture Committee.For a high-resolution .jpeg of Senator Givens, please log onto www.lrc.state.ky.us/pubinfo/ephoto.htm.

 

David Givens
Kentucky's
9th District
Senator


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