Smart Start Grant Program
The New York State Education Department has awarded $6 million in grant funds to 17 applicants to assist in the professional development of K-8 teachers in their knowledge and expertise of the NYS Computer Science and Digital Fluency Learning Standards that were adopted in December 2020. The purpose of the Smart Start grant is to develop, implement, and share innovative programs that provide professional development and support to increase expertise in computer science, engineering, and/or educational technology among teachers in grades K-8.
NYSED recognizes the need to prepare students to succeed in the dynamic 21st-century economy, specifically in the areas of computer science, engineering, and educational technology. Upon graduation, every student in New York State should know how to live safely and productively in a digitally-dominated world, understand the types of tasks computation can help automate, understand essential features of how the technologies of their lives work, and be able to effectively utilize technology to create, research, communicate, and collaborate.
These programs and component activities, materials, professional development resources, etc., will support the mission of the NYS Board of Regents, which is to ensure that every child has equitable access to the highest quality educational opportunities, services and supports in schools that provide effective instruction aligned to the state’s standards, as well as positive learning environments so that each child is prepared for success in college, career, and citizenship.
New York State teachers need professional development and support in order to help their students achieve success in computer science, engineering, and educational technology. NYSED recognizes that high-quality professional development that utilizes best practices and instructional methodologies and are tailored to school district and regional industry needs is critical to improving learning opportunities and outcomes for all NYS students.
Professional development and support will be provided by qualified non-profit organizations or institutions of higher education. Districts/Consortiums also must partner with their Regional Economic Development Council to tailor the program to regional business or future employer needs.
The program goals of the Smart Start Grant are as follows:
- The implementation of fully developed programs that provide professional development and support to increase expertise in computer science, engineering, and/or educational technology among teachers in grades K-8, to allow such teachers to become in-house experts in the school and district.
- The publishing and sharing of the state-funded programs, including any and all materials and artifacts (with the exception of Personally Identifiable Information and artifacts created by K-8 students) produced over the course of the grant, so that other NYS districts can freely use, copy, adapt, and implement similar programs. Programs will be published on the applicant’s website.
This grant has 17 awardees that will fund the training of over 7,000 teachers in more than 500 schools over the course of the grant. The grant period is anticipated to be five years, beginning April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2026.
- For additional details, see the 2020-2025 Smart Start Grant application
- RFP Revised 10/16/19: Added "Code 15: Professional Salaries" to the Budget narrative section (page 51). The updated document is available in the Grant Applications Documents section.
- Questions and Answers
- September 25 Informational Webinar: Recording; Slideshow