Harkins, Merski: $500,000 state grant will bring comprehensive computer science curriculum to Erie City School District

HARRISBURG, Feb. 11 – A $500,000 state grant will allow the Erie City School District to offer students a greatly enriched curriculum in computer science, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. 

The grant will help the school district provide the foundation for a kindergarten through grade 12 computer science college and career pathway for more than 11,000 students throughout 16 schools.

“This grant is extremely exciting,” Merski said. “In the past, students in the Erie City district have had only limited access to computer science and STEM coursework. Fortunately, with the help of this grant, that’s about to change. The funding announced today is going to provide greatly expanded opportunities – including computer technology and programming – that were previously out of reach. The grant is going to provide students access to career opportunities they didn't even know existed. It’s going to bring them up to par with their counterparts in wealthier districts.”

Harkins agreed, noting, “The grant is going to allow the district to offer courses that engage students’ minds, with activities like coding, programming, robotics, gaming, networking and cyber security. It’s also going to provide for resources such as new and renovated computer labs and internship opportunities – the kinds of opportunities that provide meaningful college and career pathways.”

Grant recipient Mercyhurst University helped collaborate to create the new curriculum.

The grant, administered by the state Department of Education, is part of a package of $9.6 million in PAsmart advancing grants being distributed to 23 partnerships across Pennsylvania to help support enhanced computer science and STEM learning. A maximum of $500,000 is available for each grant, which is intended to support entities with 50 or more students participating in CS/STEM experiences.