PA Smart Grants awarded to BLaST IU 17, five local school districts

BLaST Intermediate Unit 17 and several school districts across Lycoming, Union and Bradford counties are the recipients of PA Smart, a grant that expands computer science programming and training in school districts, State Sen. Gene Yaw announced. Williamsport, Canton, Towanda, Lewisburg and Mifflinburg area school districts received grants.

The BLaST IU 17, which serves over 2,600 students throughout Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan and Tioga counties, has been awarded $35,000.

Williamsport Area School District, Lycoming County; Canton and Towanda area school districts, Bradford County; and Lewisburg and Mifflinburg area school districts, Union County, will each receive $35,000 to help implement computer science programming and training for educators to teach computer science.

“These funds will be used to equip three IU 17 programs with a STEM lab space and tools, which will prepare our students with the computational thinking skills necessary to contribute to a technology-driven workforce. Students impacted by these monies attend the BSI Partial Hospitalization Program and BLaST Academies for Integrated Studies located in both Lycoming and Bradford counties,” said Christina Steinbacher-Reed, executive director of BLaST IU 17.

“The district will use PA Smart Grant funds to expand access to STEM and computer science opportunities, by delivering an Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science course,” said Timothy Bowers, superintendent at Williamsport Area School District. “The addition of this course will complement our robust 15 AP course offerings at the Williamsport Area High School. The development and delivery of the College Board AP Computer Science course is unique to the area and demonstrates the school district’s commitment to academic excellence and pursuit of leading-edge curriculum.”