The unCommission is a massive, diverse, and participatory experience that will determine the next set of transformative goals for preK-12 STEM education. We are bringing together hundreds of young people across the country, with a focus on those most excluded from STEM opportunity, to share their personal experiences and stories about science, engineering, technology and math. From these stories, we will distill insights and develop a constellation of goals for the future of STEM education.

We hope to hear from as many young people as possible by October 15, 2021. To show our gratitude, we will send all storytellers a link to select any of these gifts after they submit a story.

Who is a Storyteller?
A storyteller is any young person aged 13-29 who wants to share their real experiences in STEM learning in the United States to help reveal the most important themes and patterns related to STEM education. We are especially hoping to hear from those furthest from inclusion in the STEM fields, particularly Black, Latinx, and Native American communities.

What is a Story?
Stories are accounts of your experiences with STEM learning — there are no right or wrong answers! Stories can feel joyful, apathetic, or sad. They can be a typed letter (max 500 words), a handwritten letter (max one page), or an audio or video journal (max 4 minutes).

What will the unCommission do with these stories?
Once stories are submitted, they will be read and listened to by trained researchers, who will pull out themes and patterns from the hundreds of stories that are collected. These insights will be turned into new national education goals for the country that the unCommission will share broadly–including with the Biden Administration!

How to Add Your Voice
There are two ways for young people to share their STEM story (Note: 13-17 year olds MUST get parental consent before submitting a story. To get consent simply log onto the platform — it will prompt you and/or your guardian/parent through the process.):

1) Storytellers can submit a story anytime by creating a profile on the unCommission storytelling platform and responding to the following prompt: “Describe an experience you had in science, math, engineering, and/or technology, inside or outside the classroom, from pre-K-12th grade. How did you feel in that experience, and what made you feel that way?” (Estimated time commitment: 15 minutes)

2) Storytellers can attend one of the below Story Hours hosted by 100Kin10. These Story Hours are an opportunity for storytellers to learn more about the unCommission and get support creating their story. Register in advance below! (Estimated time commitment: 1 hour)

For storytellers ages 18-29:

For storytellers ages 13-17:

Questions? Reach out to

In a video recorded interview, Pedro Martinez, superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District, told Jan Morrison, founder of TIES, that it’s not just enough to “go back” to school and that it’s time to “be better.”

Martinez, who is also chair of the Chiefs for Change, offered broad comments about the role of ecosystems in improving schools, how rewarding and paying teachers a decent wage is a matter of social justice and how children are ready for learning and challenges.

The conversation with Morrison and Martinez was a follow-up to the Spring 2020 STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice convening held in San Antonio where Martinez spoke in-person and challenged Ecosystem leaders to better engage their students.

The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Office of Computer Science is pleased to announce the launch of the “Computers ARe Fun” video series. This series of videos, which will be released throughout the Summer of 2021, are intended for younger viewers, typically Pre-K – 5th grade, and will help children understand the basics of computers, including introductory computer literacy, some coding, low level hardware discussions, and appropriate cybersecurity and internet security topics. In addition, the series will share information about computer science and computing careers in a fun way.

Videos within the series will be posted to the ADE YouTube page in the “Computers ARe Fun” playlist as they are made available at

Episode 1, “What is a computer?” has been posted and is available today!

While the first episode is more of an introduction to the series, subsequent episodes will delve into various computer science and computing topics. Some of the content shared will be accessible online, but much of it will focus on unplugged activities that children can explore with their family without the use of computing devices.

If you have any questions, comments, or want to get involved in the creation of a “Computers ARe Fun” video for this summer, please reach out to

Gov. Hutchinson Announces Winners of State Coding Competition
2021 Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year Also Announced

Little Rock — Gov. Asa Hutchinson is pleased to announce the winners of the Fifth Annual Governor’s All-State Coding Competition, which was held this past weekend at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Donaghey Student Center. Students at the Don Tyson School of Innovation in Springdale received the first-place prize, students at Rogers New Technology High School in Rogers received second place, and a team from eStem High School in Little Rock received the third place honor.

“For the fifth straight year, this competition has inspired impressive solutions from Arkansas’ top computer science students,” Hutchinson said. “Their work reinforces my confidence that these students will be more than well prepared to take the reins of leadership. When you consider the caliber of the five teachers we recognized, it’s no surprise that we are seeing this excellence in our computer science students.”

The winning team from the Don Tyson School of Innovation (Lucas Kellar, Luke Lyons, and Drake Mayes) each received a 529 college savings plan prize worth $2,000. Students at Rogers New Technology High School (Joshua Willard, Aldan Garner, and David Daniel) each received a 529 college savings plan prize worth $1,000, and students at eStem High School (Elijah Keen, Spencer Knight, and Sergio Markin) each received a 529 college savings plan prize worth $500. In addition to the individual awards, winning schools received $10,000, $6,000, and $4,000 respectively to support their computer science programs.

Since the contest’s 2016 inaugural year, Verizon has provided $225,000 in financial support for the competition. More than 100 teams from across the state participated in this year’s digital regional competition. The top 16 teams from that regional event along with a team from last year’s first-place school received invitations to compete in the 2021 competition.

2021 Computer Science Educator of the Year Named

In addition to the announcing the contest winners at the event, Ashley Kincannon, a teacher at Lake Hamilton Junior High School in the Lake Hamilton School District, was named the 2021 Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year. In addition to receiving a $2,500 award when named a finalist, Kincannon received an additional $12,500 award from the Arkansas Department of Education’s Office of Computer Science.

Hutchinson also recognized the other four finalists at the event:

  • Carl Frank – Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts
  • Kimberly Raup – Conway High School (Conway School District)
  • Stacy Reynolds – McGehee High School (McGehee School District)
  • Lauren Taylor – Dardanelle High School (Dardanelle School District)

We appreciate the service of all the computer science educators in the state of Arkansas, the sponsors who made this year’s competition possible, and we appreciate and congratulate all the participants and winners for such a successful event!

Original Source Here

Conway Public Schools as well as Crossett High School is currently in search of a Computer Science Teacher. If you or someone you know has the 528 certification, is enthusiastic about Computer Science, and has an interest in or willingness to learn Programming and Networking/Hardware, we encourage you to apply. Please help build the Computer Science Program for the continuation of computer science education for students!

The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Office of Computer Science announced in December the continuation of the Computer Science Innovation Grant opportunity for Arkansas public K-12 schools. This opportunity includes up to $250,000.00 in total reimbursement funding that has been allocated for the purchase of curriculum, software licenses, non-fundamental equipment, professional development, student incentives, and other approved expenses that directly support the instruction of the ADE K-12 Computer Science and Computing Standards.

This is a multi-stage competitive grant process; each proposal will be judged by a committee. Chosen proposals will be invited and required to complete and submit an ADE required grant application, based on the proposal, for full approval before funding is awarded and released. ADE expects to award approximately three $25,000.00 grants, five $20,000.00 grants, and ten $7,500.00 grants; however, ADE may elect not to award all grants or full grant amounts if the quality of the proposals do not warrant award. ADE maintains the discretion to award, not award, and/or modify award amounts of any or all grants under this program. Prior receipt of funding under previous Computer Science Innovation Grant programs does not disqualify proposals.

The proposal submission system can be accessed at:

Proposals will be evaluated on the level of innovation and potential effectiveness in regards to:

  • Broadening student participation in computer science courses with an additional emphasis placed on programs that broaden participation within underserved populations
  • Increasing computer science teacher capacity within the school and understanding of computer science for involved educators
  • Increasing community understanding and local industry support of local computer science initiatives/programs
  • Number of, and the impact on, students, teachers, and/or community members reached by the proposal
    Follow up components and/or outreach/marketing components

The proposal process is open and will close at 11:45 p.m. CST on 04/30/2021; award decisions will be released by 05/28/2021.

Grant proposals must include a proposed budget that includes a summary of all costs, and lists any outside funding expected. Spending of awarded grant funds may deviate up to 10% within each category without additional approval; however, no additional funds will be granted for programs that exceed awarded amounts. Programs will be forward funded up to 50% of the projected grant award amount; the remaining 50% will be funded once the first half is fully and appropriately expensed. Organizations may contract with curriculum / professional development providers to provide training to educators as needed.

Selected schools will be required to submit an official ADE grant application, budget and budget narrative, and other documentation and reports throughout the grant process.

The grant performance period will be July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022; initial funding will not be distributed until after July 15, 2021.

The funding for these one-time grants is being provided by the ADE Office of Computer Science, and is subject to the availability of funds appropriated by legislative act.

“As a former STRIVE participant and mentor, I can honestly say I have become a better educator because of this program. By working with local businesses in the community, I have been able to identify and implement the critical skills students need after graduation. What is the one question all students ask when doing their work? …WHY? Well, I can tell you that the why has been answered in my classroom! I am able to relate the essential skills and learning targets to real-world concepts and ideas with each lesson unit. The STRIVE program has not only given me the experience of a lifetime, it has given my students the experience of a lifetime as well.”

-Whitney Major, STRIVE participant and mentor, Science Teacher at Lake Hamilton Jr. High.

The STRIVE program is looking for qualified, motivated, STEM educators to participate in a 5-week program through UALR and local businesses in the community. The applicant will be placed with a business during the summer to work with the employers during a 5-week period where they will be compensated $750 a week!

The goal of the program is to bridge the gap between what is being taught in the classroom and the skills in which employers look for in a new employee. During the placement, the educator will learn about different job skills, qualifications, and expectations (educational, job duties, etc.) within the business. They will then use the information learned during the placement to create a meaningful lesson centered around the implementation of STEM skills. Applicants will be required to gather pre and post data (assessments, surveys, etc.) in order to show how their student has grown in a specific skill set or content area using STEM skills.

They have potential placement opportunities in the following towns: El Dorado, Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Little Rock, McGhee, Mountain View/Fifty Six, Norfork, and North Little Rock.

See the handouts below for more information OR contact Dr. Mark Baillie through email:

The deadline has been extended to April 11, 2021!

Application Link:

We have some great news in Arkansas STEM! The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) plans to support middle school and high school STEM education in Arkansas by means of the Pathways Academy community engagement program.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is launching a new community engagement program to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in public middle schools and high schools in Arkansas.

UAMS’ Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has received a $800,000 grant to establish the Pathways Academy. The grant comes from the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services Temporary Assistance for Needed Families program and is renewable for up to five years, representing a potential $4 million investment.

This STEM education program will utilize online tools to aid students whose families qualify for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. These Pathway Scholars will receive assistance and preparation for careers in the STEM and health care fields.

Some of the resources the Pathways Academy will provide including mentoring, tutoring, opportunities to attend conference and seminars, internships, summer programming and technical training. The program will also work with the students’ parents to help them support their children’s academic careers.

“The Pathways Academy is meant to not only give students the opportunity to explore and pursue careers in science and health care fields, but to build bridges of community engagement and education in communities with underrepresented minority populations, opening doors for clinical and translation research as well,” Brian Gittens, Ed.D., MPA, UAMS vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion, said in a statement.

According to Gittens, the program’s first priority is developing a staff to create curriculum, program development and administration. The team will then begin recruiting students, parents and teachers.

The long-term goals for the program is to grow to approximately 1,200 students in Arkansas, Gittens said.

Courtesy of Arkansas Money & Politics, March 11, 2021

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is pleased to announce the five educators selected as finalists for the 2021 Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year award.

“The ADE Office of Computer Science received many quality applications,” Anthony Owen, the state director of Computer Science Education, said. “This year’s applications were some of the most competitive we have seen in the three years of this award. Unfortunately, our team could only select five, and we selected the educators who best demonstrated both a long-term and ongoing commitment to, passion for, and impact on computer science education in Arkansas and the nation. These educators have earned and deserve this recognition.”

The 2021 Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year Finalists are as follows.

  • Carl Frank – Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts
  • Ashley Kincannon – Lake Hamilton Junior High School (Lake Hamilton School District)
  • Kimberly Raup – Conway High School (Conway School District)
  • Stacy Reynolds – McGehee High School (McGehee School District)
  • Lauren Taylor – Dardanelle High School (Dardanelle School District)

Each finalist will receive a $2,500 award from the ADE Office of Computer Science. A panel of representatives from the ADE Computer Science Unit, the 2020 Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year, external industry leaders, and other education experts will review the finalists’ applications and select the 2021 Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year based on a rubric scoring system. The winner, who will be announced at a later date, will receive an additional $12,500 award.

(Courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Education, March 16, 2021)

We congratulate all winning finalists and participants for the Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year, and we thank all educators for their service!