Posted: Oct 8, 2019

EduTech Director Rosi Kloberdanz and Professional Learning and Outreach Manager Tabitha Teel hit the road in September to share North Dakota’s award-winning “K-20W Initiative” with stakeholders at a Washington, D.C. roundtable, and in Denver, CO, at the Government Experience Awards, where Kloberdanz accepted a Finalist Award on behalf of the 40+ member ND K-20W team.

The K-20W team also received a Governor’s Roaming Bison Award for Excellence in Public Service this month for developing a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive cyber education strategy for North Dakotans at every level from kindergarten through Ph.D. and into the workforce. This initiative is providing students with increased learning opportunities to develop skills to support success in a 21st century workforce, while making North Dakota a national leader in cyber education. 

 

Teel was invited to participate in a Cybersecurity Education, Training and Awareness Program (CETAP) round table hosted by partner NICERC (National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center) on Friday, Sept. 20 in Washington, D.C. NICERC offers grant-funded cyber, STEM and computer science curricula and professional development to K-12 educators at no cost. Their goal is to empower educators as they prepare the next generation to succeed in the cyber workforce of tomorrow.

 

“It was an honor to be invited to participate in this panel, and gain insights from the participants as well as share North Dakota’s best practices,” said Teel. “Sharing our journey and intentional, comprehensive approach to cybersecurity education has accelerated our ability to make huge strides in a short time, and it’s really a testament to everyone who is part of this effort to helping our students succeed in a 21st century economy.”
 

The goal of the round table was to raise awareness about the existing federal, state, and community programs who share one common goal - to educate the next generation cyber-literate workforce. The Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) partnered with the Cyber Innovation Center and NICERC through a grant to replicate a scalable K-12 cyber education program across the country. NICERC has partnered with state, local, tribal, and territorial organizations to achieve this goal. During the round table discussion, NICERC featured just a few of the partners who have been instrumental in making a monumental impact in educating the cyber workforce of tomorrow.

Cybersecurity, a more focused track in the broader computer science field, is a growing career field with virtually zero percent unemployment. The average salary is six figures, and there are opportunities in virtually all industries. According to information on Code.org, North Dakota currently has 573 open computing jobs with an average salary of $70,000, but had only 162 computer science graduates in 2017, of which only 10% were females.

In addition to NICERC, partners Palo Alto Networks, Code.org, the National Center for Women & IT, Microsoft TEALS and TechSpark, and the SANS Institute have directly supported the K-20W Initiative through a variety of resources including professional development and training for teachers, curriculum, scholarships, awards and recognition, and classroom technology.

Panelists included NICERC host Kevin Nolton; Bradford Wilke (left), Assistant Director Stakeholder Engagement, Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency; Susan Harper, STEM Strategy Lead at Girl Scouts of the USA (bottom photo, right); Tabitha Teel (right), Manager of Professional Development and Outreach, ND EduTech; and Kylie Kalinowski (middle), Computer Information Systems Major, Louisiana Tech University.

 

On Sept. 27, Kloberdanz traveled to Denver, CO to accept a Finalist Award at the Center for Digital Government’s Government Experience Awards. This was the second year in a row North Dakota attended the event, after winning a Citizen Experience Award last year for the Main Street Initiative Dashboard.

“It was a privilege to represent our amazing coalition at this awards ceremony,” said Kloberdanz. “We are thrilled to be sharing the success of nearly two years building a foundation that will benefit students, teachers, administrators and parents, and we look forward to making an even bigger impact in the years to come.”

While measurable business results will be tied to long-term, sustained prioritization and investment, the coalition is making a clear impact. In just over 18 months, the coalition including K-12, higher education, workforce development, military, state government and industry partners have created momentum that is yielding tangible results.

- EduTech has provided dozens of training sessions for more than 2,100 participating teachers (*aggregate number, doesn’t represent unique attendees) focused on computer science and cybersecurity, including NICERC, Code.org, and Minecraft in Education workshops.

  • - North Dakota State University has a new cybersecurity education focus in its PhD program, and along with Bismarck State College, was recently designated a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by NSA and Homeland Security.
     
  • - The ND Department of Public Instruction is implementing newly drafted computer and cybersecurity science (CCS) standards - the first in the nation to emphasize cybersecurity (which took 7 months – unprecedented by all accounts).

Innovative strategic alliances have resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment, training and in-kind contributions. Partnerships have also yielded significant capacity in professional development and classroom resources, including:

  • $175K classroom equipment to teachers who complete NICERC training; EduTech was also the first organization nationally to be certified as a NICERC state training partner;
  • Microsoft TEALS was implemented in 14 schools, building on the state’s TechSpark partnership, which includes a $50,000 grant and partnership with Learning Forward North Dakota that is helping build professional learning standards and best practices via EduTech’s delivery of the Code.org, NICERC, and Microsoft training platforms to support the growth of CCS education across the state;
  • Minecraft events were held in 4 locations with 70+ educators and in-classroom support from EduTech Minecraft experts;
  • ND EduTech is expanding apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship and tribal partnerships for CCS and STEM. 

“Technology expertise is essential in a world where every state is competing nationally and globally for talent and capital,” said Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley. “North Dakota is growing our economy and helping set students up for success with a focus on computer science and cybersecurity education and training through the K-20W initiative. Regardless of career path, giving students at all grade levels access to integrated curricula, coding, robotics and similar programs creates a fun, meaningful learning experience that can also open the door to rewarding careers.”