An area school district received help from a West Central Illinois corporation to add computer classes and games to its curriculum.
The Tracy Family Foundation awarded Scott-Morgan CUSD #2 a grant worth $20,000 to build a computer science curriculum and an e-sports program.
Social studies teacher Zack Morrissey says there has been a lot of interest in adding these programs to Bluffs for some time now. “Last year, at the beginning of the fall, we wanted to do an e-sports program. We co-oped a lot of our stuff at Winchester and there wasn’t a single school that offered that so we’re hoping to that program will be established. We had an interest meeting and 40 children came out so the interest is there, we need to find the funding.
Then the state passed that all schools had to offer computer science for students, and we didn’t have that at the time, so we thought we’d try to kill two birds with one stone and try to put in this grant will not only bring computer science programs to Bluffs, but we can also use that to create an e-sports program for Bluffs and Winchester.
Morrissey says that after Jordan Mueller was added to the staff last year, they were able to work together to create a pathway to include programs and that led them to reach out to the Tracy Family Foundation to help guide in pairs of teachers by providing writing process.
Morrissey said they submitted the application at the end of the school year and announced today that they received the $20,000 grant. He said that work has begun to develop the two programs, including contacting the national e-sports league for high schools to help them develop the program for the two districts.
Morrissey says e-sports is more than just video gaming, and it’s one of the fastest-growing activities in Illinois schools. “It’s all different types of games. You can think like shooter games but there are also puzzle games, sports games, team-based game, and then there’s another part where you can stream it so that people who are interested can do like broadcast or future streaming. So that we can accommodate those children and they can also be part of the program even if they don’t want to play.
It is one of the fastest growing extracurriculars in the State of Illinois. Many schools now offer scholarships for e-sports. So the fact that we can now bring this opportunity to our children and raise them is amazing. We can’t thank the Tracy Foundation enough for the tremendous support.
Morrissey says as soon as the funds are received they will begin purchasing equipment and hope to begin offering the new programs during the first quarter of the upcoming school year.