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December 3, 2020

Gov. Kim Reynolds announces members of new Computer Science Work Group
Business, industry and education members to convene Dec. 8

DES MOINES - Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced the members of a new Computer Science Work Group created by a 2020 state law that for the first time requires Iowa’s 327 school districts and 116 accredited nonpublic schools to offer computer science instruction.

Earlier this year, Gov. Kim Reynolds proposed and the Legislature unanimously passed House File 2629 requiring high schools to offer at least one computer science course by July 1, 2022. Elementary and middle schools must provide computer science instruction in at least one grade level each by July 1, 2023. The bill also calls for the Iowa Department of Education to convene a Computer Science Work Group to make recommendations to strengthen computer science instruction and develop a campaign to promote computer science to K-12 students and families. The work group’s recommendations are due to the General Assembly by July 1, 2021.

“Computer science is no longer an elective course, but a basic skill every student needs to succeed in a technology-driven workplace,” said Gov. Reynolds. “We have made computer science a priority by adopting state standards and expanding professional development so more educators are better prepared to teach computer science. Now, we have assembled a group of talented stakeholders to help us take that next step to bring computer science to every Iowa classroom.” 

“The innovative work some school districts already have done with computer science is a strong foundation to build upon,” said Ann Lebo, Iowa Department of Education director. “I am eager to increase opportunities for more students and appreciate the Computer Science Work Group’s commitment to our ambitious goal.”

Kathleen Kay, chief information officer at Principal Financial in Des Moines, and Jeff Weld, executive director of the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Advisory Council, are the work group co-chairs. Other members are:

  • Wendy Batchelder, chief data officer, VMware, Des Moines
  • Dan Carver, K-5 computer science teacher, Carlisle Elementary School/Hartford Upper Elementary School, Carlisle Community School District
  • David Collison, senior vice president, Applications Development ITS, Inc./SHAZAM, Johnston
  • Nicole Crain, executive vice president, Iowa Association of Business and Industry
  • Samantha Dahlby, director, K-12 Education, NewBoCo, Cedar Rapids
  • Jacquie Drey, K-4 STEM teacher, Storm Lake Elementary School, Storm Lake Community School District
  • Annette Dunn, director, Office of the Chief Information Officer, State of Iowa
  • Debi Durham, director, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Iowa Finance Authority
  • Linda Fandel, governor’s liaison for Future Ready Iowa, Iowa Department of Education
  • Dan Greteman, vice president and chief information officer, Ruan Transportation Management Systems, Des Moines
  • Dee Hamlett, computer science technology teacher, St. Joseph Catholic School, Marion
  • Denise Hoag, computer science teacher, Thomas Jefferson High School, Council Bluffs Community School District
  • Wren Hoffman, computer science consultant and work group facilitator, Iowa Department of Education
  • Doug Jacobson, electrical and computer engineering professor, Iowa State University, Ames
  • Ann Lebo, director, Iowa Department of Education
  • Joe Murphy, executive director, Iowa Business Council
  • Samuel Padilla, Morningside College senior/co-founder, Steven Mentor, a tech company that helps international students transition into the American job market, and incoming cloud technical resident at Google, Sioux City
  • Melissa Pettigrew, software engineer, Principal Financial, Des Moines
  • Kyle Rector, computer science assistant professor, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Ryan Schaap, chief information officer, Wells Enterprises, Inc., Le Mars
  • J. Ben Schafer, computer science associate professor, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls
  • Lance Stonehocker, information technology systems networking instructor, Southwestern Community College, Creston
  • Robert Stough, computer science teacher, Clear Lake High School, Clear Lake Community School District
  • Joe Stutting, superintendent, North Scott Community School District, Eldridge
  • Beth Townsend, director, Iowa Workforce Development 
  • Timothy Urness, computer science professor, Drake University, Des Moines
  • Brian Waller, president, Technology Association of Iowa

The Computer Science Work Group will hold its first meeting remotely Tuesday, Dec. 8, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Members of the public interested in participating may join remotely through video conferencing or by telephone. The instructions for joining remotely are available in the meeting agenda found on the Iowa Department of Education’s Computer Science Work Group webpage.

The Governor's STEM Advisory Council and Iowa Department of Education also are partnering with business and industry on the Computer Science is Elementary project, which aligns with House File 2629. The project was launched in 2019 to transform 12 high-poverty elementary schools across Iowa into models of innovative computer science instruction.


October 29, 2020

The State of Iowa was recognized as a leader in disaster recovery by the 2020 Digital States Survey. Along with two other states, Iowa was praised for, “The ability to recover from and maintain continuous IT and business operations during disasters and crisis conditions.” In 2018 and 2019 Iowa’s disaster recovery capabilities were put to the test. Flooding in the main data center led to a massive overhaul that will have a long-term impact on the safety and security of data in the state. 

On the 2020 Digital State Survey Iowa received a “B” grade. The state was praised for ongoing investment in broadband infrastructure, Master Data Management projects, cybersecurity initiatives, and digital citizen engagement. 

“Survey results revealed cybersecurity, budget, and cost control, citizen engagement and experience, and cloud computing are the states’ top four priorities, with IT collaboration and IT governance moving up to fifth and sixth,” said Teri Takai, co-director of the Center for Digital Governance. “We are also seeing emerging best practices from states around addressing the digital divide and infrastructure modernization.”

The Digital States Survey was designed to highlight best and emerging technology practices that serve as models and/or can be shared across state borders. 

To see the awards article and the 50-state summaries, Click Here.

October 15, 2020

The Annual Cyber Security Poster Contest for Iowa has launched!

The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) and State of Iowa OCIO - Information Security Division are conducting a K-12 Cyber Security Awareness Poster Contest to encourage young people to use the Internet safely and securely. 

Students in kindergarten through 12th grade are eligible to participate.

This year’s themes focus on staying safe online and learning to handle bullies and unwanted attention. Poster art should illustrate the safe use of the Internet or computers\mobile devices.

Topics for grades K-8

  • How should you treat others online?
  • What information is safe to put on social media and what should you keep private? 
  • How should you handle unwanted attention or strangers online?
  • How can you select a strong password and keep it secure?
  • How can you handle cyber bullying?

Topics for grades 9-12

  • How can you preserve your online reputation or ”digital footprint” on both social media and elsewhere on the internet?
  • How should you handle unwanted attention or strangers online?
  • How can you select a strong password and keep it secure?
  • Why is it important to keep your devices and software up to date?
  • When is it safe to text and what information is safe to text?

Poster Requirements:

  • Layout:                Landscape,
  • Dimensions:        11” x 8.5”,
  • Format:               Hand drawn or electronically created,
  • Appearance:       Use bright colors. Text is large and dark enough to be easily read.

Submissions: Participants should submit a completed Poster Entry Form (attached) by November 30, 2020 to:

State of Iowa OCIO – Information Security Division

Attention: Alison Radl

1305 E. Walnut St.

Hoover Building, B Level

Des Moines, IA 50319


Email electronic submissions to: Alison.radl@iowa.gov


September 4, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, September 4, 2020

CONTACT: Gloria Van Rees, 515.782.3661

DES MOINES, Iowa —The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) is excited to announce a new DRAFT 2020 broadband availability map of the State of Iowa has been published for public comment. The new map was created through partnership with Connected Nation and makes it possible for Iowans to pinpoint broadband service in their area by simply inputting an address. 

We have heard comments from many Iowans in the past that previous maps showing which companies provided service to their area were inaccurate. This is the public’s opportunity to let us know about broadband service in your area. The information in this new map was reported by broadband providers. We need the public to help us fact-check service in their area and help us find errors and ways to improve the map. 

A better more accurate map will help the OCIO make better decisions regarding broadband grants and also give providers insight into services areas that hold expansion potential. The broadband map has links at the top of the map to provide immediate feedback through a public comment section and a provider comment section. Iowans have until September 21, 2020 to submit their feedback on the map before it is finalized. As OCIO is seeking as much public input as possible, feel free to share this information on social media. 

The State of Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer administers broadband programs designed to increase access to high-speed Internet services in underserved and unserved areas of the State of Iowa. For more information on this new service map and link to the map go to: 



March 24, 2020

The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) is working with state of Iowa agencies to create Covid-19 resources and update existing customer service tools to meet the demand for Covid-19 information. 

OCIO worked with the Department of Human Services to create a dynamic map of childcare availability within the state. Following Governor Reynolds' announcement of the importance of childcare availability for essential workers, the map went live illustrating real time availability of child care throughout the state. The map can be accessed by visiting DHS’s new Covid-19 website here.   Read the full press release "OCIO works with state agencies to put out Covid-19 resources" to learn more about Covid-19 resources available to Iowans.

March 20, 2020

Internet providers and software companies are stepping up to help Iowans as more people are needing to be online for work and school.  A number of IT providers in Iowa took the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge” to provide internet during this pandemic. The pledge is a commitment for the next 60 days to not terminate residential or small business accounts, waive late fees,  and open wifi hotspots to those that need them. Information about IT providers signing the pledge is available in the Internet Providers and Software Companies Respond to Covid-19 news release.


March 17, 2020

The Office of the Chief Information Officer of the State of Iowa as an organization is tasked with a focus on meeting the technology needs of all levels of government. In this time of more Iowans living online for work, school, and entertainment as a result of social distancing or quarantine, it is more important than ever to emphasize cybersecurity. OCIO encourages the practice of safe cybersecurity strategies when working from home to keep personal and professional information safe. Check out our resource for tips, training, and where to report identity theft, scamming, or internet crimes against children.


August 8, 2019

OCIO is exhibiting at the Iowa State Fair in the Varied Industries Building.  Stop by booth 314 to learn about cybersecurity, broadband expansion efforts, subscribe to state agency communications like the DNR fishing report and more.

Interland - Kids security game by Google and curriculum for teachers.
Identity Theft brochure
Security Quiz by NIST  
Phishing Quiz
Broadband expansion  

Subscribe to State topics - enter your email address and select the topics you are interested in like the DNR Fishing Report.
Ask the State of Iowa - Smart speaker (Google Home/Assistant; Alexa) instructions.
Provide feedback about Iowa.gov

May 20, 2019

Government Technology magazine published "Iowa Secures Elections with Extensive Cybersecurity Efforts" about the massive effort by the Office of the Chief Information Officer in partnership with the Secretary of State to increase election security.

April 23, 2019

Today, Jeff Franklin, Chief Information Officer, joined Governor Reynolds, for the press conference to officially launch the ”Ask the State of Iowa” smart speaker skill.   At the press conference Jeff remarked, ”Because people look for information in different ways --- some chat, some search, and some ask their smartspeaker --- this capability allows us to meet the needs of Iowans in the way they use their technology every day.”  State agencies contributed the top questions their offices receive from the public and their respective answers.  Currently Google Home and Amazon Alexa can answer over 200 commonly asked questions.

Iowans can ”Ask the State of Iowa” when they add the skill to their smart speakers or add Google Home or Alexa to their smart phone and add the skill. You do not need to buy a smart speaker to use the skill, you can add Google Home or Alexa to your smart phone for free.   OCIO has provided instructions for adding Alexa and Google Home to phones, including iPhones at https://bit.ly/2GCnCre

Add the skill to Google Home at https://assistant.google.com/explore?hl=en and search for “State of Iowa.” Add the skill to Alexa on Amazon by changing the drop down filter from “All” to “Alexa Skills” and search for “State of Iowa.”

“I hope Iowans will start using ”Ask the State of Iowa” as a 24 x 7 resource.  If the skill does not have an answer today check back as we continue to add information” said Franklin.  The skill was created by OCIO with Webspec Design, a local web development company in Urbandale.    Please contact Leah.Stott@iowa.gov or 515-508-0219 with questions about the "Ask the State of Iowa" skill.

News Coverage:  Cedar Rapids CBS2State Scoop

December 21, 2018

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced on Friday that $1.3 million for broadband grants are now available through the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) to improve broadband access for Iowans and eliminate underserved areas (targeted service areas) across the state.  The grant program allows communication service providers, including telecommunication companies, cities and towns, to apply for up to 15 percent of their broadband project costs in targeted service areas. Communications service providers are encouraged to apply for a grant to install broadband infrastructure in these underserved areas.  Read the Governor's Press Release on Broadband Grants.

September 12, 2018

The Center for Digital Government announced the Office of the Chief Information Officer has received the prestigious Digital Experience Award in recognition of the States’ efforts to update Google information to ensure office locations, hours and phone numbers in Google are up to date.   The State is being recognized again for efforts to make it easier for citizens to find the information they need and to quickly connect with our government offices.  The Google My Business profiles really paid off when we were able to immediately update office phone numbers and office hours for the Google profiles of our offices in Marshalltown after the tornado.  We know citizens want to do a quick Google search for state offices and click the call button. Claiming and managing our profiles means citizens get to the right place! 



Printed from the Office of the Chief Information Officer website on August 11, 2022 at 3:34pm.