Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced a $75 million investment in the company’s YouthSpark initiative today, focused on computer science education. As part of this announcement, Microsoft will also expand its Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program starting Fall 2015, which enables professionals in the tech industry to volunteer and partner with teachers to start computer science programs in high schools. In celebration, we are featuring local teachers and volunteers in the TEALS program to learn more about how to bring computer science programs to more schools.
In California, TEALS is running programs at Abraham Lincoln High School, Aragon High School, Balboa High School, Burlingame High, Canyon High, Capuchino High, Carlmont High, Casa Grande High, Community Day School, Corona del Mar High School, El Camino High, Fremont High School, Galileo High School, Gateway High, Golden Valley High, Half Moon Bay High, Hillsdale High, Independence High, La Canada High School, Lancaster High, Leland High School, Los Altos High School, Mills High School, Mission High, Pittsburg Senior High, Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School, San Mateo High, Skyline High, Synergy Quantum Academy, Thurgood Marshall High, Valencia High, Warren High School, Windsor High, and Woodside High. We are always looking for more schools interested in offering computer science classes!
When I retired, I set a few objectives for myself. After working behind a desk for my entire career I wanted to spend more time in the outdoors. I am blessed with two beautiful grandchildren and I wanted to spend more time with them. I also wanted to find some volunteer opportunities that would allow me to give back my community. I live adjacent to a biological preserve, so I set out to become a docent there. High on my list, though, was to find a way to help improve STEM education. When my daughters were growing up I enjoyed tutoring them in math, so my first project towards this goal was to do just that for students in my community. I volunteered as a math tutor at Eastside College Prep, had great fun doing it and, I think, improved the math skills of the student I tutored.
At the same time, I became aware of the TEALS program. Frankly, I never thought about teaching computer programming but I was instantly drawn to the idea. I sent in my application in the early in 2015, not really expecting to be called upon until the start of the 2015-2016 school year. To my surprise and delight, I was asked to start right away, assisting in the Introduction to Programming class at Woodside High. I assisted in that classroom during the winter and spring and could not wait to volunteer again this year. I currently assist in the AP CS class.
In this day and age, computing skills are valuable to anyone, anywhere. For our children’s generation, programming is not just for professional programmers. Doctors will program. Artists will program. Accountants will program. Everyone will program! Having said that, there is no place where programming skills are more valuable than Silicon Valley. The professional programmers in the Valley help design new hardware, write new applications and, with their graphic artist peers design the interactive websites for the most important high tech companies in the world.
I started programming when I was just about the same age as my students at Woodside High. It is very exciting for me to introduce a new generation to the joys of computer science.
Tom Malloy retired in 2013 after almost 40 years in the high tech industry. At the time of his retirement he was senior vice president and chief software architect at Adobe System, leading Adobe’s Advanced Technology Labs. Tom led a team of the best and brightest computer scientists inventing the next generations of Adobe’s software innovations.