Code.org + TEALS = More AP computer science in high schools

May 23, 2016   |   Kevin Wang - TEALS Founder

Recently, Code.org and the TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) program, agreed to launch a joint pilot program to do even more to support computer science education in U.S. high schools. Computer science (CS) is hugely important to the future of the country, yet currently, only one in four high schools in the U.S. offer computer science courses to their students. Microsoft Philanthropies has been seeding the investment in CS education for years, but in order get to a point where computer science classes are offered at all schools, we’ve decided to join up together like Voltron for AP CS Principles. This is why we’re working with Code.org and gathering volunteers from across the technology industry to solve this national crisis together along with many, many others.

TEALS is a grassroots program, supported by Microsoft Philanthropies, that pairs computer science professionals from 200-plus companies across the country with classroom educators to team-teach CS in U.S. high schools. Over two years, the classroom teacher gradually takes over the responsibilities of teaching the course on their own. The team-teaching and volunteer system of TEALS creates a strong ripple effect: it empowers teachers who can multiply the impact by providing computer science education to hundreds more students over the years. I put my background as a software engineer and former high school CS teacher together when I started this program in 2009 in my spare time, and TEALS was embraced and supported by Microsoft Philanthropies in 2011. Since the program started, more than 17,000 high school students have learned from over 1,500 dedicated TEALS volunteers and classroom teachers.

Code.org is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of diverse backgrounds.  Their vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science.  Among other efforts, Code.org offers CS curriculum and professional development courses to teachers so that they will be sufficiently trained and able to teach CS to their students.

Both TEALS and Code.org are committed organizations dedicated to expanding access to computer science.  We are bringing the best of our both worlds – teacher development and our real-world experts who co-teach CS with the classroom teacher – to shorten the teacher ramp-up time and expand our impact more quickly. We hope that math works out to be 1+1=3 in this case. Code.org focuses on teacher training over the summer, TEALS gives the trained teachers hands on help during the school year. In the first year, we plan to pilot an effort to reach schools where TEALS will provide CS experts who will volunteer in the classroom, supporting and providing expertise to the teacher and Code.org will provide curriculum and professional skills training for the teachers.

TEALS and Code.org have always shared a common vision for bringing CS education to schools across the country ever since Hadi Partovi, Code.org founder, showed me the rough cut of the original video on his phone. This new pilot program, one more collaboration in our longstanding relationship, will combine the best of both our program and secret sauce to achieve even more. TEALS’ success is owed to our incredible volunteers who give up their early mornings to volunteer with us. Their CS expertise is a huge asset to the teachers and to the students. We need computer scientists and software engineers to join this movement in giving back and to help make a difference in the lives of teachers and CS students.

TEALS is recruiting volunteers for this program now.  If you are interested in volunteering, visit https://www.tealsk12.org/ for more information.

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