Expand computer science access in your district with support from Microsoft

Computer Science Education Week provides an opportunity to recognize school leaders on the front lines of expanding access to computer science education and to identify where computer science courses are needed in every district.

Limited access to digital skills threatens to widen the income gap between those who have the skills to succeed in some of the most in-demand 21st-century careers and those who do not. To reduce this gap, all young people deserve the opportunity to learn computer science, especially those least likely to have access.

According to the November 2021 report, “2021 State of Computer Science Education: Accelerating Action Through Advocacy,” only 51 percent of high schools in the U.S. offer computer science courses. California lags behind even that average, with just 42 percent of high schools offering a computer science course, according to the September 2021 report, “The California Computer Science Access Report.”

With the goal of increasing access to computer science for all students, Microsoft launched its Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) Program, which has connected more than 10,000 California students over 10 years to high-quality computer science education.

Microsoft is opening applications for the next class of participating school districts and campuses for the 2022–23 school year in the Bay Area, Sacramento, Central Valley and Los Angeles regions. Participating schools receive significant curriculum support from Microsoft and its partners to build equitable, inclusive computer science programs in California high schools.

“It is challenging to start a new computer science class. You know teachers are very busy and having a partnership with TEALS, it made it a much smoother transition,” said Nancy Reid, a computer science teacher in San Jose.

The TEALS team encourages board members and other education leaders to identify potential schools in their districts and communities to apply for this program. A regional case study video from a school in San Jose that graduated from the TEALS Program can be found here.

TEALS supports teachers who want to learn and teach computer science by pairing them with a team of volunteers. These volunteers attend class virtually or in person every week and help students troubleshoot and debug their code during lab time. TEALS volunteers also helps teachers outside the class by assisting with lesson preparation and grading.

When the teacher needs additional support, those volunteers can also present lessons, provide coding demonstrations, introduce projects and conduct review for exams. The teacher is responsible for classroom management, leading the teaching team and learning how to teach computer science. As teachers master different skills, they transition to more time teaching and less with project management..

CSBA and Microsoft recognize the contributions of the many students, educators and administrators dedicated to building a more equitable 21st-century economy this Computer Science Education Week.

For more information, contact Joey Knapp at joey@tealsk12.org or visit the TEALS website at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/teals/schools.