The FINANCIAL -- El Paso students at four area schools will have the opportunity to learn to code this fall, thanks to a new partnership announced on April 30 with Microsoft Corp.
Microsoft’s Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program, which helps high schools build and grow sustainable computer science programs through partnerships between classroom teachers and technology industry volunteers, will launch this fall at Clint ISD Early College Academy, Eastlake High School, Eastwood High School and Loretto Academy.
“Our region is fortunate to have terrific schools, which will be even stronger with the addition of a program that teaches one of the key skills young people will need to be successful in our increasingly technology driven world,” said JJ Childress, El Paso manager of Microsoft’s TechSpark program to foster greater economic opportunity and job creation in six communities in the United States. “We know teachers want to teach computer science, but it can be challenging to find the time and resources to learn the subject. TEALS addresses this by putting trained technology volunteers into classrooms to teach students, while helping teachers prepare to teach the subject on their own.”
Since its formation in 2009, TEALS has paired volunteer computer science experts from over 500 companies with high school teachers in nearly 350 schools, in 29 states and Washington, D.C. Volunteers join classes in person, or through the internet when enough volunteers aren’t available locally.
John Mack, Prudential’s head of Technology in El Paso, is among those who signed up to volunteer through TEALS. “Technology is driving the world economy, and there are so many rewarding careers available to those who have learned to code,” Mack said. “I jumped at the opportunity to work with young people in our community this fall, and I hope that many others join me.”
Other El Paso-based businesses helping promote TEALS among their employees, and supporting their employees in their volunteer work, include El Paso Electric and Steele Consulting. The University of Texas at El Paso is also helping to promote TEALS among students interested in volunteering through the program. As a result of this support from the community, employees from these companies, and university students, have applied to volunteer, according to Microsoft.
Edmond Martinez, principal of Clint ISD Early College Academy, a school that has long embraced the need for strong science, technology, engineering and math programs, sees the teaching of computer science as a duty to the next generation, and encourages local technology experts to step up to volunteer.
“We have a responsibility to create pathways for our students from high school, through college, and to professional positions,” Martinez said. “Technical knowledge and skills prepare our students for the jobs of today and tomorrow, to solve serious problems, and create new opportunities for humanity. It’s my hope that many of those in our community who have technology training will sign up to volunteer with TEALS this fall. What could be more rewarding than passing on your skills to the next generation of innovators?”
Anyone with a computer science degree or equivalent industry experience, who wants to give back to the community by teaching high school computer science, can apply. Volunteers receive training over the summer, and other support throughout the process.