Giving Compass' Take:

• TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) is a free program run by Microsoft Philanthropies that trains employees from larger tech companies to teach computer science courses in rural schools. 

• How can donors support corporate philanthropy capacity to sustain partnerships with schools long-term?

• Read about how computer science courses can change student learning paths. 

Gonzalo Birrueta didn’t just like playing video games as a kid; he liked thinking about how they were made. In middle school, he’d experiment with coding, watching YouTube videos for help. But it was easy to lose motivation — he didn’t have many people he could talk to about coding in Quincy, a rural town of 7,000 perched above the Columbia River in Central Washington state.

Computer science offerings have grown over the past 10 years, but rigorous courses can be hard to come by, especially in rural areas. While 58 percent of rural schools report teaching some type of computer science class, less than half of those actually teach coding, and only 8 percent offer an Advanced Placement option.

But when Birrueta arrived at Quincy High School, he had several computer science classes waiting for him. Quincy had just partnered with TEALS, a free program run by Microsoft Philanthropies that trains tech industry employees to teach computer science lessons in partnership with classroom teachers.

The TEALS model addresses one of the largest barriers school leaders cite to being able to teach computer science: finding experienced teachers. After TEALS volunteers co-teach with classroom educators over the course of several years, those teachers feel confident enough to lead computer science classes on their own.

Now 10 years old, TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) reached nearly 500 schools this academic year across 27 states, D.C., and British Columbia, or 15,500 students. Its more than 1,400 volunteer teachers hail from hundreds of tech companies, including Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Amazon. Several volunteers partner with one school where they alternate teaching each day for an hour in the morning before heading to work.

Read the full article about computer science teachers in rural schools by Kate Stringer at The 74.