TEALS’s TEALS is a profiled program in the Plugging In Report.
Who is served: High school teachers of any subject (and students, to a lesser extent)
TEALS works with both high-performing and high-need schools, public/charter/independent schools
Number of participants: Approximately 40 classrooms served in 2018–19
Location: In school; multiple sites in the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens.
Frequency/Duration: Varies from one-semester/full-year courses to lab sessions and customized programs to boost AP scores.
Eligibility Criteria: TEALS will work with teachers with at least 2 years of classroom teaching experience. Partner schools are selected largely based on an in-person interview with a TEALS Regional Manager.
Curriculum: The organization provides classroom support for the following curricula in NYC in 2018–19: Intro to CS course that TEALS designed, AP CS A course, AP CS Principles course (versions from both code.org and UC Berkeley). The one-semester Intro course introduces computational thinking through the Snap! visual programming language; an extended version transitions to Python in the second semester. AP Computer Science A is equivalent to a first-semester, college-level course for CS majors, introducing Java as well as fundamental computer science topics such as problem solving.
Outcomes: TEALS does teacher pre/post surveys, an anonymous student pre/post survey, tracks the number of students in each TEALS class, and aggregates AP Score data. The student survey includes awareness and attitudes towards computer science as a discipline and career; their assessment of the TEALS support for their class; and future plans for continuing with computer science. The teacher surveys are focused on teacher comfort with the CS content as well as their experience in the TEALS program.
Partnerships: Microsoft Philanthropies, DOE (TEALS has been serving NYC DOE schools since the 2013-2014 school year, and formally partnered with the CS4All program since the 2018-19 school year), Schools
Sources of funding: Mixed
What makes the program stand out? The organization’’s reliance on industry volunteers and its tiered levels of support for teachers are unique. The Co-Teaching model in particular can bring non-CS teachers up to speed in a way that one-off professional development programs may not. “Rather than coming to a workshop for a week, the actual learning is getting to work hand-in-hand with these content experts day in and day out in your own classroom,” said Nathaniel Granor, Lead Program Manager, TEALS East Region at the time of this reporting. Additionally, through a new partnership with the DOE, teachers who will be implementing TEALS’s intro course in the fall will be required to take a three-day, synchronized online professional development workshop this summer.
What do participants need to succeed? CS4All provides funds to pay teachers for the additional time they spend doing TEALS (such as attending professional development) as well as some expenses related to onboarding volunteers into the schools. Teachers need the “commitment and willingness” to implement the model,” said Granor. While many science and math teachers sign on, business, social studies, and art instructors have also participated.
What does the organization need? While TEALS aims to reflect the diversity of New York City in the schools it partners with, that doesn’t necessarily include the lowest-performing schools, which probably “don’t have the capacity to take on our partnership,” said Granor. The time it takes to apply for the program, for example, and having teachers who can commit to it are potential roadblocks to participation. Achieving gender parity among participating students has also proved elusive.