Schools FAQ

General information Requirement details How can we join?

General information


TEALS is a proven program that helps high schools build and grow sustainable computer science (CS) programs by pairing experienced and trained software engineer professionals with classroom teachers. Teachers from various content backgrounds work in partnership with TEALS volunteers and learn the CS curriculum by team-teaching in their own classrooms.

1. Attend a live school info session.

2. Review the partnership documents.

  • TEALS Program Booklet (PDF): This guide provides an overview of the TEALS model, volunteer support options, and various curricula options that TEALS supports to help high schools create a CS pathway, from Introduction to CS to AP CS Principles to AP CS A to Advanced Topics and Projects.
  • Implementation Guide: Everything you need to know to successfully implement a TEALS partnership at your school.

3. Apply for a TEALS partnership using the online application. 

  • Available from November to February.

4. The school interview. 

  • TEALS selects partner schools based largely on the information gathered during the in-person interview between the TEALS Regional Manager and the school's key program stakeholders. A TEALS Regional Manager will contact you to schedule your interview once your application is complete. Attendance is required by the TEALS Partnership Coordinator, Classroom Teacher, school principal, and a district contact (if applicable). If an in-person interview is not possible, the interview may also be conducted via phone or Microsoft Teams.

5. Sign the Partnership Agreement. 

  • After your school is accepted, you will need to electronically sign the TEALS Partner School Agreement. This document will need to be signed by the Partnership Coordinator, Teacher, principal, and a district contact (if applicable).

TEALS partners with schools across the US and in British Colombia, Canada. Visit the TEALS partnerships map for a listing of schools in your region. If you don't see TEALS in your region, we encourage you to apply during our school application cycle from November through February, as we are constantly expanding.

The TEALS Program created a guide for instructor-led remote learning programs based on 8 years of TEALS remote instruction. You can access it here.

TEALS works with all kinds of schools: urban, suburban, and rural; high-performing and high-need; and public, charter, religious, and independent.

No. TEALS is an industry-wide initiative through which hundreds of volunteers, representing hundreds of companies, dedicate their time and passion to help bring computer science to high schools. Our volunteers come from companies across the tech, retail, and finance industries and other beyond.

Finding TEALS volunteers is a team effort between TEALS and the school. TEALS does engage in volunteer recruitment efforts; however, volunteers who are already part of the school community (e.g. their children attend the school) tend to comprise some of our most committed volunteers. Therefore, we require schools to assist us in identifying potential local volunteers.

Yes. We partner with teachers who can teach CS on their own but may benefit from having a teacher's assistant in the classroom to provide industry-specific knowledge, be a role model, help support more students, and serve as a technical backstop when necessary. In placing volunteers, we prioritize schools who do not currently have computer science but do wish to offer it.

Read more about our models of support in the Implementation Guide.

TEALS supports high schools in creating a CS pathway with four course options:

  1. Introduction to Computer Science: Offered as both a semester option using a visual block-based programming language and as a full-year course that transitions to the Python programming language.
  2. AP Computer Science A: Equivalent to a first-semester, college-level course in computer science using the industry-standard Java programming language.
  3. AP Computer Science Principles: A college-level survey course built around the fundamentals of computational thinking including problem solving, working with data, understanding the internet, programming, and more. The curriculum for these classes is provided by our partner organizations.

Read the TEALS Program Booklet (PDF) to learn more about the differences between our courses.

TEALS partners with the following CS Principles programs: UTeach; University of California, Berkeley's Beauty and Joy of Computing; Project Lead the Way; and MobileCSP.

The Intro to CS course serves as a good "on-ramp" to AP CS A and provides a solid computer science foundation by teaching students the same basic principles of computer science as AP CS A, but with much less depth. However, Intro to CS is NOT a prerequisite for AP CS A. The AP CS A class is a college-level course that requires a bigger time commitment for the students and has a heavier programming load using Java.

Unfortunately, we do not currently offer customized courses. To keep the program streamlined and scalable, we only offer the courses outlined in the program guide. The goal of TEALS is to help schools build up a CS program through a semester-long or year-long course in conjunction with the classroom teacher. This model is intended to be a multi-year commitment from the district, the school, and the teacher.

Our Intro to CS and AP CS A courses are UC A-G certified. Schools participating in the AP CS Principle courses will need to consult with the AP CS Principles partners regarding their courses.

Please see our Implementation Guide for more details.

TEALS currently only works with high schools. We absolutely believe middle and elementary schools should teach computer science, but we're focused on helping to build teacher capacity at the high-school level, where the curricula require more ramp-up time for the classroom teachers.

If your school is interested in starting a middle school program, Microsoft Philanthropies partners with organizations that provide support for elementary and middle schools. 

Visit the Digital Skills website to learn more.

Additional questions?