DHS CTE MarkS Muti-year TEALS Partnership

DeSoto ISD Career and Technical Education Program Celebrates Multi-Year Microsoft TEALS Partnership
Posted on 04/12/2024
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The DeSoto Independent School District is proud to celebrate its three-year partnership with Microsoft Philanthropies as a TEALS Partner School which offers DeSoto High School staff and students in the Career and Technical Education Information Technology Program consistent access to a cadre of industry experts for professional-grade instruction, coaching, and training for certification from Microsoft-approved professionals.


“Students are learning to solve problems using logic by way of computer science. The students also study algorithms and other problem-solving models and case studies,” explained DeSoto High School CTE business and Technology Educator Branton Robinson regarding the skills his students are gaining throughout the IT Programming and Software Development pathway course.


“Many of my students put their learning to the test by working with computer engineers, scientists, and business professionals to solve problems with pseudocode, using both block and line coding,” said Robinson. “The main [computer science] language is Python 3, with some HTML/CSS and the advanced students are taking their Python certification tests, and all are taking the related AP exam.” 


In its third year, the program is steadily growing and Robinson is seeing the long-term valuable impact and the intense level of career awareness the course brings to scholars.


“We have 18 students this year and all have benefited because it changes how they process information, " he said. ”Students learn, without a doubt, if this is the career path for them, based on the level of work and imagination that it takes to complete a project.”


Valerae Washington Hughes, the regional manager for the Microsoft TEALS Philanthropies Programs was onsite to formally mark the anniversary of this district partnership and presented the official banner to the CTE program leader Melinda Pugh and the computer science class. 


She briefly explained the mission, impact, and long-term focus of this high school career awareness program. 


“The purpose of the TEALS is to bring students [in underserved communities] into computer science programs. Computer science is a huge umbrella and we want to expose students to these opportunities.  We want to go into schools because we cannot always bring the students to us,” said Hughes. “So placing industry professionals in the classroom, you always have a mentor and someone with whom you can contact to learn how to do things the right way.”


Hughes also elaborated on the extreme life changes that can occur if students decide to embrace the career opportunities. 


“The success of this [DeSoto High School] program is that junior and senior students in Mr. Branton’s class have been able to obtain internships and can even keep in touch with their mentors to help them understand how to connect with careers in this field,” she shared. “This is a program that can bring generational increases for students that can break poverty lines. This is the whole goal.”


The TEALS partnership brings industry volunteers once a week for the entire school year and to help students build their programming skills like Java, keep them abreast of what is going on in the industry and update the industry learning.


The Microsoft TEALS Program began in 2009 by a former high school computer science (CS) teacher and software engineer. TEALS is a Microsoft Philanthropies program that builds sustainable computer science programs in high schools. The program focuses ins in school partnerships on serving students who may be normally excluded from learning Computer Science because of the barriers of race, gender, or geography.


Specifically, the TEALS program supports schools in the following areas:

  • Supports classroom teachers as they learn to teach computer science independently by pairing them with industry volunteers.


  • Offers curriculum and support for students of all demographics and backgrounds in computational thinking, problem solving, programming, and computer science concepts that apply to any field.


  • Helps schools build and grow sustainable CS programs through partnerships between teachers and volunteers.


The DeSoto High School TEALS Program aligns with the DeSoto ISD board goal that focuses on College and Career Military Readiness with the industry standard training and the career-focused certifications that this partnership supports. It also aligns with the Academic component of the District’s Triple-A Experience and its mission to ensure that all students, without exception, achieve their highest levels.


Learn more about the programs and students academic offerings by visiting www. DeSotoISD.org