Schools FAQ

Where is TEALS?

TEALS currently serves 500 schools across 27 states, DC, and British Colombia, Canada. Click here to see a map and listing of our 2018-19 partner schools. If you don’t see TEALS in your region, we encourage you to apply during our school application cycle in late fall, as we are constantly expanding.

What kind of schools does TEALS work with?

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

Do all volunteers come from Microsoft?

No. TEALS is an industry-wide initiative through which hundreds of volunteers, representing over 500 different companies, have dedicated their time and passion to help bring computer science to high schools. Our software engineering volunteers come from companies across the tech, retail, finance, and other industries.

How do you get the volunteers? Do you do it, or do we have to look for them?

Finding successful volunteers is a team effort between TEALS and the school. TEALS does engage in formal recruitment at local tech companies in the areas that we serve. However, volunteers who are already part of the school community (their children attend the school, for example) tend to comprise some of our most committed volunteers. Therefore, it’s required for schools to assist TEALS in locating potential local volunteers.

We already have CS, can we still partner with you? Can a school with a fairly-well-qualified teacher jump right to the Lab Support model?

Yes. We partner with teachers who can teach CS on their own but benefit from having a TA 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 a computer science but do wish to offer it. Read more about our models of support in the Implementation Guide.

What curricula does TEALS offer?

TEALS supports high schools in creating a CS pathway with 4 options:

  1. Introduction to CS – is offered as both a semester option using a visual block-based programming language and as a full year course that then transitions to the Python programming language.
  2. AP CS A – is equivalent to a first-semester, college-level course in computer science using the industry-standard Java programming language.
  3. AP CS Principles – is 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 are provided by our partner organizations.
  4. Advanced Topics and Projects – for select established TEALS schools, TEALS volunteers provide mentoring and technical guidance for self-directed advanced students.

Please see our TEALS School Booklet to learn more about the differences between AP CS A and AP CS Principles.

Who are the AP Computer Science Principles partner organizations?

TEALS has partnerships with the following CS Principles programs:, National Math and Science Initiative, University of California, Berkeley’s Beauty and Joy of Computing, Project Lead the Way, and MobileCSP.

Does it make sense for a student to take Intro CS then AP CS A?

The Intro CS course serves as a good “on-ramp” to AP CS A and provides a solid CS foundation by teaching students the same basic principles of CS as AP CS A, but with much less depth. However, Intro 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.

Would you alter your program offerings to help us put on a different CS course, different time of day, different length of the year?

Not at this time. 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 yearlong course working in conjunction with the classroom teacher.  Our model is intended to be a multi-year commitment from the district, the school and the teacher.

Are your courses UC A-G certified? (California)

Our Intro to CS and AP CS A courses are UC A-G certified. One will need to consult with the AP CS Principles partners regarding their courses. Please see our Implementation Guide.

Do you work with elementary or middle schools?

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

If your school is interested in starting a middle school program, please check out these partners that offer teacher professional development and curriculum:


Is there a program fee for TEALS? What are possible sources of funding?

TEALS does not currently charge a program fee. However, there will be costs associated with running a TEALS class that will vary depending on your school’s requirements. These costs are fully detailed in the Implementation Guide. For 2018-19 and prior school years, there are stipend and expense reimbursement costs associated with volunteers.

For 2019-20 school year, TEALS no longer requires a stipend for volunteers. Schools are still expected to reimburse volunteers for certain costs they incur to participate in the program, such as mileage, background checks, and fingerprinting.

In all cases, schools are required to provide the necessary textbooks and technology required to run the course.

TEALS and Microsoft do not provide subsidies for the TEALS program. However, many of our partner schools have had success finding an alternate source of funding, from professional development funds, the PTA, school foundation or a grant, for instance. TEALS is essentially an extended professional development program for the classroom teacher that participates.

Does TEALS or Microsoft provide computers, books or other classroom materials?

No. The school is responsible for classroom materials and equipment.

Our school is already partnered with TEALS in 2018-19, do we need to do anything to continue that partnership?

Yes. All schools that wish to participate in 2019-20, including returning partners, must complete the online application form when school application registration happens in November.


How are TEALS partner schools selected?

Any high school interested in building a sustainable computer science program can apply. We make final selections based on school and community commitment and the availability of a volunteer pool, including remote volunteers for rural areas.

What are the important dates to apply for the 2019-20 school year partnership?

Please see the schools info page.

Can I sign up right now?

Yes! For more information and to apply please visit the schools info page.