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Microsoft recruiting classroom help for CMSD

Microsoft is recruiting technology professionals to help teach computer science in at least five CMSD high schools next school year.

The professionals will act as volunteer co-teachers, assistants or teacher mentors through the TEALS initiative, which the tech leader started in 2009 to expand access to computer science instruction. TEALS stands for Technology Education and Literacy in Schools.
Microsoft is responding to both economic and social needs. The United States faces a severe shortage of candidates for computer science and computer engineering jobs, and the company wants to make sure that underrepresented groups have an opportunity to enter the field, said Nathaniel Granor, lead program manager for TEALS in the eastern half of the United States and Texas.. 

According to the TEALS website, employers will create 1.4 million computer science-related positions by 2020, but the supply of qualified college graduates will fill only a third of those positions. Ohio has more than 15,000 vacant computer jobs that pay an average of nearly $80,000, well above the $44,750 average for all jobs in the state, according to the website
“There’s a huge demand for software engineers and other forms of computer scientists,” Granor said. “These are great jobs. They are available now.”
Students who take computer science courses need not go into the field to benefit, Granor said. He said they also will learn computational thinking skills that are valuable in a variety of careers and will become "informed citizens" who are knowledgeable about the technology that permeates their daily lives and how it can be affected by government policy.

2014 study commissioned by the Cleveland Foundation examined demand in the region for 41 high-paying positions and ranked computer and information technology No. 1.

With that in mind, the foundation launched the CSforAll initiative last year with CMSD, Cuyahoga County, Cleveland State University and Envision Excellence in STEM Education. The goal is to make computer science instruction available in all of the District’s high schools within three years and eventually expand the subject to lower grades. 
The Cleveland Foundation awarded $185,000 to support the TEALS initiative. The three-year grant will compensate volunteers for travel, pay for classroom materials and help cover a program manager’s salary. 
CMSD offered introductory and Advanced Placement computer science classes in seven of more than 30 high schools during the past year, though one of the schools, SuccessTech Academy, closed. Four or five more high schools could join the group this school year and course offerings could expand, said Tim Sisson, District content manager for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).  
Nigamanth Sridhar, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Cleveland State University, trained 11 computer science teachers for CMSD last summer. On Monday, he will launch another summer course, with District teachers accounting for 18 of the 26 students. 
During the past school year, TEALS had about 700 volunteers working in 225 schools spread across 25 states. Microsoft Philanthropies recently announced plans to add 100 schools nationwide and 1,100 volunteers.
In Cleveland, TEALS volunteers would work with teachers at the John Marshall School of Information Technology, Lincoln-West School of Global Studies, JFK PACT, Cleveland High School for Digital Arts and Cleveland School of Science and Medicine. The professionals will assist District teachers for up to two years, gradually handing over full control.
Sisson said working with the volunteers will serve as professional development, or training, for the classroom teachers and allow students to meet professionals who have found careers in computer fields. 
"They will provide mentorship to the student and the teacher," he said.

TEALS' initial commitment to CMSD is for three years, but Granor said he expects it to continue after that period.
Anyone with a computer programming background may apply to join TEALS. The high schools' classes will be scheduled for first period, before the volunteers’ workday begins.
To volunteer, go here