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Mount Vernon High School announces partnership with Microsoft TEALS Program

Mount Vernon High School announces partnership with Microsoft TEALS Program

Microsoft Philanthropies is bringing its Technology Education and Learning Support (TEALS) Program to Mount Vernon High School for the 2023-24 school year. 

The program was first introduced to Mount Vernon by Marvin Church and Dr. Diana Williams, Co-Founders of the nonprofit Environmental Leaders of Color (ELOC). Bruce Jackson, Managing Director for Strategic Partnerships out of the office of the president of Microsoft, is also a board member of ELOC. His connection with both organizations and Mount Vernon helped bring the program to the Mount Vernon City School District. 

“In a recent student town hall meeting, students asked for more diverse pathways because they do not want to transfer to another building to pursue their interests,” said Dr. Pauline Pearce, Principal of MVHS. “As a traditional high school, we want to be able to offer a diverse curriculum so that our scholars can be exposed to a variety of content. This partnership is very timely in that students can see that we are making an effort to provide what they need.” 

Microsoft Philanthropies focuses on Title I schools with high levels of diversity. The goal is to provide a computer science pathway at high schools, so students of all backgrounds have the same access as their peers. 

"Environmental Leaders of Color encourages a strong relationship between the Mount Vernon School District and Microsoft to introduce students to the most up-to-date computer science education from a software giant," said Dr. Williams. “This collaboration with Microsoft is important because we have to partner with companies who are trendsetters in the workplace. We have to make a direct connection.” 

The TEALS Program will be introduced at low cost to the school district with its Introduction to Computer Science course at MVHS in the first year. The course will be available for 25 students. 

“The goal is to provide a computer science pathway at high school, so students of all backgrounds can have the same access as their peers,” said Acting Superintendent Dr. K. Veronica Smith. “That’s major here at Mount Vernon High School, and like Dr. Pearce I am delighted that we are being afforded this opportunity.” 

Progress checks will be made throughout the year to guide further implementation of computer science courses in the following years, including AP Computer Science Principles.  

Black and Latino students who take an AP computer science course in high school are seven times more likely to major in computer science, and women are 10 times more likely. These courses will open new opportunities for Mount Vernon students and give them competitive job skills that can translate to well-paying computer science jobs.  

“This computer science pathway will equip students with the problem-solving skills that are applicable to any field,” said Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Jamal Doggett. “I look forward to the partnership and the progress ahead for the Mount Vernon City School District and the New Mount Vernon High School.” 

The program is run by industry and collegiate volunteers, over 1,500 of whom volunteer each year. Volunteers will work with students and teachers to help develop a full self-sustaining computer science curriculum. Teachers will be trained to teach the courses by volunteers and will provide resources, training, and support to students from application to graduation. 

“We’re very excited to introduce the world of programming to our Mount Vernon High School students,” said Jaechul Yang, Chemistry Teacher at MVHS who will teach the computer science courses. “Although we’ve had some experience, this is going to be brand new where they’ll be able to have hands-on experience through the mentors and the partnership with Microsoft.” 

Two to four volunteer teachers will take on a co-teaching role in at least the first two years of the program. The volunteers will be responsible for approximately 90% of the instruction. They will support students and assist teachers in their computer science learning. 

“When I think of TEALS, I think TEALS is designed to empower students to achieve more and reach their potential,” said Bruce Jackson, Managing Director for Strategic Partnerships out of the office of the president at Microsoft and Board Member of Environmental Leaders of Color. “It’s basically there to provide an opportunity to help bridge the technology gap and also deal with economic wealth because technology is going to be an incredible tool in the future.” 

Once the teachers are sufficiently trained, one to two volunteers will provide lab support. This means that MVHS teachers will be responsible for 80% of lessons, with volunteers only leading some classes and assisting with labs and assignment grading. Once the TEALS Program is fully implemented, MVHS teachers will teach computer science classes on their own.  

Raul Nedd, Regional Manager for the TEALS Program, will oversee the program's implementation at MVHS. He will then assess the program’s progress and determine what resources are needed. Bruce Jackson will also provide oversight of the program and partnership. 

Parents listening to teacher

Families throughout the Mount Vernon School District came out to support their children and get informed about their education at back-to-school-night. Nelson Mandela/Dr. Hosea Zollicoffer School, Mount Vernon STEAM Academy, Rebecca Turner Academy, Edward Williams School, Denzel Washington School of the Arts and Mount Vernon High School held their back-to-school nights on Thursday, September 29, 2023.  

Crowd of Parents and students

Parents were treated to a catered meal as they visited Mount Vernon Honor Academy to hear about the advanced program that their children were admitted to. New Academies of Talent, Leadership and Scholars (ATLAS) students were welcomed to the program and teachers explained what it entailed at their welcome night on Thursday, September 28, 2023.  

3 students with new sneakers and Jude

Four deserving students left school with new pairs of sneakers thanks to a donation from Jude Sainjour, cofounder of Buttafly, a clothing shop in Mount Vernon. Mr. Sainjour traveled to Grimes School to personally give the students their new shoes on Friday, September 22, 2023.

Dad and daughter

Fathers gathered around the entrance of their child's school and children beamed with happiness as their dads got a chance to visit their school. Lincoln School, Mount Vernon Leadership Academy, Hamilton School, Cecil H. Parker School and Graham School held Dads Bring Your Child to School Day on Thursday, September 21, 2023.  

Brian Simmons

The Mount Vernon City School District Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department has announced that it will be offering emergency medical technician (EMT) training at Mount Vernon High School. The courses will be available for around 20 12th-grade students at MVHS and Rebecca Turner Academy (RTA).