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Local Tech Professionals Connect with Students in the Classroom

Kim Anderson, the Computer Tech and Programming instructor at Wenatchee Valley Technical Skills Center, will spend the next two years training, setting up, and piloting the first Computer Science TEALS course in Wenatchee School District.

TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) is a program supported by Microsoft Philanthropies that helps high schools throughout the United States build sustainable computer science programs. The program pairs trained computer science professionals with classroom teachers to “team-teach” computer science. Not only is Anderson teaching the first TEALS program in the school district, but his class is the only one in Central Washington with local, in-person mentors. Anderson, along with his industry professionals, are teaching the TEALS Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science course.


The Apple STEM Network played an integral behind-the-scenes role in bringing this opportunity to fruition through connecting Anderson with local professionals, he said. “The Apple STEM Network has been the driving educational force in our community by highlighting, promoting, and streamlining the pathways of our greater educational systems to match the current and growing economic direction of our Valley,” Anderson added. So, what’s the program look like in Anderson’s classroom? Every morning, students connect with two volunteer industry professionals online – both Programming Engineers with Microsoft and Amazon in Seattle. After they teach the interactive lesson lecture each student receives one-on-one time with the engineers and additional support from Anderson. Anderson’s afternoon class builds on what happened in the morning. The students watch the lesson taught in the morning, and then work with two local volunteers in-person: Tom Arnold with PetHub and Dan Kjobech with Deepwater Technologies.


“This is the best-case scenario for teaching computer science, as the students get information on what’s happening locally and how they can take their skills to the next level and eventually fill jobs locally,” - Kim Anderson, Computer Tech and Programming Instructor at Wenatchee Valley Technical Skills Center

Arnold and Kjobech are programming engineers who both own technology companies in Wenatchee. It’s a win-win situation for the students and the growing tech business community in Central Washington, Anderson said. “This is the best-case scenario for teaching computer science, as the students get information on what’s happening locally and how they can take their skills to the next level and eventually fill jobs locally,” Anderson added. Before starting this process, Anderson realized that the AP programming class was a big need for local students and employers. He saw that the Technical Skills Center was the perfection solution to host the program since it serves 9 school districts in North Central Washington. In his two classes, Anderson has students from Wenatchee, Eastmont, WestSide, and Cascade High Schools, as well as several home-schooled students. “This is an excellent and unique opportunity for students that can easily fit into their current high school requirements and set them on a fast-tract in the Computer Science field,” Anderson said. “The beauty is that we have numerous courses articulated with Wenatchee Valley College, and through these programs a student can start at WVC with up to 15 college credits, thus giving them a free quarter of college.”

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