Top Texas Organizations Team with Industry to Boost CS Education

Networking opportunities, Computer Science, Tech App TEKS lessons soar at TCEA’s Austin conference

    Texas Computer Education Association attendees visiting the WeTeach_CS booth learned about machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. Credit: Photos by Damian Hopkins, TACC

    The Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) is a member-based organization devoted to advancing technology in education. At this year’s TCEA Conference in early February in Austin, the WeTeach_CS team teamed up with and Microsoft TEALS to present professional development and networking opportunities to computer science (CS) teachers from across the country.

    “Conferences like TCEA are important to CS education because they provide opportunities for teachers to learn best practices and collaborate with like-minded peers,” said Amy Carrell, WeTeach_CS (WTCS) program director and Expanding Pathways in Computing (EPIC) director of outreach. “The world is becoming increasingly digital, and WeTeach_CS wants to broaden participation in computing because CS knowledge is important in many career fields.” EPIC serves as the backbone organization for the WeTeach_CS network.

    Robert Carmichael (foreground) of Microsoft TEALS and's Tonya Davis joined the WeTeach_CS team in the booth to discuss partnership opportunities with inquiring teachers.

    Educators came together to connect, learn, and cultivate their craft. Through top-level speakers and an exhibit hall full of first-rate vendors like WeTeach_CS, the conference empowered educators to explore their professional curiosity and discover new methods for bringing CS education to their students.

    A trio of EPIC team members led a packed session on the new Technology Applications (Tech Apps) TEKS standards for the 2024-2025 school year.

    “I loved meeting these educators, seeing their passion for teaching, and learning new ways to engage the students of today,” said Sheryl Roehl, EPIC partnership coordinator. The team of Roehl, Professional Development Coordinator Judy Lau, and CS Education Specialist Molly Stacey led a 90-minute session on realistically integrating the new TEKS with core curricula. Attendees were given practical lessons on computational thinking, data literacy, digital citizenship, and more.

    Conference attendees visiting the WeTeach_CS booth learned about machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity, which are three key fields to be featured at the 2024 WeTeach_CS Summit. The WTCS booth team was joined by great partners from and Microsoft TEALS.

    “Texas has seen several advances in CS standards, curriculum availability, and funding for professional development opportunities,” said District & School Growth Manager Tonya Davis. “WeTeach_CS is a great partner in the broadening participation in computing effort.” is an education innovation nonprofit dedicated to the vision that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science as part of their core K-12 education.

    Lamesa ISD Instructional Technology Coordinator Katrina Sellers credits the WeTeach_CS program with helping to introduce her students to new CS learning opportunities.

    Microsoft TEALS Program Regional Manager Robert Carmichael said, “Creating more certified CS teachers will give more students the opportunity to take CS courses.” The TEALS (Technology Education and Learning Support) program builds sustainable computer science programs in high schools by pairing teachers with industry volunteers and effective curricula, at no cost to teachers. As of February 2024, the WeTeach_CS team has provided support to certify 626 computer science teachers. The program will launch a statewide initiative this spring to substantially increase the number of CS-certified teachers in Texas.

    “WeTeach_CS helped me introduce students who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience computer science to that avenue of learning and let them see that those are possibilities for them,” said Katrina Sellers, Lamesa ISD instructional technology coordinator.

    Carrell says broadening participation in computing will create avenues for students underrepresented in STEM classes.

    “Girls, rural students, and minorities have been historically excluded from CS education,” she said. “Teachers and administrators should encourage every student to consider computer science courses, not just those who self-select into the field.”

    “Having great partners like and TEALS is important. Texas is a big state, and it takes a community to move the mission forward of making CS education available in every high school.”