MILWAUKEE — Dozens of
Wisconsin schools are participating in a program created by tech
giant Microsoft's philanthropic arm to address a shortage of
computer science professionals across the country.
Hortonville High School recently wrapped up its second year using
the Technology Education and Literacy in Schools program, the
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The program pairs educators
with technology professionals to teach computer science in schools
that might not have been able to offer the subject.
The partnership simultaneously trains teachers in the subject so
they can take over instruction in two years.
Scott Brielmaier, who has taught at Hortonville for 27 years, has
been working with three volunteer tech professionals to teach
computer science. He approached the subject with a background in
older programming languages, such as BASIC and Pascal. But he didn't
know much about Java, which was the focus of the class.
Brielmaier said the volunteers did most of the teaching last year.
But this year, Brielmaier said he has led the teaching about 80% of
Brielmaier will take over the class next year.
"I think I'll feel pretty comfortable," he said. "They've given me
The number of Wisconsin teachers with backgrounds or proficiencies
in computer science is relatively low, meaning that some students
weren't getting exposed to the subject.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction found that 17
teachers completed a state preparation program in computer science
over the past five years. Fifty received regular licenses and 46
received emergency licenses or permits to teach computer science.
Erin Draheim was once a student of Brielmaier's, but she has spent
the last 20 years working in software development. Now a software
engineer with Skyline Technologies, Draheim was one of the
volunteers assisting Brielmaier's class.
Draheim said she hopes to encourage more girls to give computer
science a try.
Hortonville freshman Grace Vanden Heuvel said Draheim's presence in
her class has helped her envision a career in technology.
"Having somebody who relates to you is really important because it
gives you a sense of confidence in yourself," she said.