PED heralds new options for computer science students

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By Tris DeRoma

New Mexico Public Education Department Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski couldn’t have picked a better place to make an important announcement Tuesday.

Ruszkowski made an appearance at the annual Supercomputing Challenge Awards ceremony at the Church of Christ in Los Alamos, announcing that a series of computer science courses can now count toward high school graduation credits. 

“Historically, when we talk about math credits, and science credits, that you have to earn, courses focused on things like computer science were not allowed to count toward that high school graduation requirement,” Ruszkowski said. “What I’m announcing today is that ends today.” 

When the applause and cheers coming from middle and high school students that came from all over the region faded, he explained further what that exactly meant.

“Scientific Technologies, mathematical modeling, fractal math AP (Advanced Placement) Computer Science and AP Computer Science Principles may be utilized in some cases for math credit, in some cases for science credit, in some cases for either or,” Ruszkowski said.

Ruszkowski also said they have to first pass PARCC Geometry or Algebra II and meet the Algebra II requirement before they can use one of the computer science courses to earn a mathematics graduation credit. Students that score well on their science assessments can also use one of the required computer science courses for a science graduation credit. 

“If you’re in middle school and you’re as passionate enough about math and science and computer science to be here today, this is going to be you,” Ruzkowski said.