Changes in GDOE’s current STEM course proposed; inclusion in elementary urged

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In a Guam Education Board meeting on Wednesday, a teacher made a proposal to make changes in the present STEM course.

Elaine Cortez, a Computer Science teacher at Simon Sanchez High School, presented a course description proposal for an Introduction to Computer Science course.

Although he agrees with the course, GEB board member Robert Crisostomo suggested that foundations for this course should start in the elementary schools.

“There’s got to be an alignment. Every time we introduce a new course or an adjustment course offering, we need to look into foundational courses that build on that. I’m trying to make life easy for Ms. Cortez and her colleagues who are going to be teaching this in high school. There’s got to be an alignment and an offering in the elementary of curriculum adjustment so it delves right into this course offering we’re contemplating approving,” Crisostomo said.

Although GDOE superintendent Jon Fernandez was not present in the meeting, he mentioned that though he agrees with Crisostomo in having an earlier foundational set base for those courses, especially in STEM, course offerings are based on the GDOE curriculum, requirements, and demand for the course as well as the teachers’ initiative.

“It sounds like what Mr. Crisostomo might want to do is maybe from the board’s standpoint, set a policy that maybe requires the introduction of this type of course down as far as the elementary level. With that type of policy making and policy decision making comes into play all of the other factors,” Fernandez said.

He added: “A lot of factors go into play when you want to structure something in the way Mr. Crisostomo is recommending. I think it’s a good idea, it’s just that it takes a lot of work to make sure it’s doable.”

Cortez’s Intro to Computer Science course description proposal was approved by the Joint Board Union Curriculum Text Book Committee to move forward to consideration.

The course description Cortez made in the proposal included:

2 Semester Course

a.) 1st Semester: No Prior computer science knowledge or experience is necessary for this course
b.) 2nd semester: A 70% or higher for part A of the course or with teacher recommendation

  • Math Elective Credit as much math is involved and another option for students who have already completed math subjects such as Algebra and Geometry

It will be open to grade Levels: 10 – 12

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