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RISD awarded grant for computer science development

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The Roswell Independent School District will consider accepting a grant designed to expand computer science education in the elementary and middle school levels when it meets next week.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Administrative and Educational Services Complex, 300 N. Kentucky Ave. The board voted in November to change the meeting from its usual Tuesday date.

Only board members and a small number of support staff will be in attendance due to the state’s health order. The meeting will be livestreamed on the district’s YouTube channel.

Anyone wishing to speak during the meeting will need to contact the Superintendent’s Office at 575-627-2511 by 4 p.m. Monday. Those wishing to speak will receive a phone call during the meeting and will be allowed three minutes to speak.

The board will consider accepting a $25,000 grant that will provide professional development for elementary and middle school teachers in computer science, according to material provided by Jennifer Cole, assistant superintendent for curriculum.

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New Mexico adopted new standards for computer science in 2018 and created special funding for professional development for teachers starting with the fiscal 2020 budget. If the board votes to accept, this will be RISD’s first year implementing the new standards, Cole said.

The grant will provide funding for 25 elementary teachers and four middle school teachers to complete courses and training through Code.org, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to expand computer science offerings in schools.

The teachers will form a team that will meet with administrators to plan and implement computer science into the curriculum in the elementary and middle schools. The new computer science curriculum could be implemented as soon as the 2021-22 school year.

Other action items on the agenda include several policies related to tobacco use by students and staff and student wellness.

The board will also give recognition to several teachers for outstanding achievement: Melissa Degroot, Valley View Elementary School; Lori Dekay, Missouri Avenue Elementary School; Diane Castanon, El Capitan Elementary School; Rose Gallegos, El Capitan Elementary School; and Angel Munson, Berrendo Middle School.

Recognition will also be given to Goddard High School students Jake Urias and Samantha Thorsted for their selection to All State Choir. They will participate in a virtual concert workshop in January.

The board will also recognize district mentor leads Sharree White, Melanie Estrada, Leticia Benitez, Laura Ramirez, Erica Rivera, Christy Surgett and Jori Flom.

The board will also hear updates on the superintendent search as well as plans for distance learning and athletics in the second semester.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.