Mr. Pujara Pushes the Envelope on Math & Computer Science Education

Mr. Pujara goes over homework in his first period Algebra II w/ Trig class. “CS offers a lot of creativity in how you solve problems. That comes across in math as well!”, he said.

Mr. Pujara knew exactly what he wanted to do early on in his college career. Before being hired as a math teacher, he double majored in Computer Science and Math Education at Purdue University.

“A couple of years [into getting my Computer Science degree], I discovered that Math Education is also something I really wanted to do. You can’t major in CS Education—that’s not a thing—but Math Education was the closest thing, so I double majored in that.”

Mr. Pujara currently teaches Math 7, Math 10, and Algebra II with Trig. But he has a much larger goal for what he wants to do at West Side. This year, he is working with the school administration to introduce a more robust Computer Science curriculum. “Ultimately, my goal is to create a more advanced CS program at West Side so that when West Side grads go to college, they have many years of experience under their belt and are already ahead of everyone else.”

Among his tentative plans for introducing a Computer Science curriculum are teaching an introductory course and a higher-level course, and reintroducing AP Computer Science A, which was replaced with AP Computer Science Principles this year.

Despite his grand vision, Mr. Pujara is focused on using both computer science and math to be a fantastic math teacher this year. 

“Even when you’re multiplying 2 numbers together, there isn’t just one way to do it. [On the other hand,] the number sense that math offers helps you create more mathematically efficient programs,” he said.

Mr. Pujara is the first teacher since Mr. Watson (who retired in 2015) to make changes to the computer science curriculum.

“There are so many students who think school is all about memorizing things, writing things down that they’ve heard in class. There’s not a whole lot of creating. CS is all creating: you learn the concepts, then you have to create a program. There are some rules that you have to follow, but at the end of the day, there are a million ways to make one thing. That’s the best part about Computer Science.”

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