Milwaukee, WI - Project Lead the Way (PLTW) of Wisconsin has recognized Germantown High School for excellence in STEM Education. The district is recognized for its demonstrated investment in STEM education and commitment to college and career readiness through a robust PLTW curriculum for students.
Step inside a PLTW classroom and you’ll notice the difference. One student is building a digital model of a new concept for lightweight aircraft, another student is testing her prototype for a new medical device, and a team of students is plotting a strategy for the upcoming robotics
competition. Meanwhile the teacher moves quickly from student to student, workstation to workstation, questioning students about their concepts, helping vet their ideas, and ensuring students understand the math concepts that apply as they test their designs. To those unfamiliar with project-based learning, it may initially seem chaotic, but to the students and teachers in PLTW it is exciting, challenging, and rewarding.
GHS has made a significant investment in time, resources, and staff, and this certificate recognizes leadership in five key areas: workforce development, student achievement, teacher leadership, college readiness, and community partnership.
Leaders from both sides of the political aisle have recognized the need for increasing the number of graduates entering the workforce in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a new report in April 2011 calling for the creation of
“a system that encourages excellence in STEM.” PLTW schools are ahead of the curve, providing rigorous STEM curricula that will help school leaders exceed the demands of the new Common Core Standards in science and math. The Harvard Graduate School of Education Pathways to
Prosperity study also recently highlighted PLTW as a model for integrating Career and Technical Education into core academic content areas.
Through project-based learning, PLTW students put their knowledge to the test by solving real-world engineering problems using state-of-the-art technology. According to a national report, PLTW students continue to outperform their peers in school and they go on to pursue careers in STEM fields at significantly higher rates than their non-PLTW peers. The curriculum is designed to build interest and preparation for all students, not just the top 10%.
Teacher Leadership: Teachers matter in Project Lead the Way. Instructors must go through rigorous training through a national network of college affiliates in order to teach PLTW. PLTW Wisconsin Affiliate Director Steve Salter commented, “[PLTW] teachers are embracing the challenge to equip students to develop curiosity, think critically, become creative, and produce innovative solutions to consequential problems.”
Beyond sparking interest in STEM fields, Project Lead the Way has a track record of producing graduates who are college and career-ready. Students may earn college credit, scholarships, or advanced standing for their work during high school. Schools offering Project Lead the Way provide their students with a competitive advantage in today’s ever-changing marketplace.
CommunityPartnership: A hallmark of PLTW’s success is the community partnership team. This team comprised of leaders from parents, industry and the local community provides oversight and support to ensure program viability, reliability, and effectiveness. Community partners have also been instrumental in providing resources and in-kind contributions. Salter added, “The engine that is driving change in the academic experiences for our children across the state is the recognition among stakeholders that partnerships are the way forward.”
PLTW ignites imagination and innovation through learning. More than 33,000 Wisconsin students are actively engaged at 250 middle schools and high schools, as part of a national network of 4,000 PLTW schools offering this rigorous, relevant curriculum. Schools recognized with the excellence award have demonstrated a significant investment and long-term commitment to building a STEM literate citizenry capable of living and working in our complex, global economy. Salter concludes: “Schools receiving the commitment award today are to be commended for their work to put America back on top of the innovation challenge.”
PLTW districts are successfully attracting students and families excited about the opportunity for weighted, honors or college credit. Student engagement is also heightened as students learn STEM in an integrated and applied way, building higher order thinking skills that allow them to showcase original student innovations. At the middle school level, districts have the opportunity to redefine science curriculum to bolster student achievement and get students excited and engaged in STEM.
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