The Lenape Regional High School District (LRHSD) at Lenape and Seneca high schools, will pilot an innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, made possible through a $31,200 grant from Lockheed Martin Corporation.
The Pathway to EngineeringTM program, from Project Lead the Way (PLTW), will be piloted with ninth grade students at Lenape and Seneca High Schools beginning in fall 2014. The highly competitive program is designed to attract and retain students interested in pursuing a STEM-related post-secondary education and, ultimately, a career.
“This partnership opportunity provided by Lockheed Martin will enable us to add this rigorous STEM program to our current course offerings,” says Heather Xenakis, Director of Curriculum & Instruction at LRHSD. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for highly motivated students interested in engineering to understand – in application – the content learned in science and math courses.”
PLTW is the leading provider of STEM education curriculum programs in middle schools and high schools across the United States. PLTW works to prepare students for the global economy, one increasingly focused on high-growth and technology-driven occupations. According to PLTW, eight million of the jobs available to college graduates in 2018 will be in STEM professions; and half of these will be new occupations.
PLTW’s activities-, project- and problem-based (APPB) learning approach centers on hands-on, real-world projects that show students how the information and skills they learn in the classroom can be applied in everyday life. The Pathway to EngineeringTM program offers a curriculum that engages students in open-ended problem solving, learning and applying the engineering design process, and developing vital teamwork, communication, and critical-thinking skills. Students use the same industry-leading technology and software as the world’s leading companies. The curriculum is standards-based and aligned with both Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.
According to Xenakis, the course is interdisciplinary in its approach and includes Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and will be offered independent of any specific department. The Lenape Regional High School District is hoping to continue the sequence of courses available through the program, by adding a new course each year for the next four years, based on continued funding by outside sources.
Because this course is a national curriculum, teachers need to be PLTW-certified with an affiliated university. Lenape and Seneca teachers will take part in a two-week intensive training program during the summer of 2014 at Rowan University, a PLTW affiliate.
Because a limited number of seats are available, current 8th grade students will be selected for the program based on academic achievement in math and science, and their expressed interest in pursuing a career in engineering. Parents and guardians of selected current 8th grade students in Mt. Laurel, Southampton, Shamong, Tabernacle, and Woodland will receive a letter outlining additional information regarding the program.
PLTW is a 501(c) (3) organization and the nation’s leading provider of in-school STEM curriculum. PLTW courses are aligned with Common Core State Standards for Math and English Language Arts, Next Generation Science Standards, and other national and state standards. Courses and units are designed to complement math and science courses and, in some instances, are used as the core curriculum. More than 4,700 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are offering PLTW courses to their students.