Submitted by Shane Mauldin, MISD
McKinney High School announced Wednesday that it has received national certification for its Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program. PLTW, a nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading provider of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education programs, offers a rigorous world-class curriculum that allows students to apply what they are learning in math and science class to real-life engineering and technology projects. PLTW also prides itself on high-quality professional development of its teachers and an engaged network of business, community and university partners to give students the fullest experience.
The national PLTW recognition program distinguishes schools for successfully demonstrating a commitment to PLTW’s national standards. Additionally, certification as a PLTW school provides students with the opportunity to apply for college credit or receive college-level recognition at PLTW affiliate universities when they successfully complete select PLTW courses in high school. PLTW has more than 40 affiliate college and university partners nationwide.
In order to remain competitive in the global economy, America needs approximately 400,000 STEM college graduates annually, according to a National Business Roundtable report. Currently, the U.S. is graduating only 265,000 annually. PLTW is providing students with the skills, foundation, and proven path to college and career success in STEM areas to increase the number of STEM graduates.
Dr. Logan Faris, principal of McKinney High School said, “We’ve seen how the STEM program draws more students to engineering and technology courses and gets them thinking about college and their careers. We are extremely proud to be PLTW certified and excited that our students are eligible for college-level recognition, which may include college credit for select PLTW courses, scholarships and admissions preference.”
As part of the recognition process, Dr. Faris, Tamy Smalskas, MISD Director of Career & Technical education and a team composed of teachers, and members of the community submitted a self-assessment of the school’s implementation of PLTW’s Pathway To Engineering (PTE) program. A site visit by a PLTW trained team followed. The PLTW’s team met with teachers, school administrators, counselors, students, and members of the school’s Partnership Team. A PLTW school’s Partnership Team (sometimes referred to as an Advisory Council) is comprised of teachers, counselors, administrators, post-secondary representatives, business and industry professionals, and other community members who actively support the PLTW program within a school.
“McKinney High School should be congratulated for demonstrating its commitment to PLTW’s quality standards,” said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram. “The real winners here, however, are McKinney High School’s students. We look forward to many more years of working together to prepare MHS students to become the most innovative and productive in the world.”
Pam McBride, MHS PLTW teacher added, “The beauty of PLTW courses is that our kids get to experience how a concept they learned in science applies to real-world projects, including robotics. Rather than sit passively and listen to a lecture, kids are building, developing, and creating. It’s the kind of hands-on experience that will engage more students in science, technology, engineering and math-fields that they might otherwise never have considered.”
Information provided by Project Lead the Way.
For more information on PLTW, you may also contact Jennifer Cahill at the national office at (317) 669-0871.
For additional information on McKinney ISD, contact Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications Specialist, at 469-302-4007.