Missouri Project Lead the Way reaches milestone with 500th program

Posted by
On March 3, 2016

missourpltwWith the addition of Cor Jesu Academy of St. Louis, Missouri’s Project Lead the Way initiative has reached 500 programs in elementary and secondary schools across the state.

Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is a national program designed to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics among students from kindergarten through high school. In Missouri, the program is led by Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Cor Jesu Academy, located in St. Louis, is a private Catholic preparatory high school for young women. The school’s program became the 500th in Missouri’s PLTW effort in January. Cor Jesu will begin incorporating PLTW curriculum next fall.

“We’re very pleased to have Cor Jesu Academy join Project Lead the Way and look forward to integrating PLTW programming into their curriculum,” says Ben Yates, program director for PLTW at Missouri S&T. “This partnership will further benefit Missouri by providing more opportunities for young women to pursue a college education in science, technology, engineering or math.”

“With our consistent emphasis on student leadership and academic performance for young women, as well as a successful and rapidly growing initiative to engage corporate partners, the timing is perfect for Cor Jesu to adopt PLTW and take our STEM curriculum to the next level,” says Theresa Semmelmayer, a teacher in Cor Jesu’s mathematics and science departments and the school’s PLTW coordinator. “Our students’ efforts and success in the program will allow them opportunities to earn college credit and be well-prepared for an engineering degree.”

PLTW provides engineering and science instructional programs for use in elementary, middle, junior high and high school. Every summer, Missouri S&T provides training to elementary and secondary education teachers on incorporating the PLTW curriculum into their classrooms. The summer programs focus on teaching engineering, computer science and biomedical science.

Chelsea Diestelkamp, a recent math major from Missouri S&T who now teaches at Cor Jesu, introduced PLTW to Cor Jesu administrators and encouraged them to sign up for the program. While enrolled at S&T in the teacher education program, Diestelkamp student-taught at Cor Jesu and took part in PLTW training last summer. She joined Cor Jesu as a math teacher last fall.

Diestelkamp took part in Missouri S&T’s pre-service teacher training program. Missouri S&T is one of two universities in the nation to pilot a redesign of this pre-service program. It allows S&T students earning secondary educational certification to complete PLTW training the summer between their junior or senior year or just after graduation. Initiated last year, the program is being described as a national model by PLTW nationally.

“We’re very confident in the leadership and reach of Missouri S&T,” Dr. Vince Bertram, PLTW president and chief executive officer, said in announcing the program. “It’s been held up as a model, a national model. Missouri S&T is a great PLTW partner.”

Established in 1997 in 12 high schools in upstate New York, PLTW has grown to a network of more than 8,000 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Missouri S&T is one of approximately 55 colleges and universities in the U.S. that offer PLTW training.

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