Project Lead the Way Leads the Way
March 9, 2012 • Sierra Ham, Reporter
Filed under Entertainment
Clear Falls has accomplished a lot in its short time since inauguration in 2010. Now it can add receiving certification as an official Project Lead the Way school to its list of achievements. On Feb. 27 Clear Falls’ new program was recognized at the CCISD board meeting.
Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is a non-profit organization that provides students around the country with a foundation and experience in working with real-life engineering and technology programs. The courses available prepare students for college and future careers in engineering fields.
The PLTW team is made up of Principals of Engineering teacher, Andy Shaffs, Biotechnology teacher, Rachel Shimek and Engineering Design teacher, Trevor Curtis.
Biotechnology is the newest class to be added to the PLTW Program at Clear Falls and one of the few being taught in the nation.
“It is really cool that Clear Falls gives students such a unique opportunity to be in this course,” said Biotech teacher, Rachel Shimek.
Intro to Engineering Design is what teacher Trevor Curtis describes as “the gateway into the PLTW program.” He introduces students to what it is like to become an engineer and make them excited about their futures.
While PLTW is a new program for Clear Falls, the students and teacher have adapted to it fast. While there were a few problems along the way, the teachers have things under control and the students are working hard. The next step is applying to become a model school.
“We were just certified, so we must be doing something right!” said Curtis.
The PLTW program has a lot of support from both the administration at Clear Falls and the district as a whole. The district helps with funding and supplies resources such as partnerships with colleges and professional engineers. The district has also helped supply the classrooms with state-of-the-art facilities, computers and equipment so students can work in a professional environment.
The program and the curriculum is very hands on, so both students and teachers can find what they like best.
“It encompasses a wide range of fields so there is something for everyone to like,” said Shimek.
“My favorite thing is seeing the students’ designs come to life on paper and in the CAD software we use,” said Curtis.
The PLTW program is not limited to high schools; students are able to jump-start their career paths. They also have the ability to earn college credit and create portfolios to show to perspective colleges and employers.
“It is truly amazing that these types or courses are available to high school students,” said Curtis.