June 06, 2012 - Affton High School announced yesterday — June 6 — it received national certification for its Project Lead The Way, or PLTW, program that has been offered since 2010.
This is the second time the school has gone through the national certification process to validate its 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, according to a news release.
"We've seen how the PLTW program draws more students to engineering and technology courses and gets them thinking about college and their careers," Affton High School Principal Sue Jackson stated in the release. "We are extremely proud to be PLTW certified and ecstatic that our students are eligible for college-level recognition, which may include college credit for select PLTW courses, scholarships and admissions preference."
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, including the University of Missouri-Columbia.
To remain competitive in the global economy, America needs roughly 400,000 STEM college graduates annually, according to a National Business Roundtable report. Currently, the United States 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.
As part of the recognition process, Jackson and a team composed of teachers, staff, students and members of the community submitted a self-assessment of the school's implementation of PLTW's Pathway to Engineering, or PTE, program. A site visit by a PLTW trained team followed.
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, postsecondary representatives, business and industry professionals and other community members who actively support the PLTW program within a school.
"Affton High School should be congratulated for demonstrating once again its commitment to PLTW's quality standards," PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram stated in the release. "The real winners here, however, are Affton High's students. Students benefit from PLTW's innovative, project-based curriculum that encourages creativity, problem solving and critical thinking. We look forward to many more years of working together to prepare Affton students to become the most innovative and productive in the world."
Jackson 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, children 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."