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'Project Lead The Way' Expands To Middle And Elementary Schools

May 16, 2019 05:37AM ● By Lisa Redmond

Campbell Elementary School teacher Annette Romano,

DRACUT – The Dracut School System’s award-winning Project Lead The Way, a national Science. Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM” program, will expand beyond the high school as the program heads into middle and elementary school classrooms next year.

Campbell Elementary School teacher Annette Romano, project implementation coordinator pre-Kindergarten to grade 8, told the School Committee on Tuesday that Project Lead The Way, which began at Dracut High School in 2013-2104, will be expanding to the Richardson Middle School and the town’s elementary schools next school year.

PLTW is the nation’s leading provider of STEM programs. PLTW’s world-class, activity-, project-, and problem-based curriculum and high-quality teacher professional development model, combined with an engaged network of educators and corporate partners, helps students develop the skills needed to succeed in our global economy.

In 2017, Dracut High School teachers Vincent DeNufrio, Michael McElhinney and Alan Chuckran received a recognition award from then Massachusetts Secretary of Education James Peyser at a STEM education conference.

Of the 141 Massachusetts high schools offering Project Lead the Way, Dracut High was one of only six schools that had 25 or more students demonstrate Proficient or Advanced performance in the 2017 end-of-course examination. Those students are now eligible to receive college credit awarded by the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y.

Project Lead the Way, a nationally recognized engineering program taught in high schools across Massachusetts and the United States, introduces students to real-world engineering studies. The program offers students a rigorous course of engineering studies that culminates in them taking a demanding final examination. Each of the courses, or any combination, provide instruction and learning experiences that develop students' 21st-century STEM skills and knowledge.

At Dracut High, students may enroll in the following Project Lead the Way courses: Introduction to Engineering Design; Principles of Engineering; and Aerospace Engineering.

A lot of work will happen this summer, Stone said.

Romano computer science, engineering and biomedical science in K-12.

“Students learn problem-solving strategies, critical and creative thinking and how to communicate and collaborate with one another,’’ she said. During the “exploration’’ the teacher is more of a facilitator, he/she works with the students to have look at real world problems and try to solve them. In pre-K to grade 5 it encourages exploration into nature and encourages them to keep discovering.

Romano, along with three other leaders from each elementary school, go to a summer program at WPI for training. Each school leader will then train teachers. There is a module for each grade level. Science, technology and engineering standards.

At the middle school, grades 6-8, will be involved in “The Gateway,’’ which offers 11 modules for students to explore to prepare them for the high school and beyond, she said.

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