Pequot Lakes High School has received national certification for the Project Lead The Way engineering program, and Pequot Lakes Middle School has received national recognition for the Gateway To Technology (GTT) Project Lead The Way program it has been offering since 2008.
The school district will receive two Project Lead The Way banners to hang in honor of the accomplishments.
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) provides science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, offering a rigorous curriculum that allows students to apply what they are learning in math and science class to real-life engineering and technology projects.
The primary purposes of the certification program are to recognize schools that have successfully demonstrated a commitment to the quality national standards of the Pathway To Engineering and GTT programs and to provide an opportunity for students to apply for college credit at PLTW affiliate universities for selected PLTW courses.
PLTW has more than 35 affiliate college and university partners that offer students credit for completing certain PLTW courses in high school, including the University of Minnesota.
John McDonald, Pequot Lakes High School principal, said, "We've seen how the PLTW program draws more students to engineering and technology courses and gets them thinking about college and their career. We are extremely proud to be PLTW certified and ecstatic that our students can begin receiving college credits for certain PLTW classes."
McDonald and a team of teachers, staff, students and community members completed a self-assessment of the school's implementation of the Pathway to Engineering program that culminated in a site visit by a national PLTW certification specialist. The certification team met with teachers, administration, counselors, students and community representatives and reviewed student work.
"Pequot Lakes High School has demonstrated its commitment to the quality standards of PLTW's Pathway to Engineering and GTT programs, and the real winners are Pequot Lakes students," said John Lock, president and CEO of PLTW.
"Students are benefiting from an innovative curriculum that encourages creativity and critical thinking and on top of that, they can earn college credit for some of these courses. We congratulate the entire Pequot Lakes School community and look forward to many more years of working together to prepare Pequot Lakes students to become the most innovative and productive in the world," he said.
Teachers are a critical component of the success of the PLTW program. All teachers are required to complete an intensive two-week professional development course during the summer before they can teach a PLTW course.
Students who enroll in PLTW courses also benefit from the organization's strong university and industry relationships that allow students to begin working toward their college degree and gain valuable experience through internships and local business executives who serve as mentors.
Engineers from Pequot Tool presently mentor Pequot students in the introduction to engineering and design class.
Teachers Dan Skaaland and Nick Phillips said the beauty of PLTW courses is that students get to experience how a formula they learned in math applies to a real project. In class, there are no lectures; students are building, developing and creating. That is the kind of hands-on experience that will engage more students in fields that they might otherwise never consider, they said.
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