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CATA Achieves Project Lead the Way Certification for Engineering Program

Central Academy of Technology & Arts (CATA) announced today that it has received national certification for the Project Lead The Way program that it has been offering since 2006. Project Lead The Way (PLTW), the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education offers a rigorous curriculum that allows students to apply what they are learning in math and science class to real-life engineering and technology projects. A National Business Roundtable report states that to remain competitive in the global marketplace, America needs to graduate 400,000 science, engineering, mathematics and technical four year degrees annually, yet we are currently graduating only 265,000. PLTW is providing students with a foundation and proven path to college and career success in these areas.

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 program and to provide an opportunity for students to apply for college credit at PLTW affiliate Universities for selected PLTW courses. PLTW has over 35 affiliate college and university partners that offer students credit for completing certain PLTW courses in high school, including University of North Carolina, Charlotte in North Carolina.

Rodney Miller, principal of CATA 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.”

Miller and a team composed of teachers, staff, students, and members of the community 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, community representatives and reviewed student work.

“Central Academy High School has demonstrated its commitment to the quality standards of PLTW’s Pathway to Engineering program and the real winners are CATA 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 school community and look forward to many more years of working together to prepare students to become the most innovative and productive in the world.”

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. The engineering students built a wind tunnel that was supported by the Engineering School at UNCC is an example of the high school’s effort to work with a four-year institution. Another example of collaboration is the financial support, in the amount of $5,000, that Allvac Industries, Inc. provided to the program for the FIRST ROBOTICS competition in March. Students built a robot to be used in a competition with other high schools in the Palmetto Regional Robotics Competition.

Michael Hardy added, “The beauty of PLTW courses is that our kids get to experience how a formula they learned in math applies to a real project. In class, there are no lectures – kids 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.”

ABOUT PLTW - PLTW is a national, non-profit organization that provides rigorous and innovative science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for middle schools and high schools. The PLTW comprehensive curriculum, which is collaboratively developed by PLTW teachers, University educators, engineering and biomedical professionals, and school administrators, emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, innovation, and real-world problem solving. The hands-on, project-based program engages students on multiple levels, exposes them to areas of study that they typically do not pursue, and provides them with a foundation and proven path to college and career success in STEM-related fields. PLTW began in 1998 in 12 high schools in upstate New York as a program designed to address the shortage of engineering students at the college level and has grown to a network of almost 3,400 middle and high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Over 300,000 students are enrolled in PLTW courses.

Written by: Deb Christensen
Posted: Mar 09, 2010 by Deb Christensen

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