Monday, December 5, 2011

Catholic Memorial Receives National Certification for STEM Program

See the coverage at WaukeshaPatch.Com --

Catholic Memorial High School recently announced that it has received national certification for the Project Lead The Way program that it has been offering for the last three years.

Project Lead The Way, a non-profit organization and 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.

PLTW is providing students with a foundation and proven path to college and career success in these areas and to fill the high-tech, high-skill jobs of the 21-Century.

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 more than 35 college and university partners that offer students credit for completing certain PLTW courses in high school, including Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) in Wisconsin.

“We’ve seen how the PLTW program draws more students to engineering and technology courses and gets them thinking about college and their career,” said Bob Hall, principal of Catholic Memorial High School. “We are extremely proud to be PLTW certified and ecstatic that our students can begin receiving college-level recognition including credits for certain PLTW classes.”

Hall 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.

“Catholic Memorial High School has demonstrated its commitment to the quality standards of PLTW’s Pathway To Engineering program and the real winners are CMH students,” said Thor S. Misko, interim CEO of PLTW. “Students are benefiting from an innovative curriculum that encourages creativity, problem solving and critical thinking and on top of that, they can earn college credit for some of these courses, gain admissions preference and receive scholarships.

“We congratulate the entire Catholic Memorial High School community and look forward to many more years of working together to prepare CMH 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 beauty of PLTW courses is that our kids get to experience how a formula they learned in math applies to a real-world project,” said Rose Hoffmann, CMH mathematics and computer science teacher. “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.”

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