John Stark Regional High school has received national certification for it's Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program. There are only 13 certified Project Lead the Way high schools in New Hampshire. 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 activities, projects and problems. 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 full experience.
When we changed teachers, we were granted conditional certification status, but I’m happy to report that due to the hard work of Project Lead the Way Teacher Colin Stone, we now hold full certification for the next five years,” said Principal Christopher Corkery. Mr. Stone has focused attention on meeting the full certification requirements since joining the John Stark teaching staff in 2013.
One of the areas for improvement for full certification was fostering a partnership team of community engineering professionals. The JSRHS Project Lead the Way Partnership Team now has engineering members from NHTI, Autodesk, EFI, ProCon, and UPS that meets twice a year. “Colin has brought in several area engineers to sit on this committee and they meet to discuss John Stark’s program and how it might be improved,” continued Principal Corkery.
Colin Stone earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering from Western New England College. He then went on to earn an MBA and a Master’s in Operations and Project Management from Southern New Hampshire University. “I always thought I’d go into the private sector,” said Stone, “and then teach after I retired. But when I first got out of college, I was also coaching tennis and tutoring math when it hit me, I love working with students. Maybe I’d skip the first part and head right into the classroom. And here I am,” continued Stone.
“I want students to have the opportunity I didn’t have,” remarked Stone, who did not have Project Lead the Way in high school. “It’s a great way to get a head start on college credits and classes through Project Running Start. It’s also a great way to find out while you are still in high school if engineering is the right path for you,” concluded Stone.
John Stark Regional High School offers Introduction to Engineering Design and Principals of Engineering. Stark is offering a new PLTW class this year is Environmental Sustainability, which addresses the growing market for jobs in biological engineering. This class is being taught by Dr. Kevin Seeley. Other classes offered, depending on student interest, include Civil Engineering and Architecture, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, and Digital Electronics.
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 recognition opportunities at PLTW affiliate universities when they successfully complete select PLTW courses in high school. PLTW has more than 50 colleges, university and research partners, including NHTI.
In order to remain competitive in the global economy, America needs approximately 400,000 STEM college graduates annually, according to a National Business Roundtable report. Currently, the U.S. 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.
“We’ve seen how the PLTW program draws more students to engineering, math and science and gets them thinking about college and their careers. We are extremely proud to be PLTW certified and ecstatic that our students are eligible for college-level recognition, which may include college credit, scholarships and admissions preference,” said Principal Corkery.
“John Stark Regional High School should be congratulated for demonstrating once again its commitment to PLTW’s quality standards,” said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram. “The real winners here, however, are the John Stark 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 students for the global economy.”
Mr. Stone 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, our students 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.”
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and math (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, help students develop the skills needed to succeed in our global economy. More than 6,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia currently offer PLTW courses to their students. For more information, visit www.pltw.org