Bringing Real-World Learning to K-12 Classrooms
Our Philosophy for Education
We believe all students – beginning at a young age – need access to real-world, applied learning experiences that empower them to gain the skills they need to thrive in college, career, and beyond.
Through our programs, students develop in-demand, transportable skills – such as problem solving, critical and creative thinking, collaboration, and communication – that they will use both in school and for the rest of their lives, on any career path they take. As PLTW students progress through grades K-12, they are empowered to explore career paths, engage in problem solving and process thinking, develop technical knowledge and skills, and build communication skills.
We believe teachers play an immeasurable role in empowering students, and our programs provide teachers with the support and resources they need to devote more time to inspiring students. Through PLTW professional development, teachers learn to facilitate and coach and become comfortable in these roles as their students guide their own learning.
APB: The Building Blocks of PLTW’s Curriculum
Our activity-, project-, and problem-based (APB) instructional design centers on hands-on, real-world activities, projects, and problems that help students understand how the knowledge and skills they develop in the classroom may be applied in everyday life. The APB approach scaffolds student learning through structured activities and projects that empower students to become independent in the classroom and help them build skill sets to apply to an open-ended design problem.
This approach provides students with unique opportunities to work collaboratively, identify problems, apply what they know, persevere through challenges, find unique solutions, and lead their own learning.
Students in Grand Rapids Public Schools enjoy Project Lead The Way for the opportunities it affords them in class, the opportunity to be hands-on, the opportunity to be engaged, the opportunity to be inspired, not only by their teacher but by each other. They really feel empowered in the opportunity to find a solution, and when they don't find a solution, to understand that there is a solution to be found – they just have to work a little harder to get there. It really has been a positive influence on our students because it has trickled over to a number of their other classes, as well, where they're finding success based on the process they've learned through Project Lead The Way.
Relevant Content, In-demand Knowledge, and Skills
Our curriculum is developed by a talented team, a majority of whom are former teachers. Our team develops a cohesive instructional path for students that is informed by their classroom experience, current research, collaboration with experts in academia and industry, and academic standards.
This powerful combination allows us to create a learning experience unlike any other that provides students with leading-edge knowledge and expertise, as well as transportable skills they can apply no matter how the career landscape evolves.
I think Project Lead The Way prepares students for the real world because it not only teaches them the curriculum, but it teaches them how to think differently, how to push boundaries, think outside of the box, solve problems. And I also think that Project Lead The Way prepares them because it really focuses on the 21st-century skills and helping the students see the wonderment in STEM – not just understanding the formulas, but also seeing the application and how much fun it can be.
Unmatched Professional Development
Our professional development is designed to quickly immerse teachers in the PLTW approach and empower them to bring the curriculum to life in their classrooms. We provide readiness resources to help teachers prepare; an in-depth training experience with peers that puts teachers in the role of a student and allows them to explore the pedagogy and content; and ongoing resources to keep skills and concepts fresh and relevant. PLTW professional development sparks a renewed enthusiasm for teaching and provides a network of colleagues willing to help any time.
It's an amazing community of educators. I have never met a higher caliber of teachers than Project Lead The Way teachers in terms of dedication and energy and support for one another.
Independent research studies show that PLTW programs drive results. PLTW students outperform their peers in school, are better prepared for post-secondary studies, and are more likely to consider careers as scientists, technology experts, engineers, mathematicians, healthcare providers, and researchers compared to their non-PLTW peers.