Bertram Recognizes Original PLTW Schools at New York State Conference

At the largest New York Project Lead The Way (PLTW) State Conference yet, PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram recognized the upcoming 20th anniversary of the original PLTW schools. Nine of the original twelve are still offering PLTW programs to students.

Learn how each school has played a part in the story of PLTW:

The district administration for the Ballston Spa Central School District recognizes the tremendous value of PLTW. The district started with PLTW Engineering, added PLTW Biomedical Science courses, and is currently exploring the computer science pathway.

PLTW has had a profound impact on a segment of the student body at Colonie High School. Colonie was the pioneer site for PLTW’s Engineering Design and Development (EDD) course, and the graduating class of 1999 was the first in the nation that had the opportunity to take all five original PLTW Engineering courses.

The West Irondequoit Central School District continues to embrace and expand the opportunities it provides for students. Twenty years ago, support from then-Superintendent Glenn Wachter and dedication from instructors Scott Ertel and Dave Marshall enabled Irondequoit High School to build a PLTW Engineering program that has grown to serve 718 students this year.

As a small rural district graduating approximately 50 students a year, PLTW allowed LaFayette Junior/Senior High School to offer programs and courses typically available only in large school districts.  Over the years, the faculty members in the Technology Department were trained to lead classes in Introduction to Engineering Design (IED), Principles of Engineering (POE), Civil Engineering and Architecture (CEA), Digital Electronics (DE), and Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM). PLTW has expanded to middle school students with PLTW Gateway.

PLTW programs are offered not only to high school students at Mohonasen High School, but expanded to the middle school level, as well, nearly 10 years ago. PLTW participation has only increased over the past two decades.

Shenendehowa High School, both east and west buildings, is proud to be a part of the development and expansion of PLTW. Those involved from the beginning include Dick Blaise, Tom White, Tom Hodge, Paul Kane, Terry Nagy, John Meys, Murray Getman, and Ken McDermith (originally from Mohonasen High School). Over the years, Shen’s teachers and administrators have served on curriculum teams for IED, CIM, DE, POE, EDD, Aerospace Engineering, and PLTW Gateway. Murray Getman (IED), Paul Kane (POE), Terry Nagy (IED), and Ken McDermith (CIM) have served as Master Teachers at Core Training.

South Glens Falls currently offers PLTW Engineering at the high school and PLTW Gateway at the middle school. The three teachers at the high school provide instruction in IED, POE, CIM, CEA, EDD, and Biotechnical Engineering (BE). Paul Stoutenger is one of the original PLTW instructors and remains at South Glens Falls High School. The district was one of the first to offer PLTW Gateway in 2000.

The strength of the PLTW program at Westhill High School is evident because of the commitment of the teachers. Technology teacher John Pierce has been with the program since its inception. John, a PLTW Master Teacher, understands the importance of creating learning experiences that pique student interest, challenge them to actively engage in their learning, and expose them to real-world applications and experiences. Nearly 20 percent of the high school students are currently enrolled in at least one PLTW course.

Stay current on Vince’s travels – and the latest in education and workforce development news – by following him on Twitter at @VinceBertram.