Building Community Partnerships: The Power of Asking for Support

Lisa Muggeo is a PLTW Gateway teacher at College Park Middle School in Ladson, South Carolina. Lisa teaches PLTW Gateway units including Design and Modeling, Automation and Robotics, Green Architecture, Energy and the Environment, Magic of Electrons, Science of Technology, and Flight and Space. Lisa has earned over $30,000 in sponsorship and grants for the school, and her school’s VEX Robotics Excellence winners will travel to state and nationals this year.

I have been at my new school for a year and a half now. The support from the community has been amazing. I have been able to grow the STEM initiative at this school at such a fast rate that it is difficult as one teacher to keep up with the outpouring of support and interest from the students. 

My biggest advice in gaining support from the community: Just ask!

Whenever I am working on a project, I will contact a local business and ask for either mentor support, materials support, or sometimes, financial support. It is amazing how many people are willing to donate their time, money, and materials to aid in our students' learning.

We have gained engineering mentors for robotics and computer science, we have gained financial support to help purchase materials to grow these programs, and we have been gifted materials to help assist our students with completing projects.

Our PLTW Gateway Green Architecture students are building benches for our school’s outdoor garden to have an outdoor seating area. I went to the local lumber yard, and they were so excited and supportive of the project. They helped me pick out all materials, cut specifics needed, and even helped deliver it to the school.

When you can engage your community in the projects you are doing with your school, it really comes full circle. Everyone can see how all aspects of STEM go into these projects and how students are really learning how to become problem solvers of the future.

PLTW’s blog is intended to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of each guest author.