Evolution and Expansion in Los Fresnos
PLTW recently celebrated the release of its third student impact profile “Expanding Possibilities: Student Voice Driving STEM Growth” which recognizes the work of the Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District, in implementing a strong PLTW curriculum pipeline within their schools. The celebration was held on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at Los Fresnos C.I.S.D. in Los Fresnos, Texas. It kicked off with a morning reception for community partners, school officials, PLTW team members, and students. Members of the Los Fresnos high school jazz band gave a stellar performance as event attendees arrived. The event began with another incredible performance by the Los Fresnos high school mariachis, followed by opening remarks from Los Fresnos C.I.S.D. Superintendent Dr. Gonzalo Salazar, a profile presentation by PLTW interim President and CEO Dr. David Dimmett and inspiring messages from Mrs. Valerie Londrie, Executive Director for Academics, PLTW sixth grade students, and PLTW Resaca Middle School teacher Emily Galvan.
“How do you build a stronger Los Fresnos?” is the question that Dr. Gonzalo Salazar, proposed at the celebration of PLTW’s third impact profile. “You empower students to thrive in an ever-evolving world, and that is something that is very important to us as we deliver our mission of giving every child a quality education.” He went on to say, “We know that if we want to build a tall structure, we must have solid foundations.” Which is exactly what Los Fresnos C.I.S.D. has done through PLTW, creating opportunities for students to experience success after creating a PLTW pipeline program that extends through all grade levels. Educational leaders at Los Fresnos C.I.S.D. understand the value of early STEM experiences. The evolution and expansion of PLTW has been supported through new modules, and classes which received a positive response from students.
For Los Fresnos, introducing students to PLTW early on was not about building connections with middle and high school, and generating enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). It was about preparing students for life after school, to get them interested in the many job opportunities that are waiting for them. Since starting PLTW in 2016, the district implemented PLTW Launch in Kindergarten through fifth grades, PLTW Gateway in middle school, and PLTW Computer Science and PLTW Engineering pathways in high school. Los Fresnos educators saw the success of the initial investment. After seeing that success, they understood the value of expanding PLTW offerings by continuing to add PLTW Launch modules in elementary school, PLTW Gateway units in middle school, and introducing the PLTW Biomedical science pathway in high school.
“I love that you can be engaged in a variety of activities, and I can use problem solving skills with my friends and classmates, you really learn off of others,” stated Nataya Yanez, a sixth grade PLTW student. “PLTW has helped me realize that I can do other things, I can build stuff, I have other opportunities and I can consider what I want to do and how I’m going to do it.” Mara Marroquin, a sixth grade PTLW student at Resaca Middle School also explained that through PLTW courses it has led her to rethink and keep her mind open to other possibilities. “Right now, I think I want to do forensics, but I also know that I have the skills to explore other careers.” Both students shared the impact that PLTW has had on them and how much they look forward to learning.
After the presentation PLTW team members visited a PreK classroom at Los Fresnos Elementary and were impressed to see even the youngest learners use their coding skills. These PreK students were already developing the basics of computer programming.
Since implementing PTLW programs in their school back in 2016, the district has continued to see an increase in student interest and growth in STEM.
PLTW provides PreK-12 schools, teachers, and students with hands-on, interdisciplinary STEM-based curriculum that uniquely prepares students for life and their future careers.
PLTW rejuvenates teachers, providing world-class experiences that keep them on the forefront of how to prepare students for the demands of tomorrow. PLTW:
- Has provided professional development opportunities to more than 80,000 teachers giving them the support and resources needed to inspire students
- Offers best-in-class teacher training: PLTW Core Training with Master Teachers
- Continuously updates teacher resources that are available on demand
- Facilitates teacher networking opportunities
- Develops curriculum by a team of writers, many of whom are former teachers
Learn more about PLTW on pltw.org.