Celebrating PLTW Launch Students Building Their Future

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) celebrates with Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) on the release of “Students Building Their Future: The Power of Early Transportable Skills Development for All,” a profile of all elementary schools within the KCPS district. The profile demonstrates the impact of the PTLW Launch student experience and how the opportunity to take PLTW Launch classes provides equity of access for young learners. The celebration was held at Wendell Phillips Elementary School in Kansas City, Missouri on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. The event included a presentation by PLTW Chief Impact Officer Dave Dimmett and remarks by KCPS Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell, as well as a student science fair tour and reception.

PLTW Launch students from grades K-6 at Wendell Phillips Elementary were in attendance and had the opportunity to hear directly from PLTW and their school leaders about how their early introduction to STEM positively impacts student outcomes. Dave spoke about their success and presented Dr. Bedell with a framed version of their Impact Profile. “We introduced PLTW at our elementary schools back in 2017-18, [and] there was a very intentional reasoning for doing this — we wanted to begin to expose our students to more STEM related curricular aspects of development and introduce them to a level of rigor, [and] that was by incorporating PLTW,” stated Dr. Bedell.

After the presentation, students shared their projects at KCPS’ first annual science fair. Guests and school officials had the chance to tour the fair, listen to the students present their work, and ask questions about the process. Zion, a 3rd grade PLTW Launch student, showcased his impressive project on air pollution and how it affects the growth of plants. His work was incredibly detailed with hand-made models to display how the amount of air pollution impacted growth. When asked what surprised him the most about the project, Zion stated, “There was a lot of research involved!” It took him nine days to test, record results, and analyze his hypothesis. It was clear to see how excited and proud each of these students were to show off their projects.

Ericka Mabion, the KCPS iSpark Class Coordinator, explained that the students enjoy doing the work, and it’s fun for them. “They see evidence of the design; they have questions then can answer them. There is an extension that they didn’t consider, but they learned from their PLTW classes, like the research component. They want to show off their learning, and it’s amazing to see how they can articulate that.”

Offering PLTW Launch throughout elementary schools gave KCPS students the chance to develop transportable skills and further explore the world around them. As they progress through 5th grade, students become increasingly adept at engaging in activities that use design thinking and require them to collaborate with their peers to solve real-world problems. It was evident that those skills were on full display at the Wendell Phillips Elementary science fair.

For more in-depth information, click here to access the Kansas City Public Schools Impact Profile.

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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
  • 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