On the Road with Vince

Last week was a busy one, as Vince crossed the country from Wyoming to Idaho to Missouri. Each visit was full of great conversation, new ideas, and exciting prospects for the future.

Gillette, WY: This was Wyoming’s first PLTW Conference, and State Leader Lyn Velle did an outstanding job, drawing approximately 100 attendees from the state and local legislatures, business and industry, and PLTW districts. Vince delivered the morning keynote address, telling attendees that, “As educators and policymakers, we have an obligation to inspire our kids.” Students from the Gillette area presented their class projects during the conference. Campbell County High School senior Tristan McKillop impressed us all with his capstone project – a solution to unspooling fencing wire, which was a common problem he faced growing up on a ranch. Vince also had the opportunity to ask IED students question as they printed their puzzle cube designs on the classroom 3D printer.

Boise, ID: After Wyoming, Vince was off to Boise for meetings with state-level policymakers, including Idaho State Superintendent of Education Tom Luna and House Education Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt. They were extremely supportive of PLTW’s mission, and meetings with Meridian school district administrators and teachers proved why. Meridian is the largest school district in the state, with over 35,000 students, and PLTW programs have been implemented in all nine middle schools and all nine high schools.

Columbia, MO: The Missouri PLTW Conference turned out to be one of the largest PLTW Conferences this year with over 750 teachers, counselors, and administrators in attendance! The conference kicked off with a message from Governor Jay Nixon, who commended the work of PLTW. Vince followed with a moving message on the role of teachers in acting with urgency to meet students’ needs, which earned both applause and tears. One attendee commented that Vince’s speech was “the best speech about the power of a teacher that I have ever heard.” Special thanks to Missouri S&T, the PLTW Missouri leadership, and all who helped put together such a successful conference.

This week, Vince is taking part in the Indiana PLTW Conference Panel entitled “Achieve More Indiana: Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Workforce” with Indiana business leaders from Eli Lilly, Cummins, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and Rolls Royce. The panel will discuss STEM education and the impact on Indiana’s economy and the nation’s workforce skills gap. Vince also has several key meetings with national and state leaders.

To keep up with Vince’s travels, follow Vince on Twitter @vincebertram.