Tonia Warzecha is director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment and assistant principal at Tea Area School District in Tea, South Dakota.
Tea Area's PLTW Launch story began in 2014 when I attended training at Iowa State University. After a week full of learning, I returned to our school district, responsible for implementing PLTW Launch modules with our kindergarten, first, and second grade students. We were the only school in South Dakota implementing the program, so we were paving the way for our area while also giving our young Titans the opportunity to experience STEM through a powerful curriculum.
Excitement was high that year as I walked the hallways with my red PLTW shirt and students gathered around my legs asking if it was time for me to come to their classroom. I was thrilled when a first grade girl said she was having a scientist theme for her birthday party, and I was even more thrilled when a parent stopped me in the parking lot to tell me how excited her son was to share his PLTW Launch Log with her and his dad.
Fast forward a few years, and we have now trained all K-5 staff and have implemented all of the PLTW Launch modules in all of our K-4 classrooms.
I am no longer teaching the PLTW modules but am leading our district as we expand PLTW into both our middle and high schools, and I am excited about the opportunities we are bringing to our students. We recognize that excitement for STEM begins at an early age, and we are building that foundation here at Tea Area School District. It's been a great partnership, and I look forward to many more years with PLTW!
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