PLTW Master Teachers, Affiliates, and Staff Gather for Core Training Institute

Project Lead The Way closed another successful Core Training Institute last week- an event that encompasses two key elements of the organization: high quality professional development and continuous improvement. PLTW’s curriculum and professional development staff gathered with over 240 PLTW Core Training Instructors for continued learning and improvement around PLTW’s curriculum. The collaboration brought forth the best thinking around improvements to various courses in the curriculum and how those courses will be taught to approximately 3,800 PLTW teachers from across the United States this summer. 

“This year’s Core Training Institute demonstrated that we are all an integral part of the PLTW family,” remarked Bryan Kind, PLTW director of professional development. "Through our combined efforts, high quality professional development opportunities are created; with the end product being that we are able to better prepare students for the global economy.”

Held at Indianapolis’ Sheraton Conference Center, master teachers and university affiliates who make up PLTW’s group of Core Training Instructors spent two days engaged in discussions around four specific PLTW courses: Introduction to Engineering Design (IED), Principles of Biomedical Sciences (PBS), Principles of Engineering (POE), and the Gateway To Technology (GTT) curriculum. They walked through updates to the courses, including new course frameworks and hands-on activities, projects, and problems. GTT instructors learned about a new GTT course—Green Architecture—which begins in the 2012-13 school year, and many instructors underwent training to enhance their computer programming skills, thanks to Carnegie Mellon University. All of these developments are the result of collaboration, field testing, and continuous feedback.

 “Continuous improvement of courses is designed with one goal in mind,” said Anne Jones, PLTW senior vice president and chief programs officer. “That is, to get our collective best work to schools and students as soon as possible, while maintaining the highest level of quality.”

While very challenging, PLTW received wonderful feedback on the intensive, two-day core training process. 

“Thank you for being so open about change and your willingness to work with us on what those changes should look like. Being listened to is always a breath of fresh air,” said Kathryn Rabolt, a GTT core training instructor from Illinois. “It was an inspired experience which allowed us the opportunity to really get down to what matters the most: student engagement leading to opportunities for the future!” 

The continuous course improvement process will continue as a result of feedback received at the Core Training Institute, with this year’s final product ready by summer—when Core Training sessions will take place across the U.S. in preparation for another year of readying students for the global economy.