Recently Trained PLTW Teachers Look Forward to Taking Lessons Learned Into Classroom

President and Chief Executive Office of Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Vince Bertram wrapped up his cross-country tour of Core Trainings this summer by visiting Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and Lawrence Technological University in Michigan. Whether the teachers are completing Core Training for the first time or have already taught other PLTW courses, all are excited about taking the curriculum and activities into their classrooms.

Bucknell University

After spending 17 years teaching high school business and three years teaching elementary school, Lisa Imbriaco of Abington Heights School District in Pennsylvania completed her first PLTW Core Training this summer. She said she’s looking forward to her students enjoying the activities as much as she did.

“I'm excited and optimistic how much fun the students are going to have with the modules,” she said. “I had a blast with the activities we prepared in training so I can only imagine how students will enjoy them. Many of our parents have been interested in computer science, and they will be excited as well. I think it opens up a lot of possibilities to show students how engaging CS can be through PLTW and how much they will be able to accomplish.”

Imbriaco and three colleagues from Abington Heights School District completed PLTW Launch training at Bucknell this summer. All four Abington Heights elementary schools received PLTW grants, totaling $30,000, to support PLTW Launch programs for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. These grants were made possible through PLTW’s partnership with the Bemis Company Foundation.

The Bemis Company Foundation has partnered with PLTW to provide grant support to schools in the immediate geographic footprint of Bemis facilities. Since 2012, the partnership between Bemis and PLTW has continued to expand the STEM pipeline by encouraging, empowering, and elevating communities where Bemis employees live and work.

Lawrence Technological University

Elizabeth Giem will teach Project Lead The Way for the first time this year at Innovation Central High School in Grand Rapids Public Schools in Michigan after completing Core Training for Principles of Biomedical Science and Human Body Systems. She has seen PLTW Engineering in action at her school, and has watched students go from being confused and unsure of what was expected of them to being confident in their abilities to solve problems and work through the design process. She is looking forward to seeing that kind of transformation in her own classroom.

“I am excited about bringing the laboratory science portion to the classroom and building those skills and expertise with the students,” she said. “I also look forward to utilizing the engineering design process as the students create models of medical devices, reinforcing the growth mindset of working through challenges to find a workable solution.”

Giem says PLTW will prepare her students to navigate college and careers after high school.

“I appreciate the exposure my students will have to the varied careers and opportunities there are in the ever growing medical field, and giving them the background to step into a challenging college curriculum with confidence and expectation of success,” she said.

Mike Ruhl also completed Core Training at LTU this summer, but already has a year of teaching PLTW in the books.

“As a high school life-science teacher of almost 20 years, the PLTW training process, hands-on curriculum, and network of helpful teachers have all opened doors for me professionally and have helped increase student engagement, learning, and career options for my students,” he said.

Ruhl shifted from lecturing to facilitating learning in his classroom and sees students becoming more independent learners, better contributors of a team, and better critical thinkers with the ability to analyze data and draw logical conclusions.

“This type of learning motivates students to think deeply about the concepts being covered, and they steadily improve in their math and science skills throughout the courses. Standardized test scores improve as a result of taking PLTW classes, as well,” he said. “I am very excited in how my classroom is changing. Students are working together productively, are extremely engaged, are enjoying their experience, and becoming better critical and scientific thinkers. It has been rejuvenating for me as a teacher who is late in his career, and an experience that many of my students will remember and use as part of their future career path.”

Read more stories from Vince’s travels to Core Training across the country here.

Stay current on Vince’s travels – and the latest in education and workforce development news – by following him on Twitter at @VinceBertram.