PLTW, Chevron Partnership Gives Louisiana Students a Chance at Engineering

NEW ORLEANS (May 16, 2012) - A partnership between Chevron and Project Lead The Way (PLTW), the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum, is creating positive change in New Orleans area schools. Today, PLTW President and CEO Dr. Vince Bertram will travel to Louisiana to see first-hand the outreach efforts occurring in Orleans, Plaquemines and St. Tammany Parish classrooms. There, middle school students are immersed in a world of robotics, engineering, computer programming and design.

PLTW’s partnership with Chevron, one of the world’s leading energy producers, began in 2011 when Chevron identified a growing need for engineers and scientists within the Louisiana region. Aware of PLTW’s efforts to prepare students for the global economy through STEM curricula, Chevron partnered with PLTW to expand the program throughout southeastern Louisiana—funding six middle and junior high schools through a two-year grant. The grants have aided the schools in starting the Gateway To Technology middle school program, purchasing classroom equipment and sending teachers for professional development.

“Education is the foundation for success, and it is so important for Chevron to invest in innovative programs such as the Gateway To Technology curriculum,” said Karen Rawls, public and government affairs representative for Chevron’s Gulf of Mexico business unit. “The program will help students foster a love and passion around science, technology, engineering and math and how it impacts every aspect of life. We look forward to collaborating with PLTW to really bolster our STEM program and to share the successes with our wonderful community and educators across the Greater New Orleans Area.”

In the first year of the program, schools are seeing the positive effects.

“We are extremely pleased with the PLTW program,” said Dana Gonzales, science and math specialist for the Orleans Parish School Board. “Orleans parish schools have had their share of issues. To see this kind of enthusiasm has been truly wonderful. Kids and teachers are getting so excited about the program, and it seems to be re-energizing our faculty. The students are getting a lot of their deficits for math and science filled by having to apply the concepts to projects they’re working on in the engineering program.”

The Chevron/PLTW partnership has directly impacted students at Boyet Junior High School, Mandeville Junior High, Einstein Charter School, McDonogh #35 and Belle Chasse Middle School. McDonogh #35’s program has expanded rapidly; the school is applying to become a National Academy Foundation Engineering Academy and will add the PLTW high school engineering curriculum, Pathway To Engineering, in the fall.

“Project Lead The Way is very grateful for the support of Chevron,” said PLTW President and CEO Dr. Vince Bertram. “PLTW is committed to providing world-class STEM education to students in order to prepare them for the global economy. Our work cannot be done without the help of partners like Chevron. Thanks to Chevron, we are making a difference in the lives of students.”

Bertram, along with PLTW and Chevron officials, will visit Mandeville Junior High School at 1:15 and then travel to Boyet Junior High School at 3:10. Interviews and b-roll opportunities will be available.