PLTW's Response to COVID-19

Today, educators across America are finding themselves in unchartered territory. Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to have an impact on communities all over the world. Thank you for your partnership as we all work tirelessly to ensure the students of America can stay focused on the most important gift we can give them: an education. With that in mind, read more below about the specific steps we’re taking. We’ll continue to update this page as new information becomes available.

UPDATE: March 30, 2020

We hope that this message finds you well in this unprecedented time. As we continue to reevaluate the landscape, and in an effort to alleviate additional strains for you, we are pausing school grant reporting requirements for 2019-20 programs supported by PLTW school grants.   
 
If you are not able to submit your school grant report by the April 15 deadline, we will work with you at the appropriate time in the future to determine an alternative reporting requirement and deadline for you. If you do have the capacity to move forward with grant report submissions as usual, we will continue to provide that data to our funders in order to show the impact of their support. Additionally, schools that were required to complete surveys are no longer required to complete those surveys this spring for your 2019-20 program. 
 
We aim to resume making grant payments to schools with grant terms that include a 2020-21 payment as soon as possible, pending funder and PLTW approval, regardless of whether your grant reports have been submitted for 2020.    
 
We understand that you, along with many other teachers and educational leaders with current PLTW school grants, are working to support your students amid the COVID-19 national emergency, and we want to support you in your efforts.  
 
If you have any questions regarding your current PLTW school grant, please reach out to the Solution Center at 877.335.7589 for live, one-on-one support from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or email us, and we’ll follow up with you.  

UPDATE: March 26, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on communities across the U.S., we are acutely aware of the thousands of teachers working to quickly transform the hands-on classroom experience to engaging students in a virtual setting. At PLTW, we are standing right next to you as we adapt day-by-day to the ever-evolving global crisis. Over this past week, PLTW has sharpened its focus to ensure we continue serving our network with the tools and resources needed to continue providing transformative learning experiences.

PLTW is making the following distance learning recommendations for teachers and students to be able to continue programs in PLTW Launch and PLTW Gateway:

  • PLTW Launch – Teachers can adapt grades K-5 modules for distance learning. Click here to download the guide. While the guide includes most activities, projects, and problems from each module, any excluded modules require equipment that students will likely not be able to access in their distance learning situation.
  • PLTW Gateway – Teachers can adapt grades 6-8 units for distance learning. Click here to download the guide. While the guide includes most activities, projects, and problems from each unit, any excluded units require equipment that students will likely not be able to access in their distance learning situation.
  • PLTW High School – While PLTW High School courses are primarily hands-on, lab-based learning experiences, PLTW is actively working to provide support for teachers and students completing the curriculum from home. PLTW is continuing to work with our partners to provide additional distance learning alternatives for technology over the following days and weeks, and will share more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, we recommend visiting Community in myPLTW for more ideas and collaboration as you adjust curriculum to your students' needs.

Additionally, PLTW has made the following key decisions effective immediately:

  • Summer Core Training – To ensure our teachers can train this summer and implement programs this fall, we are moving to a completely virtual training experience this summer. There will be no onsite face-to-face trainings conducted in summer 2020. Detailed information about these experiences and transfer information for previous in-person registrations will be available soon.
  • School Grants – PLTW is reviewing ways to resume grant activity as quickly as possible. Schools may continue to submit applications for PLTW school grants. We will consider any applications submitted during this time when school grant activities resume.
  • Reduced PLTW Solution Center Hours – In an effort to focus our resources to better support our network, we have reduced the hours of our Solution Center to 7 a.m.-9 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.
  • PLTW End-of-Course Assessments – PLTW will cease administration of the End-of-Course Assessments for the 2019-20 school year. The Informative Assessment tool is still available for the classroom and distance learning with a bank of assessment questions that mirror the PLTW End-of-Course Assessments in both item type and course content, and gives students the ability to participate and gain performance information. Students and parents can access the Informative Assessment through the PLTW Kite Student Portal, which they can download onto their computer by visiting the End-of-Course Assessment Installation Guides section of the PLTW software page.
  • Community – We encourage you to collaborate through Community, an online tool that helps keep students engaged virtually by allowing teachers to collaborate by sharing files, engage by asking questions, connect by following other teachers, and more. Teachers can access Community by logging in to their myPLTW account.

PLTW will continue to stand with teachers by working on the things that matter to our core mission. Thank you for your ability to adapt and take the appropriate actions to ensure we can all continue leading the way for America’s students.

UPDATE: March 20, 2020

PLTW is working hard to ensure students and teachers have the experience they expect from PLTW during this uncertain time. Below are helpful resources, reminders, and information to make sure you can continue providing transformative learning experiences for your students inside or outside the classroom.

PLTW End-of-Course Assessments

For the 2019-20 school year, PLTW has made the determination to suspend our End-of-Course Assessments. Our mission is to empower our students to thrive in our evolving world. Part of our ability to do this is to offer an inspiring and engaging learning experience for students and offer an assessment that provides relevant insights into the student’s performance.

Today, there remains a large degree of uncertainty regarding when a majority of America’s students will be back in the classroom. While this is a difficult position, PLTW stands by this being the right decision for all students across America.

PLTW Informative Assessments

The Informative Assessment is an instructional tool for the classroom and remote learning with a bank of assessment questions that mirror the PLTW End-of-Course Assessments in both item type and course content, and gives students the ability to participate and gain performance information, is available to students and parents through the PLTW Kite Student Portal. This free software will enable use of the Informative Assessment Tool as part of your virtual instruction. Information about building and assigning Informative Assessments are available in the Informative Assessment QuickStart Guide or in this two-minute video tutorial.

Program Curriculum and Resources

While the largest school districts across America are closed, there are still schools that remain in session. You may already have content in your PLTW curriculum that provides engaging ways to discuss the relevant topics of hygiene and health. Healthy Habits, Infection: Detection, Medical Detectives, Medical Interventions, and Principles of Biomedical Science, each have learning experiences designed to help students understand how to stay healthy, analyze how pathogens are spread, and investigate ways to prevent transmission and stay healthy. You should feel free to adjust the age range of the content as follows:

Module/Unit

Usual Grade Level

Can Be Offered To

Healthy Habits

PreK

PreK-2

Infection: Detection

5

3-7

Medical Detectives

6-8

6-8

Medical Interventions

Unit 1: How to Fight Infection

10-12

10-12

Principles of Biomedical Science

Unit 5: Infectious Disease

9-12

9-12

Community

We encourage you to collaborate through Community, an online tool that helps keep students engaged virtually by allowing teachers to collaborate by sharing files, engage by asking questions, connect by following other teachers, and more. Teachers can access Community by logging in to their myPLTW account.

Student Rostering

Rostering students in myPLTW is extremely important as it facilitates assess to PLTW curriculum through Courses, which they can access from any device with an internet connection. As many students are completing coursework virtually, we encourage students to share their login information with parents – especially for PLTW Launch and PLTW Gateway – as they can help facilitate learning outside of the classroom.

Teachers can upload student rosters for their classes that do not have an End-of-Course Assessment (PLTW Launch, PLTW Gateway, high school capstone courses). A Program Coordinator or Site Coordinator must roster any courses with an End-of-Course Assessment. Site Coordinators can only upload student rosters for classes at their school site.

Once you upload the roster, you can manage class changes in your myPLTW account, such as adding a new student to the class, dropping a student who no longer wishes to take the class, or transferring a student to another teacher’s class if his or her schedule changes.

Refer to this guide or watch this video to learn how to upload a student roster.

We will send additional communications as we continue to develop resources and information to help you continue to provide the best experience for your students.

UPDATE: March 18, 2020

Today, educators across America are finding themselves in unchartered territory. Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to have an impact on communities all over the world. I know you are all working tirelessly to ensure the students of America can stay focused on the most important gift we can give them: an education. With that in mind, we’d like to share some of the steps that PLTW is taking to ensure the health and safety of our Team Members so we can be here to better serve you. 

As this is a quickly evolving situation, we have already applied specific protocols in our offices, such as the transition to a required work-from-home policy for all PLTW Team Members until at least April 6. We are closely monitoring for updates so we can make necessary changes with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization, and local public health agencies.

The CDC recommends social distancing as a preventative measure to stop the spread of Coronavirus. Events large and small across the world have been canceled during March and April, but we anticipate the impact of this pandemic lasting beyond just a few months. Therefore, here are the actions we are taking to ensure our network has the tools and resources to be able to continue providing transformative learning experiences.

  • Community – We encourage you to collaborate through Community, an online tool that helps keep students engaged virtually by allowing teachers to collaborate by sharing files, engage by asking questions, connect by following other teachers, and more. Teachers can access Community by logging in to their myPLTW account.
  • Summer Core Training – We are proactively working to create online experience options for summer Core Training offerings. More than 1,300 teachers have already signed up for Core Training, and we're committed to ensuring we have a plan to offer robust online experiences should in-person not be an option. We will announce updates on these expanded options on our website.
  • PLTW Assessments – Our current PLTW End-of-Course Assessment window is scheduled to end on June 30. To facilitate your students’ ability to take the assessment, PLTW will extend the testing window. As our national emergency unfolds, additional information regarding deadline extensions will be available. As a reminder, you must roster students in myPLTW to be eligible for an extension and to ensure access to the assessment. Please refer to this guide and watch this video to learn how to upload a student roster.

Additionally, an instructional tool for the classroom and remote learning, which gives students the ability to participate and gain performance information, is available to students and parents through the PLTW Kite Student Portal. This free software will enable use of the Informative Assessment Tool as part of your virtual instruction. Information about building and assigning Informative Assessments are available in the Informative Assessment QuickStart Guide or in this two-minute video tutorial.

Module/Unit

Usual Grade Level

Can Be Offered To

Healthy Habits

PreK

PreK-2

Infection: Detection

5

3-7

Medical Detective

6-8

6-8

  • Program Resources – While the largest school districts across America are closed, there are still schools that remain in session. To support conversations that you are having with your students, you may already have content in your PLTW courses that provides engaging ways to discuss the relevant topics of hygiene and health. Healthy Habits, Infection: Detection, and Medical Detectives each have learning experiences designed to help students understand how to stay healthy, analyze how pathogens are spread, and investigate ways to prevent transmission and stay healthy. While you may have been teaching each course to specific grades, you should feel comfortable to expand the experiences to adjacent grades as well. See below for how you can tailor these modules to additional grade levels: 
  • PLTW School Grants – We understand that many schools with current PLTW school grants may be unable to complete requirements associated with their grant funding under current deadlines. We are currently extending grant reporting deadlines and will provide additional information as our national emergency unfolds. Schools may continue to apply for grant opportunities currently open.

For the past 22 years, PLTW has been your partner in redefining the classroom experience. Together, we stand by you and continue to focus on leading the way for America’s teachers and students.

With gratitude,

Dr. Vince Bertram