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PLTW Computer Science (9-12)

Empower Your Students to Be Technology Trailblazers

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Bringing Computer Science to Life

At a time when computer science affects how we work and live, PLTW Computer Science empowers students in grades 9-12 to become creators, instead of merely consumers, of the technology all around them.

The program’s interdisciplinary courses engage students in compelling, real-world challenges. As students work together to design solutions, they learn computational thinking – not just how to code – and become better thinkers and communicators. Students take from the courses in-demand knowledge and skills they will use in high school and for the rest of their lives, on any career path they take.

Once students graduate, they are more inclined to take elective courses in computer science, as students have told me that the experience they have from Computer Science Principles has made their college CS courses less intimidating. We have students from our small high school now pursuing college degrees in computer science.

- Timothy Phelps, PLTW Computer Science Teacher Lakeland High School | Scott Township, Pennsylvania

My passion for CS comes from the possibilities of helping people. I want to help create products and applications that make people's lives easier. I want to design intuitive interfaces so that people can adapt to technologies faster.

- Aaron Suarez, PLTW Alumnus MIT Computer Science, Class of '16

I've taught more mathematics, more writing, more science, more history in a computer science class than I ever could in a traditional math class, a traditional science class. American education needs to blend. We need to stop trying to isolate our courses and our disciplines, and everything needs to be interdisciplinary. ... I think Project Lead The Way is well on the way of changing the paradigm of American education.

- Darwin Shorters, PLTW Computer Science Master Teacher St. John's High School | Charleston, South Carolina

Building a Strong Foundation for College and Career

Whether building apps to meet client needs or exploring cybersecurity, PLTW Computer Science engages students in interdisciplinary activities that not only build knowledge and skills in computer science, but also empower students to develop essential skills such as problem solving, critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and perseverance. The program’ s courses empowers students with in-demand knowledge and skills they will use in high school and for the rest of their lives, on any career path they choose.

Computer Science Essentials

Students will experience the major topics, big ideas, and computational thinking practices used by computing professionals to solve problems and create value for others. This course will empower students to develop computational thinking skills while building confidence that prepares them to advance to Computer Science Principles and Computer Science A.

Computer Science Principles

Using Python® as a primary tool, students explore and become inspired by career paths that utilize computing, discover tools that foster creativity and collaboration, and use what they’ve learned to tackle challenges like app development and simulation. This course is endorsed by the College Board, giving students the opportunity to take the AP Computer Science Principles exam for college credit.

Computer Science A

Students cultivate their understanding of coding through analyzing, writing, and testing code as they explore concepts like modularity, variables, and control structures. This course is endorsed by the College Board, giving students the opportunity to take the AP Computer Science A exam for college credit.


Whether seeking a career in the growing field of cybersecurity or learning to defend their own personal data or a company’s data, students in Cybersecurity establish an ethical code of conduct while learning to defend data in today’s complex cyberworld.

Virtual Computer Labs Are Available!

PLTW, in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), has collaborated with SynchroNet, an AWS consulting partner, to virtualize software through Amazon’s AppStream 2.0 service. Software used in PLTW courses will now be accessible through virtual computer labs on laptops that did not previously meet the technology requirements. Non-Windows operating systems will require additional hardware to use USB devices featured in PLTW courses.

  • This service reduces dependency on physical computer labs so that you can maximize your time and continue to focus on providing the in-demand, transferable skills students need to thrive in our rapidly evolving world.
  • AppStream 2.0 is a fully managed application and desktop streaming service where your IT team or AWS partner can centrally manage your desktop applications and securely deliver them to any computer.
  • With virtual computer labs through AppStream 2.0, schools will only pay for what their students and teachers use, and any optional implementation support.
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A Transformative Professional Development Experience Centered on Student and Teacher Success

PLTW Computer Science Professional Development is a dynamic learning experience for teachers focused on robust and flexible instructional support, on-demand resources, and a close-knit community of collaboration with fellow educators.

PLTW Computer Science teachers begin their professional development tracks by completing pre-requisite courses that introduce educators to PLTW and provide them with essential foundational knowledge.

Then, through PLTW Virtual Core Training, teachers are empowered to develop the skills and tools they need to inspire students. This training experience is focused on pedagogy and in-depth exploration of the PLTW Computer Science coursework teachers will lead in their classrooms.

Following PLTW Virtual Core Training, PLTW teachers have access to ongoing learning opportunities that help them progress and flourish through online continuing education.

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Student-Centered, Balanced Assessment

Our assessment experts collaborate with classroom teachers and apply industry best practices and methods to design, test, and implement assessments for our network of schools.

PLTW supports a balanced approach to assessment for all programs, integrating both formative and summative assessments that allow teachers to monitor student progress and modify instruction as needed. Through a balanced assessment approach, assessment is an ongoing activity. Students demonstrate their knowledge throughout the course by completing activities, projects, and problems using a variety of assessment tools – such as performance rubrics, reflective questioning, and End-of-Course (EoC) assessments – to deepen and expand their knowledge and skills.

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