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Project Lead the Way
Project Lead the Way

What is Project Lead The Way? Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a not-for-profit organization that promotes pre-engineering courses for high school students. PLTW forms partnerships with public schools, higher education institutions and the private sector to increase the quantity and quality of engineers and engineering technologists graduating from our educational system. The PLTW staff, with the help of consultants and advice from both industry and staff from higher education institutions has developed a four-unit curriculum for middle schools, and a four-year (five-course) curriculum for high schools. These curricula expose students to the rigor and content of a pre-engineering curriculum that should both interest more students in careers in these fields and promote greater success in collegiate programs.

The Project Lead The Way program is offered at:
Patrick Henry High School, South High School, Southwest High School, Transition Plus, and Washburn High School.

Why is Project Lead The Way promoting engineering and engineering technology courses for high school students?
There is a critical shortage of engineers and engineering technologists entering the field at a time when technology is reinventing itself every few years. The number of job openings is increasing due to the expansion of jobs in the technical fields and the increasing numbers of engineers who are retiring.

What is the Mission of PLTW?
To forge a dynamic and on-going partnership among school districts, colleges and universities, and industry that will establish and support a pre-engineering education career cluster program in America's high schools, exciting students about engineering careers and strengthening traditional academic programs with hands-on learning experiences.

What are PLTW's Goals?
Project Lead The Way has the following stated goals:
Increase the number of young people who pursue engineering and engineering technology programs requiring a four or two-year college degree. Provide clear standards and expectations for student success in the program. Provide leadership and support that will produce continuous improvement and innovation in the program. Provide equitable and inclusive opportunities for all academically qualified students without regard to gender or ethnic origin. Reduce the future college attrition rates within four and two-year engineering and engineering technology degree programs. Contribute to the continuance of America's national prosperity.

What are the High School courses in the PLTW program?
There are 5 courses in the PLTW High School Pre-engineering Program, as follows:

Introduction to Engineering Design: A course that teaches problem-solving skills using a design development process for products. Models of product solutions are created, analyzed and communicated using solid modeling computer design software. In NYS, the course is called Design and Drawing for Production and follows the syllabus developed by the State Education Department.

Digital Electronics: A course in applied logic that encompasses the application of electronic circuits and devices. Computer simulation software is used to design and test digital circuitry prior to the actual construction of circuits and devices.

Computer Integrated Manufacturing: A course that applies principles of robotics and automation. The course builds on computer solid modeling skills developed in Introduction to Engineering Design, and Design and Drawing for Production. Students use CNC equipment to produce actual models of their three-dimensional designs. Fundamental concepts of robotics used in automated manufacturing, and design analysis are included.

Principles of Engineering: A course that helps students understand the field of engineering/engineering technology. Exploring various technology systems and manufacturing processes helps students learn how engineers and technicians use math, science and technology in an engineering problem solving process to benefit people. The course also includes concerns about social and political consequences of technological change.

Engineering Design and Development: An engineering research course in which students work in teams to research, design and construct a solution to an open-ended engineering problem. Students apply principles developed in the four preceding courses and are guided by a community mentor. They must present progress reports, submit a final written report and defend their solutions to a panel of outside reviewers at the end of the school year.

Introduction to Computer Science: A course designed for students who have never programmed before. Students work in teams to create apps for mobile devices using MIT App Inventor, and explore the impact of computing in society and build skills in digital citizenship and cybersecurity. Students build coputational thinking skills by applying computer science to collaboration tools, modeling and simulation, and data analysis. Students will also develope text-based programming skills using Pyton to create algorithms for games of chance and strategy.

Computer Science Principles: Using Python as a primary tool and incorporating multiple platforms and languagees for computation, this course aims to devleop computational thinking, develop programming expertise and explore the workings of the Internet. Projects and problems include app development, visualization of data, cybersecurity, and simulation.

For additional information about PLTW course offerings and other CTE programs of study, CONTACT:

Sara Etzel, Director CTE / STEM Strategies - Sara.Etzel@mpls.k12.mn.us or

Paul Klym, Perkins TOSA/Career Development Coordinator - Paul.Klym@mpls.k12.mn.us

Henry High School
4320 Newton Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55412
Contact: David Sylvestre - David.Sylvestre@mpls.k12.mn.us
Phone: 612-668-2000
Fax: 612-668-1993

South High School
3131 - 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Contact:  Jesse Sirovy - Jesse.Sirovy@mpls.k12.mn.us
Phone: 612-668-4322

Southwest High School
3414 - 47th Street West
Minneapolis, MN 55410
Contact:  Gabe Pass - Gabriel.Pass@mpls.k12.mn.us
Phone: 612-668-3030

Transition Plus
3320 Elliott Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 554072
Contact: Mary Bock - Mary.Bock@mpls.k12.mn.us
Phone: 612-668-4100

Washburn High School
201 West 49th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55409
Contact:  Mark LeFeber - Mark.Lefeber@mpls.k12.mn.us
Phone: 612-668-3400

Project Lead The Way (click to enlarge photo)