CHELMSORD, MA – Chelmsford Public Schools received recognition from Project Lead the Way (PLTW) for offering STEM courses in all of the district’s schools. This year Byam, Center, Harrington and South Row Elementary school students join the Chelmsford middle schools and high school as they participate in this nationwide program. Students will learn Coding through the Launch Computer Science modules for all students K-4. PLTW awarded each of the Chelmsford elementary schools a capacity grant which funds teacher training as well as funds to purchase equipment in order to implement STEM curriculum. The grants are supported by Massachusetts Administration, Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, the One8 Foundation, and Mass STEM Hub.
Chelmsford Public School Technology instructors attended the PLTW Launch professional development at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in July 2019. Throughout the Fall, they have been teaching grade 3 and 4 students to program in the computer labs each week. In January, grades K,1 and 2 will receive similar lessons in all four elementary schools.
Department Coordinator, Marilyn Sweeney Ed.D., has been working closely with MassSTEMHub over the last few years to bring PLTW to Chelmsford. Dr. Marilyn Sweeney described Chelmsford’s PLTW initiative by saying “Project Lead the Way is a premier nationwide rigorous curriculum filled with hands-on, project-based lessons. We provide this technology and computer science curriculum as part of the Digital Learning and Computer Science curriculum for all Kindergarten-Grade 8 Chelmsford students. Our elementary and middle school students say they really enjoy the activities and want more. We expect this enthusiasm will carry over to choosing the PLTW electives at the high school in Computer Science and Engineering PLTW courses. These valuable courses will position students for success in college and careers since high-tech industries seek out skilled computer science and engineering graduates.”
McCarthy and Parker Middle Schools offer PLTW courses known as Gateway to grade 7 and 8 which are taught by Pam O’Meara (McCarthy) and Kevin McFarland (Parker), Grade 7 students are enrolled in the Design and Modeling course where students are introduced to CAD programming and 3-D printing. Grade 8 students learn Automation and Robotics where they work with VEX equipment creating first pull toys and then automating them using code.
At Chelmsford High School Dave Steeves, teaches two PLTW courses: Introduction to Engineering (IED) and Principles of Engineering (POE) where students use Autodesk software provided by PLTW to design in 3D and either 3D print their creation or use VEX equipment to build devices such as marble sorters among other projects. For Computer Science in Chelmsford High School, Nancy Kiernan-Bell teaches the Project Lead the Way course, AP Computer Science Principles. Students gain valuable career advice along with STEM skills as they participate in the courses.
“Engaging our students throughout their K-12 school years with hands-on lessons in science, engineering, computer science, technology and math will prepare them for success after high school and strengthen the Massachusetts workforce,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, who co-chairs the STEM Advisory Council.
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for PreK-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. Approximately 11,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit pltw.org.
About Chelmsford Public Schools
The Chelmsford Public School District provides all students with multiple pathways to optimize their own potential for academic excellence, leadership, and social and emotional wellness. The mission of the Chelmsford Public Schools is to educate, engage, prepare, and empower well-rounded and knowledgeable learners to PERSEVERE through challenges, demonstrate RESPECT and INTEGRITY in their words and actions, are DEDICATED to their community, and display EMPATHY as global citizens while discovering and pursuing their full potential. This PRIDE-driven culture enables all members of the school community to support the growth and development of students. For more information, please visit www.chelmsford.k12.ma.us.