POTTSTOWN PA – Students at Pottsgrove High School will have an opportunity during the 2013-2014 academic year to qualify for the Pottsgrove School District’s first high-level science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) course, under an agreement approved Tuesday (April 9, 2013) by the Board of School Directors.
During their first of two monthly meetings, board members approved a contract with Indianapolis IN-based non-profit corporation Project Lead The Way to have it supply the district with the curriculum and materials needed to launch the program. The curriculum itself is provided for free, but the district will pay an annual participation fee for each site at which the course is held.
The exact amount of the fee wasn’t discussed during the board meeting, but district Director of Technology and Communications Michael Wagman later described it as “really pretty small.”
Several other area districts already take advantage of Project Lead The Way materials, Superintendent Shellie Feola told board members last December (2012), as she initially made a case for including a STEM laboratory in proposed renovations of the high school, 1345 Kauffman Rd. A feasibility study of, and potential drawings for, the renovation will be open for public review during the board’s April 23 (Tuesday) meeting in the high school cafeteria.
A description of Project Lead The Way offered by Wagman reports that students in the curriculum “achieve higher scores in reading, mathematics and science and in some cases have the opportunity to receive college credit.” They also earn higher grade point averages as freshmen in college it said.
Project Lad The Way also claims its alumni are studying engineering and technology in greater numbers than the national average, with a higher retention rate in college engineering, science and related programs than non-program students.
Not all STEM students go on to engineering and technology related fields of study, Pottsgrove cautions. However, Feola and high school Principal Yolanda Williams both have advocated STEM courses because they contend students will have opportunities to see the relevance of, and apply their learning in, their other traditional courses to solve problems.
Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ April 9 meeting):