Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is the leading provider of rigorous and innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education curricular programs used in middle and high schools across the U.S.
STEM education is at the heart of today’s high-tech, high-skill global economy. For America to remain economically competitive, our next generation of leaders -- the students of today -- must develop the critical-reasoning and problem-solving skills that will help make them the most productive in the world.
STEM education programs like the one offered by PLTW engage students in activities-, projects-, and problem-based (APPB) learning, which provides hands-on classroom experiences. Students create, design, build, discover, collaborate and solve problems while applying what they learn in math and science. They're also exposed to STEM fields through professionals from local industries who supplement the real-world aspect of the curriculum through mentorships and workplace experiences.
PLTW's comprehensive curriculum for engineering and biomedical sciences has been collaboratively designed by PLTW teachers, university educators, engineering and biomedical professionals and school administrators to promote critical thinking, creativity, innovation and real-world problem solving skills in students.
The hands-on, project-based engineering courses for high schools and middle schools and biomedical sciences courses for high schools engage students on multiple levels, expose them to areas of study that they typically do not pursue, and provide them with a foundation and proven path to college and career success. The curriculum, delivered through PLTW's Virtual Academy, is provided free of charge to schools that register with PLTW. Classroom equipment -- computer software and kits for hands-on activities -- along with teacher training, which is required, are the main costs related to the program.
The PLTW curriculum is founded in the fundamental problem-solving and critical-thinking skills taught in traditional career and technical education (CTE), but at the same time integrates national academic and technical learning standards and STEM principles, creating what U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan calls one of the "great models of the new CTE succeeding all across the country." PLTW was recently cited by the Harvard Graduate School of Education as a "model for 21st century career and technical education."
More than 4,200 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are offering PLTW courses to their students in the 2011-12 school year. In addition, PLTW has trained more than 10,500 teachers to instruct its engaging, rigorous STEM education curriculum.