Project Lead the Way—now offered in every grade in every AAPS school—to be featured tonight at King Elementary


Story, video and photos by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor

What’s all this excitement about Project Lead the Way?

The King School Improvement Team will answer that question tonight when it features the project-based program at its annual parent education night.

“The Power of PLTW: Hands-on Learning in Our Science Curriculum” will be held at the school from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The evening will begin with Ann Arbor Public School’s K-12 PLTW coordinator Tom Pachera, who will address the district’s vision for this work, and how it will continue through high school.

King second grade teacher Reema Jarjoura looks on as students explore coding.

The evening will also include grade-level break-out sessions, where parents will have the opportunity to more fully understand the depth and breadth of their child’s PLTW experience in the Young 5’s through fifth grade years.

     Principal Mary Cooper said the evening is an answer to parents’ curiosity about their children’s enthusiasm for PLTW.
     “The kids are going home and telling their families about the cool PLTW projects, and parents want to know what all the excitement is about,” said Cooper. “We have many families whose work involves math, engineering, and/or science. We want parents and guardians to see that PLTW gives children access to real-world, hands-on learning that empowers them to be problem-solvers.”
     She said parents will be impressed with what their children create in PLTW.  As is she.
     “I’m impressed every day by students’ thinking, collaboration, and perseverance,” she said.
King second graders learn to code.
     PLTW in Ann Arbor is thriving, says the district’s PLTW coordinator, Tom Pachera.
     “We successfully completed our first year of full implementation, in every building, K-12, during the 2016-2017 school year,” he said.  “As our student enrollment has risen in the district so has our number of PLTW courses being offered.”
     For the 2017-2018 school year, the district offers:
  • Added sections at almost every K-5 Building
  • A new course at our K-8 buildings and Middle schools, Computer Science for Innovators and Makers
  • A new Course in Bio-Medical Engineering at several of our Middle Schools called Medical Detectives
  • A new course at Huron High School, Aerospace Engineering
  • A new course at Skyline at Skyline High School, Computer Integrated Manufacturing
  • PLTW courses at Mitchell, Scarlett, and Huron have successfully partnered with the International Baccalaureate programs: PYP, MYP, DP, and have applied for CP as well.
     PLTW has been a critical component to our STEAM Education in AAPS, but is only one component, said Pachera.
     “STEAM Education is a cultural shift, a way of thinking and doing,” he said. “STEAM is  creativity, communication, critical thinking, collaboration, curiosity, and compassion.  STEAM will help us prepare our students for jobs and careers that don’t exist today but will in the future.”

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