The Conference included a Friday evening Banquet at Old Hickory Golf Club in St. Peters that included guest speakers Governor Jay Nixon and Education Commissioner Dr. Margie Vandeven.
Teachers, administrators and counselors from across Missouri and surrounding states attended sessions on PLTW teaching fundamentals and collaborated on ways to engage more students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In addition, educators learned strategic ways to promote PLTW and create corporate partnerships within their communities to ultimately benefit students.
“This was a tremendous opportunity for the WSD to showcase our facilities and our commitment to STEM initiatives,” said Superintendent Dr. Curtis Cain. “PLTW programs provide our students with career exposure and preparation in high demanding global fields as well as connections with corporate mentors and community members. It’s vital that our students have access to PLTW classes so they can develop the critical thinking and problem solving skills that will enable them to be tomorrow’s leaders.”
Dr. Vandeven spoke Saturday morning at the conference, sharing how proud she is of Missouri’s advances in STEM initiatives, yet conceding there is still more work to be done to reach the State’s “Top 10 by 20” goal. Dr. Vince Bertram, President and CEO of PLTW, gave the keynote address at the conference. Dr. Bertram is a highly sought-after speaker and has addressed national and international audiences on the issues of STEM education, workforce, and the economy. In 2014, he was appointed by the U.S. Department of State to serve as the education expert for its United States Speaker and Specialist Program. Dr. Bertram spoke to the critical need for problem-solving skills at all grade levels, regardless of a child’s career path.
PLTW is a non-profit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers through hands-on activities, projects, and problems reflective of real-world scenarios and careers. The Wentzville School District has offered PLTW courses since 2007 and currently offers all three strands (engineering, biomedical and computer science). The WSD high schools have all received PLTW National Certification and two master teachers, Meghan Aydelott and Ashley Gregory, have been recognized as Outstanding PLTW teachers at the state level.
Studies show that students who participate in PLTW programs have a better understanding of math and science concepts and are more likely to pursue STEM-related majors and careers. More than 9,000 schools across the United States offer PLTW curriculum.