Nine school districts in Missouri are offering K-12 programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through Project Lead the Way (PLTW). They are the first Missouri districts to offer the programs in every grade:
- Butler R-V
- Blue Springs R-IV
- Liberty 53
- Affton 101
- Montgomery County R-II
- McDonald County R-I
“PLTW offers extensive, rigorous training in STEM courses and provides students with a higher order of thinking and collaborative problem solving,” said Jim Hogan, director of engineering and technology in the Office of College and Career Readiness. “We expect more districts to offer these programs next year.”
Project Lead the Way helps schools design activities, projects and problem-based learning experiences to better prepare students to solve problems in STEM fields. For example, in the Ritenour School District, high school students in an introductory course in biomedical science are challenged with solving a fictitious crime by studying DNA, fingerprinting, electrophoresis and other physical evidence. The course lays the foundation for additional biomedical courses in Ritenour.
Missouri's rate of growth in Project Lead the Way programs ranks third nationally behind only Texas and California. More than 370 Missouri schools are participating at the elementary, middle or high school level.
“Industries around our state have told us there is a shortage of qualified STEM workers,” said Hogan. “Missouri is working to prepare students for those careers.”
College and career readiness is one of the primary goals of Missouri’s Top 10 by 20 initiative, an effort to rank among the top 10 states in education performance by 2020.