Stamford, CT - The Academy of Information Technology & Engineering (AITE) announced Thursday that it has received its second national certification for its Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program, which it has offered since 2009. AITE adds Biomedical Sciences to its already certified Pathway to Engineering, pre-engineering program, making it one of only two high schools in the state to offer and be certified in both biomedical sciences and pre-engineering programs.
The national PLTW recognition program distinguishes schools for successfully demonstrating a commitment to PLTW’s national standards. Additionally, certification as a PLTW school provides students with the opportunity to apply for college credit or receive college-level recognition at PLTW affiliate universities when they successfully complete select PLTW courses in high school. PLTW has more than 40 affiliate college and university partners, including the University of New Haven in Connecticut.
PLTW, a nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading provider of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education programs, offers a rigorous world-class curriculum that allows students to apply what they are learning in math and science class to real-life engineering and biomedical science projects. PLTW also prides itself on high-quality professional development of its teachers and an engaged network of business, community and university partners to give students the fullest experience.
“We’ve seen how the PLTW program draws more students into the biomedical sciences and gets them thinking about college and their careers.” said Paul L. Gross, principal of AITE. “We are extremely proud to be PLTW certified and ecstatic that our students are eligible for college-level recognition, which may include college credit for select PLTW courses, scholarships and admissions preference.”
In order to remain competitive in the global economy, America needs approximately 400,000 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) college graduates annually, according to a National Business Roundtable report. Currently, the United States is graduating only 265,000 annually. PLTW is providing students with the skills, foundation, and proven path to college and career success in STEM areas to increase the number of STEM graduates.
The certification process required Gross and a team comprising teachers, staff, students, and members of the community to submit a self-assessment of the school’s implementation of PLTW’s Biomedical Sciences (BMS) program. A PLTW-trained team then visited the school and met with teachers, school administrators, counselors, students, and members of the school’s Partnership Team. A PLTW school’s Partnership Team (sometimes referred to as an Advisory Council) is comprised of teachers, counselors, administrators, post-secondary representatives, business and industry professionals, and other community members who actively support the PLTW program within a school.
“AITE should be congratulated for demonstrating once again its commitment to PLTW’s quality standards,” said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram. “The real winners here, however, are the students. Students benefit from PLTW’s innovative, project-based curriculum that encourages creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking. We look forward to many more years of working together to prepare AITE students to become the most innovative and productive in the world.”
AITE science teacher, Lataya Berry, said, “The beauty of PLTW courses is that our kids get to experience how a concept they learned in science applies to a real-world project. In class, there are no lectures – kids are exploring the concepts of human medicine, mapping and analyzing DNA, and designing innovative solutions for the health challenges of the 21st century. That is the kind of hands-on experience that will engage more students in fields that they might otherwise never have considered.” The school has begun a career interest program in Health Information Technology to prepare its interested students in a critical, evolving medical industry career opportunity.