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Dr. Molin Introduces “Project Lead the Way”

October 14, 2021

The school board approved the introduction of “Project Lead the Way” to the high school’s course curriculum at the board meeting on Thursday, Sept. 16.

In the second semester, the high school will begin its first course from the organization: Introduction to Engineering.

Principal Kevin Molin explains the role of the course in the high school’s current engineering program.

Project Lead the Way is a project-based program to teach in the STEM Fields. Image Courtesy of PLTW

“We would look to bring in one class: Intro. to Engineering,” said Molin. “It will be incorporated into our current

Basic Design Concepts which is our entry level engineering course. [The class] is designed to put students in the role of an engineer by putting them in real world situations.”

The course includes concepts such as reverse engineering, responsible engineering with a focus on sustainability and the environment, mechanical engineering and also has a unit on using 3D modeling and 3D printers.

Through its many different courses, “Project Lead the Way” has one goal in mind- inspiring and empowering students and teachers in the STEM field.

Molin also describes the organization’s origins and the reasoning behind bringing the program to SHS.

“‘Project Lead the Way,’ for those of you not familiar with it, is a young program,” said Molin. “It is a strong curriculum used by approximately 12,000 schools across the United States… The curriculum we are proposing partly came from personnel changes that we are currently experiencing and is something that we were looking forward to doing over time anyway.”

Nearby schools that currently participate in “Project Lead the Way” include South Western, Dover, York County School of Technology, Donegal and Hempfield High School.

The organization offers five STEM-based programs: Launch, Gateway, Computer Science, Engineering and Biomedical Science.

Molin remarks that the addition of other STEM classes is something that the district hopes to pursue.

“We would ultimately like to bring in two, if not three, of the courses from ‘Project Lead the Way’ to replace our current engineering fields,” said Molin.

Not only does the Intro. to Engineering course create a new way for students to go about their passions in STEM, but it also brings balance, according to Molin.

“One of the things that also attracts us to this particular program is that our previous program was very ‘CAD-heavy’ and mechanical as that was the expertise of that particular teacher,” said Molin. “This curriculum starts to balance the AutoCAD versus the hands-on experience of engineering which is something that excites us and will hopefully excite more and more students to take the class.”

When asked about how the program would be funded, Molin explains that the cost would be covered by federal school funding.

“We have Title IV money that has been given to us by the district [to] offset the costs of this particular curriculum…” said Molin. “This is [because the course is based on] career readiness and skill-based learning.”

The program’s initial cost will be just over $13,000 with a $3,200 participation fee, regardless of the number of the organization’s classes that the district chooses to introduce.

Each year, this would mean that the new curriculum would balance with the costs of the previous engineering classes offered at the high school.

The benefits of “Project Lead the Way” are overwhelmingly clear and the opportunity will be open to all SHS students with the start of the program.

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