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Saturday, November 26, 2022

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A PLTW instructor demonstrates the Jetstream 500 windtunnel A PLTW instructor demonstrates the Jetstream 500 windtunnel

Teachers Head Back to the Classroom

Hundreds of teachers are spending their summer in SDSU classrooms learning to make science education more exciting for students.
By Katie White

More than 300 K-12 teachers from California and around the nation are spending part of their summer at San Diego State University. They are on campus to attend courses through Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a non-profit organization that enhances teacher skills in science and engineering.

PLTW classes take a hands-on approach to teaching. The program’s professional development model is designed to provide dynamic, intensive teacher training in science technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Teachers develop strategies to help their K-12 students learn problem-solving, collaboration and critical and creative thinking.  

“We’ve really increased the number of students who go on to four-year colleges and enroll in STEM majors,” said Steve Streifer, a PLTW participant in the aerospace engineering session who teaches at Chula Vista High School.

“Many students come back to us after they start college and tell us they feel more prepared for their classes than kids from other high schools that did not have the PLTW program.”

Lasting impact

PLTW’s involvement does not end when the summer sessions are over. The program continues to provide guidance and support to teachers through online information databases, refresher workshops, and additional professional development.

In addition to skills training, the summer sessions give teachers the opportunity to network with fellow professionals from various teaching and educational backgrounds.

After the two-week summer sessions at SDSU, teachers return to their classroom with challenging lesson plans that aim to get students interested in careers in STEM fields.

Serving San Diego

Stephen Welter, vice president for research and dean of Graduate Affairs said PLTW is an example of SDSU’s commitment to the San Diego community.

“SDSU is doing its part to increase enrollment in the STEM fields,” he said. “PLTW is one example. Another is our state-of-the-art Engineering and Interdisciplinary Science Complex, due to open in 2018, and designed to develop real-world applications for STEM research.”

This is the 14th consecutive year PLTW sessions are being offered at SDSU, and participants can choose from more than a dozen different classes. The first session wrapped up on July 1. The second PLTW session runs July 10-22. Courses include aerospace engineering, civil engineering and architecture, computer science, automation and robotics, and digital electronics.

About Project Lead the Way

Project Lead the Way is a nonprofit organization that promotes transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. The program was established in 1997, and PLTW has since trained more than 29,000 teachers. More than 8,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. Click here for more information on Project Lead the Way.