IUPUI serves as a core training hub for Project Lead The Way

IUPUI partnered with Project Lead The Way this summer to provide PLTW professional development through 26 different course offerings for more than 640 pre-K-12 teachers from across the United States.

IUPUI is one of a carefully selected group of organizations across the nation chosen as training partners for PLTW, a nonprofit organization that provides transformative learning experiences for pre-K-12 students and teachers through pathways in computer science, engineering and biomedical science. IUPUI is located in Indianapolis, one of PLTW's training hubs, selected based on ease of travel, convenient access to amenities and opportunities like embedded industry experiences to enrich the training experience.

High school teacher engages in Project Lead The Way training at IUPUIView print quality image
More than 600 teachers engaged in Project Lead The Way training at IUPUI this summer. Photo courtesy of Project Lead The Way

PLTW professional development is a foundational element of PLTW programs, providing teachers with the support and resources they need to devote more time to inspiring students. It is a prerequisite for each teacher who instructs PLTW courses.

While attending PLTW professional development, teachers learn from trained PLTW master teachers and gain the content knowledge and pedagogy to lead their students through PLTW's activity-, project- and problem-based curriculum. They also connect with other teachers from across the U.S. and gain real-world business and industry experiences to take back to their classrooms.

"We are proud to partner with IUPUI to empower teachers to lead students in real-world career learning," said PLTW President and Chief Executive Officer Vince Bertram. "Together, we're helping teachers make connections between their classrooms and careers so they can share that with students as they build transportable skills that will prepare them to thrive in our evolving world."

Since 2007, PLTW and IUPUI have partnered to provide PLTW core training for the PLTW biomedical science curriculum in the School of Science at IUPUI, with more than 1,000 teachers from across the country completing the training. In 2019, PLTW launched a new model of professional development for teachers through a national selection process for PLTW hub sites.

In addition to the high school biomedical sciences, IUPUI is now hosting a range of high school engineering courses and computer science courses such as cybersecurity.

"Having engineering as a part of our PLTW core training for the first time is very exciting, and we are looking forward to helping so many grade school teachers prepare to be an impactful part of their students' future engineering endeavors," said Darrell Nickolson, assistant clinical professor of architectural technology for the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI and PLTW's engineering affiliate director. "The amount of work these core training attendees and master teachers put in during these one- and two-week sessions is very impressive, and I am honored to be a part of the process."

IUPUI is hosting gateway courses such as Medical Detectives and App Inventor to promote engagement, collaboration and comprehension in middle school classrooms along with the elementary school Launch curriculum, an integrated project-based approach to math and science for grades K-5.

"Project Lead The Way reinvigorates you as an educator and shows you different ways to teach lessons with activities and problem-based lessons," said Ruth Truluck, training success manager for PLTW. "I think it impacts teachers in any subject they teach as they start reflecting about how students learn and what really gets them excited."

Truluck is a high school science teacher in South Carolina who this summer served as the training success manager for PLTW's biomedical sciences program at IUPUI.

High school teachers can earn Purdue graduate credit at IUPUI for PLTW courses in biomedical sciences, engineering and computer science, with a full tuition and fee rebate provided by the Hoosier STEM Academy -- a partnership funded, in part, by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. High school students who enroll at IUPUI can earn college credit for successful completion of PLTW courses in high school.

"Project-based learning is a vital component in developing critical and creative thinking," said Kathleen A. Marrs, associate professor of biology in the School of Science and PLTW's biomedical sciences affiliate director. "Professional development offered through PLTW will not only help teachers build their own skills but will also translate well into classroom instruction to help students succeed in school and in life. The School of Science and the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI are committed to increasing K-12 and college student access, engagement and achievement through our PLTW partnership."

Research demonstrates that PLTW students outperform their peers in school, are better prepared for postsecondary studies, and are more likely to consider careers as scientists, technology experts, engineers, mathematicians, health care providers and researchers. In addition, PLTW high school graduates are nearly three times as likely to major in STEM subjects versus non-PLTW graduates.

About Project Lead The Way

Project Lead The Way is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for pre-K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, 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. Approximately 11,500 elementary, middle and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs.

More information about PLTW core training at IUPUI is online.

Candace Gwaltney is the associate director of communications for the School of Science at IUPUI.