August 22, 2012
Granbury ISD celebrated the certification of Project Lead the Way (PLTW), an innovative series of engineering courses during a meeting of business leaders supporting the school district’s career and technical education programs on August 22, 2012.
“The official certification means that our students can earn transcripted college credit upon completion of the course and passing the end-of-course exam,” commented GISD career and technology education director Judy Gentry. “Some of the partner universities include Duke, Arkansas Tech, Iowa State, Penn State, and others.”
Receiving certification after just two years in the program was no easy feat, according to assistant superintendent Carol Howard. GHS is small compared to many U.S. high schools offering the engineering classes.
Leading the charge in the classroom are GHS teachers Jud Griffith and Greg Belleau.
An early supporter of the program was Luminant, which made a $5,000 donation in the spring of 2010. The company’s financial contribution went towards program supplies, but company engineers also have mentored Granbury students during several educational projects. A competitive power generation business, Luminant is a subsidiary of a Dallas-based energy company and operates Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant.
Julie Moore, a representative of the New York-based organization who completed a site audit in May, heaped praise on the GISD team with comments such as “great teachers, great Luminant team, great administrative support” and “excellent job with curriculum, excellent student documentation (student engineering journals), excellent knowledge by all staff.”
“I fully expect this school to continue to progress to become a model PLTW school with master teachers,” Moore concluded.
PLTW prepares students to be productive leaders and to make meaningful, pioneering contributions to our world. The program provides a rigorous education through an engaging, hands-on curriculum and helps students develop problem-solving skills, critical thinking, creative and innovative reasoning, and a love of learning.
In the classes, GHS and Crossland students are building contraptions, learning about drafting and graphic design on the computer, using real lab equipment, and having fun doing it.
Both schools offer an introductory class on engineering design. Students continue through the sequence at the high school with a principles of engineering course. The third class, which centers on civil engineering and architecture, will begin in the 2012-13 school year. The fourth and final capstone course will be offered during the 2013-14.
Acton Middle School and Granbury Middle School students are getting a head start on PLTW through Gateway To Technology (GTT) classes that include an activity-oriented program designed to challenge and engage the natural curiosity of middle school students. The program is taught in conjunction with a rigorous academic curriculum that includes courses on design and modeling, electrons, the science of technology, and automation and robotics.
GTT teachers are Jon Allen and Brad Eppler at AMS and Todd Gibson at GMS.
Pictured above, a group unveils a banner celebrating the PLTW certification. From left to right are retired Luminant executive Mike Blevins, CTE director Judy Gentry, Luminant community relations manager Jan Caldwell, Luminant engineer David Whitsitt, GISD superintendent Dr. James Largent, GISD assistant superintendent Carol Howard, and GHS engineering teacher Jud Griffith.
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