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SASD Awarded $100K for Engineering Program

The Sheboygan Area School District was recently notified that it will be awarded a $100,000 Kern Family Foundation Grant for PLTW (Project Lead the Way), a program designed to increase the quality and quantity of U.S. engineering talent.

The Kern Family Foundation’s mission includes the objectives of enhancing the lives of others by promoting educational excellence as well as high quality, innovative engineering talent.

The funds will provide the necessary resources to fully implement PLTW at all three of SASD’s middle schools and at both Sheboygan North and South High Schools.

Project Lead the Way is a statewide initiative involving government agencies in education, workforce development and commerce, two- and four-year college and university systems, the business sector, the philanthropic sector and middle and high schools. First introduced in the 1997-98 school year in 12 upstate New York high schools, PLTW now offers programs in 2,700 schools across all 50 states.

It is focused on introducing and preparing middle and high school students for engineering and technical careers of the future. Particularly, PLTW provides a high rigor, project-based curriculum meeting national science and math standards, professional development for teachers and guidance counselors and a comprehensive national support network. PLTW courses are accessible to college-bound engineering students as well as students who may not have thought of college and a career in a technical field. The courses aim to instill problem-solving, teamwork, communication and leadership skills in students as well as help them build the math, science and technology skills to prepare for and succeed in tomorrow’s careers.

The Kern Family Foundation in Waukesha, Wis., is one source of funding for PLTW pilot sites in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. Established by entrepreneurial engineer and businessman Robert Kern, and his wife, Patricia, the Kern Family Foundation serves as a catalyst for change with a focus on productive citizenship.

“To keep our economy globally competitive and maintain our standard of living, it is critical to have our students consider engineering and technical fields as career choices,” states Bob Kern. “In our research we learned Project Lead the Way has a proven, easy-to-implement program that provides students, parents, teachers and schools with the tools needed to make this happen. We’re happy to help schools with initial funding and expect that other business leaders, foundations and state resources will come forward to maintain and sustain successful PLTW programs at schools in the future.”

As part of the grant, principals are expected to attend a PLTW grant meeting on February 24 in Appleton, Wis.

Sheboygan Area School District Press Release
January 29, 2009