The Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation recently announced that for the third year in a row, it reached its fundraising target to support the implementation and expansion of the Project Lead the Way Launch Elementary STEM curriculum in the district’s six elementary schools. This year the Foundation raised $100,000, bringing its total contribution to this initiative to over $300,000 in three years.
Since 2015, Bartlesville Public Schools has expanded its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program. Several high school STEM courses and all of the middle school STEM courses use national curricula from Project Lead the Way (PLTW). Both Bartlesville middle schools and Bartlesville High School have been named Distinguished Schools in the PLTW program.
Over the past two years, all kindergarten through fifth grade teachers at each of the district’s six elementary schools were trained to implement computer science modules with their students with funding from the Foundation and several other community partners, including ConocoPhillips.
During the 2018-19 school year, private funding covered most of the costs to expand the program at the elementary level to include biomedical and engineering modules.
With funds raised this year, the district will add two additional engineering modules to every K-5 classroom during the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years, resulting in a total of four STEM modules being part of every child’s education from kindergarten through fifth grade.
Once implementation of the program is complete in the district’s elementary schools, the district’s goal is for all of its school sites to be named PLTW Distinguished Schools.
In PLTW courses, students apply science, technology, engineering, and math in a hands-on approach to solve complex, open-ended problems in a real-world context. Students focus on the process of defining and solving a problem, not on getting the “right” answer. The instructor takes on a facilitator role and the students participate in self-directed and cooperative learning activities which allows for creativity and critical thinking. PLTW courses are aligned to the career pathways of engineering, computer science, and biomedical science. Courses are designed to be taught in conjunction with a rigorous academic curriculum.
The district is building a continuous STEM pathway for students from elementary through high school so that Bartlesville students will be well-prepared for in-demand, high wage, high skill jobs and careers.
The Foundation and the district are thankful to the community for its continued generosity in making this program possible, particularly community partners like ConocoPhillips, Truity Education Foundation, Arvest, Bartlesville Community Foundation, Lowe Education Foundation, and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company.