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Summer School With a Twist: STEM teachers expand tool set through Project Lead the Way

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July 11, 2012

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Each summer at IUPUI, high school teachers from across Indiana become “students” again in the School of Science. Through hands-on experimentation and discovery, Project Lead the Way provides science teachers the tools they need to implement valuable knowledge in their high school classrooms. Those same teachers leave excited about their role in changing the face of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education across the state, says Beverly Ransdell, a retired Arsenal Tech High School teacher and Coordinator of Project Lead the Way in Indianapolis.

Ransdell goes on to say:

More than 100 teachers will participate in this summer’s intense training, living and working together on campus as part of the national education program July 9 to 20. Project Lead the Way offers workshops in engineering and biomedical science. It is designed to enhance interest in STEM fields among students and teachers while also addressing the country’s growing need to increase academic performance in these areas.

Since 1997, the program has served more than 400,000 students and more than 10,000 teachers in all 50 states. The results are clear: Students who complete the courses in high school pursue STEM fields at nearly 10 times the average rate and typically achieve much higher test and retention rates than those who do not participate.

Participating teachers are able to master some tangible skills to produce the results that drew many of them to the classroom in the first place. While so many headlines debate what the country needs to do to improve STEM performance and increase the competitiveness of our students, Project Lead the Way serves as a reminder of the progress our teachers and students continue to make.

The national headquarters of Project Lead the Way recently relocated to Indianapolis, a beneficial move for the booming life and health sciences industries in Indiana. The bar is set high for students and teachers to achieve more and push further than ever before. Hoosier employers should be excited that a new generation of critical thinkers and problems solvers is being formed to approach the challenges that will sustain the future of our state for generations to come.