After years of producing students well prepared to go on to college or a career in the STEM and engineering fields, Assabet Valley has recently announced a pilot program, the Engineering Academy, designed to offer a Certificate Program in Engineering/STEM, exclusive of any one technical program.
“For nine years, we have been offering students college credit in engineering; in fact, a freshman enrolling in our Introduction to Engineering Design course, by merely paying $150, is also enrolling at New Hampshire Technical Institute (NHTI) for four transcripted, transferrable college credits, because all of our Project Lead the Way (PLTW) instructors are adjunct professors at NHTI,” explained Chuck DuPont, one of the engineering instructors.
With this new pilot program, students interested in an engineering pathway will be identified as such and will take a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum rich in all STEM disciplines throughout all four years at Assabet Valley. The coursework will be structured around Assabet’s six PLTW engineering courses, which have been nationally certified since 2005, and the upper level math and science courses. In addition, students will be required to go beyond the normal graduation requirements and add in a fourth year of science, with at least 12 credits in the STEM electives or an approved Virtual High School or dual enrollment course, and at least one full year in a STEM enrichment club, such as Robotics, the Math Team, etc.
Long term goals for the new Engineering Academy will include at least one internship at a local STEM based company, and a mentoring program between upper class students and the underclassmen. Building team leadership, project management, and high-tech workplace communication skills will enhance the students’ marketability to both colleges and the workforce. With the engineering and AP math and science courses already in the program of studies, and four nationally certified PLTW teachers already on staff, launching this Engineering Academy pilot program for the 2014-2015 school year seemed the obvious next step for student success.
Assabet Valley Academic Director Rob McCann is very excited about the prospects for this next phase of the Engineering and STEM program.
“We already have had 23 students this year enroll for college credit through our PLTW courses. In terms of taking our engineering program to the next level, I look at three main factors: curriculum, support, and the importance of earning a Certificate of Proficiency. We have had the curriculum in place for many years with PLTW engineering courses and upper level/Advanced Placement courses in Math and Science. This pilot will be the foundation for building the support for these students in terms of guidance for selecting the appropriate program of studies and with creating a cohort of like-minded students and student mentors interested in discussing engineering. Finally, students who complete this rigorous and exciting engineering program are going to earn a Certificate of Proficiency and important recognition on their transcript which will really mean something to college recruiters and prospective employers. This is going to be a really special opportunity for those students interested in the STEM disciplines.”
Submitted by Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School.