South Park High School Leads the Way in 21st Century Education

South Park High School Leads the Way in 21st Century Education
Posted on 03/07/2018
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South Park High School has been named a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Distinguished School–an honor given to just seven high schools in Pennsylvania and 133 high schools nationwide. South Park High School earned the recognition for its work to increase student access, engagement and achievement in its PLTW engineering program. PLTW, a nonprofit organization, serves millions of K-12 students and teachers in more than 10,500 schools across the United States.

South Park High School offers a four-level honors engineering pathway in ninth through twelfth grades. Mr. Dave Bailey teaches the freshmen- and sophomore-level courses (introduction to engineering design and principles of engineering) in the pathway. Students in introduction to engineering design focus on the engineering design process, parametric 3D modeling and reverse engineering. In principles of engineering, students explore a wide range of engineering topics in this rigorous course in applied physics. 

Mr. Ryan Siniawski teaches the junior- and senior-level courses. Juniors in digital electronics delve into circuit design and Boolean logic. The senior-level engineering design and development class is utilized as a research, development and prototyping course.

“Year after year, we always hear such positive feedback of our engineering pathway from graduates who are enrolled in four-year engineering programs,” said Mr. Siniawski. “They have a leg up on their peers because of the applied engineering and technology education program and resources we offer here at South Park. Mr. Bailey and I are very proud of our student successes and honored to accept this validation. We are lucky to have such motivated students and the unwavering support of both our building and district administrators.”

To earn the PLTW Distinguished School recognition, a school must meet the following criteria:

  • Offer at least three PLTW courses
  • Have 25 percent or more students participate in PLTW courses, or of those who participated in PLTW, at least 33 percent took two or more PLTW courses
  • Have 70 percent or more of students earn a proficient or higher on PLTW end-of-course assessments or 10 percent of students earn the AP + PLTW Student Achievement.

Last school year, the South Park High School PLTW program had a 55 percent retention rate of students who have taken two or more courses in the engineering pathway. Ninety percent of South Park High School students earned a proficient on the PLTW end-of-course assessment.

“The Project Lead the Way engineering pathway at South Park High School prepares our students for twenty-first century careers,” said South Park High School Principal Dr. David S. Palmer. “This recognition highlights the efforts of Mr. Bailey and Mr. Siniawski to grow this engaging and successful curriculum at South Park.”

Mr. Bailey and Mr. Siniawski are leaders in their respective programs and have presented their unique classroom approaches at regional PLTW conferences.

“Students in our Project Lead the Way engineering program are true innovators because of the hands-on, real-world experience they gain in the classroom every day,” said South Park School District Superintendent Mr. Wayne Gdovic. “This now nationally recognized program is just one example of the South Park School District’s commitment to provide the opportunities and resources for our students to succeed.”

Mr. Bailey and Mr. Siniawski will be recognized at the Board of School Directors meeting on Thursday, March 15, 2018. The district’s high school website will now feature the PLTW designation badge.

About PLTW
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. More than 10,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, pltw.org

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