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WPI is the Massachusetts Affiliate University for Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. Each summer WPI offers PLTW core training to prepare educators to teach PLTW courses. WPI hosts the Project Lead the Way Networking Conference, and provides ongoing support to PLTW schools in MA and other New England states.

Below is information on the Project Lead The Way curriculum, how to become a PLTW school, the  conference, corporate support opportunities, and how WPI students can earn college credit.

What is PLTW?

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) creates an engaging environment and empowers students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in an evolving world. Through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, K-12 students learn problem-solving strategies, critical and creative thinking, and how to communicate and collaborate through hands-on activities, projects, and problems reflective of real-world scenarios and careers.

Considering PLTW implementation?

The PLTW curriculum is offered in over 10,000 schools, including 300 in Massachusetts. PLTW curricular programs are aligned to national standards, including the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts.

To help you make a decision on PLTW's appropriateness for your district or school, be sure to thoroughly review PLTW's webpage that details the steps to starting a PLTW curricular program. You will find information on all the offerings including course descriptions, outlines, resumes, and standards alignment. Plus you can get information on the necessary investment, register your district or school, and access the PLTW Implementation Guide. If you have questions after reviewing the materials, contact Suzie Snow​, PLTW's Director of School Engagement for Massachusetts.

Please note: Although some MA high schools have chosen to run PLTW as a Chapter 74 curricular program, PLTW courses are considered part of the general education courses in a comprehensive high school. Most often PLTW high school courses are offered as electives.

Already a PLTW school?

The PLTW Program Support and Resources webpages have a wealth of information to help your PLTW program thrive.

PLTW Core Training for Teachers

WPI hosts PLTW core training each summer. Details for WPI's annual core training for Summer 2019 will be announced in the fall of 2018.

Massachusetts teachers should not go out-of-state for PLTW core training unless the course desired is not offered at WPI or the teacher has extenuating circumstances that make it impossible to attend WPI's core training.

By attending core training you will earn the certification required to teach the PLTW course in which you participate. This intensive professional development provides the following:

  • Exposure to the curriculum and other PLTW teaching resources
  • Practice learning the course-specific software and projects 
  • Opportunity to network with other PLTW teachers
  • Option for middle and high school teachers to earn graduate credit for select courses

To attend PLTW core training you must complete the following process:

  1. Before registering for core training, your district must have returned their signed PLTW Agreement to PLTW headquarters, and you must be a registered PLTW teacher in your school's PLTW record. Once you receive an email from PLTW with access to your myPLTW account, you are ready to proceed to step 3.
  2. If you are unaware of having a myPLTW account, you should check with your PLTW Program or Site Coordinator (designated by your district) to confirm that you have been added as a PLTW teacher for your school. If you need help identifying these people, please contact the PLTW Solution Center at solutioncenter@pltw.org (877-335-7589) M-F 7am-11pm EST.
  3. Ideally by the end of April, follow page two of these step-by-step instructions to register with PLTW for the core trainings you want to attend. Seats are limited, and first come, first served!
  4. Finally complete the required online prerequisites. This should be done on the laptop you will bring to Core Training at WPI (see the minimum computer specs for the appropriate PLTW program). This e-Learning experience can take 4 to 24 hours to complete depending on the course and your background. We highly recommend you complete it soon to get a better understanding of PLTW, your specific course, and the software the course will utilize.

Corporate Support Opportunities

Today’s high-tech companies realize the importance of providing students with not only a solid foundation in understanding and using technology, but also with the skills to apply that technology in solving problems. PLTW schools believe a rigorous curriculum challenges students to succeed and that hands-on, project-based courses lead to a methodical approach to solving open-ended problems.

There are many ways in which business and industry members may become involved with and support PLTW schools in Massachusetts. You can partner with WPI on our efforts, join a district's PLTW Partnership Team, host a school field trip, judge student projects or speak in the classroom, etc. Corporate gifts and/or equipment and material donations are also greatly appreciated by PLTW schools. To learn more about these opportunities, contact us at pop@wpi.edu to discuss your interest.

Earning College Credit for PLTW Engineering High School Classes

COVID-19 UPDATE: ALL PLTW End-of-Course assessments have been canceled for the 2020 school year. For classes taken in the 2019-2020 school year, WPI Undergraduate Credit eligibility will be based ONLY on course grades. Please note: a minimum course grade of a “B” is required, a course taken for “pass/fail” will not be accepted.

Project Lead The Way offers high school students who have passed minimum requirements the unique opportunity to obtain college credit for their PLTW courses!

Earn WPI undergraduate credit free of charge: 

Eligible PLTW High School Courses
WPI Course Equivalents
Introduction to Engineering Design (IED) ES1310
Principles of Engineering (POE) ES1020
Civil Engineering and Architecture (CEA) CE1000/PLTW CEA
Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) ME1800
Digital Electronics (DE) ECE1000/PLTW DE

Eligibility Requirements: 

You must meet all of the following requirements: 

  • Be a current WPI student
  • Completed one of the eligible PLTW Engineering courses in high school
  • A minimum of a "B" in the course and
  • Earned on the PLTW End-of-Course Assessment either a stanine score of 6 or higher (before July 2018) or a minimum scale score of 410 for IED, 410 for POE, 420 for CEA, 430 for CIM, or 450 for DE. **waived for the 2019-2020 school year**

As deemed appropriate, WPI also honors PLTW transfer credits from other select PLTW university partners, such as RIT. WPI cannot accept credit from NHTI Concord’s Community College since they do not factor in the PLTW End-of-Course Assessment scores when awarding credit. However, students with NHTI credit or PLTW credit from other higher education institutions are still eligible for WPI credit by having their course grades and End-of-Course Assessment scores reviewed by WPI.

If you have questions about WPI's policy for PLTW credit or wish to apply for credit please contact Stephanie Cunningham at scunningham@wpi.edu.