Mass. Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray today announced the state's support for Worcester Polytechnic Institute's (WPI) Project Lead The Way, a nationally-acclaimed Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum for grades 6-12. The announcement was made during the National Governors Association’s (NGA) Center for Best Practices conference in Boston, which was attended by officials from more than a dozen states.
WPI’s Project Lead The Way was one of six statewide STEM initiatives receiving the @Scale endorsements as part of the Massachusetts Statewide STEM Education, Jobs, and Workforce Initiative. Martha Cyr, Director of K-12 outreach at WPI and Affiliate Director of Project Lead The Way, was on hand at today’s event to receive the endorsement.
"As we encourage more students to pursue careers in STEM fields, it is imperative that we create lasting partnerships that will provide students with the right tools and resources to gain an appreciation and interest in STEM education," Murray said. "These selected STEM initiatives will build a pipeline for success between elementary and secondary education to post-secondary education and careers in Massachusetts’ growing innovation economy for students in all regions of the Commonwealth."
In March, Massachusetts was identified as a national model for STEM education initiatives and partnered with the NGA's Center for Best Practices, as the Center looks to further implement STEM education programming in schools across the country. As chair of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council, Murray has engaged STEM stakeholders from across the state to identify potential initiatives that have the greatest potential to increase the number of students who are both prepared for and interested in STEM.
"At WPI, we are keenly aware of the critical role that the STEM disciplines play in our nation’s economic development," said WPI President and CEO Dennis Berkey. "Through our award-winning K-12 STEM outreach program we are engaging young students and their teachers in the wonder and fun of these disciplines while helping them develop and appreciate the analytical and innovation skills necessary for success in the careers of the future. It is tremendously gratifying to know that the state of Massachusetts recognizes and supports our efforts."
In 2004, WPI was selected to be the state’s affiliate university for Project Lead The Way, which is project- based and uses real-world problem solving as a framework; nationwide there are 36 affiliate universities for the Project Lead The Way Engineering Program. The Project Lead The Way curriculum features programs in engineering and biomedical sciences, and has been proven effective at producing students who are both interested in -- and prepared for -- pursuing STEM careers.
A 2009 study found that Project Lead The Way students were significantly more likely than other students to complete at least four years of mathematics and at least three years of lab-based science courses during high school -- critical for admission to many colleges. Project Lead The Way is offered at more than 4,000 high schools and middle schools in all 50 states, including 26 schools in Massachusetts.
To learn more about the Governor's STEM Advisory Council, including the Massachusetts STEM Plan: "A Foundation for the Future: Massachusetts' Plan for Excellence in STEM Education," visit: http://www.mass.gov/governor/stem. To learn more about WPI's K-12 STEM outreach programs visit: https://www.wpi.edu/academics/k12.html.