Chelmsford students enter ‘gateway to technology’

Chelmsford students enter ‘gateway to technology’

Jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are estimated to increase 17 percent by 2018- close to double the growth of non-STEM fields, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In four years, the nation is project to have over 1.2 million unfilled STEM jobs. Helping to address this economic reality is Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a leading provider of STEM programs in the country, which has made its way into Chelmsford’s Parker and McCarthy middle schools. The program familiarizes students with engineering, robotics and computer modeling.

“The PLTW program has a middle school component called ‘Gateway to Technology,’ which consists of several separate courses designed especially to appeal to middle school students while employing the technology, math and science standards. PLTW uses technology to introduce students to engineering and other STEM careers,” said Chelmsford Public Schools Technology Engineering Department Coordinator Dr. Marilyn Sweeney, who attended the STEM summit three years ago, where she heard about the non-profit PLTW program.

“It is opening up career pathways that students have traditionally not seen in K-12 schools.”

Working to develop students’ skills needed to succeed in a global market, PLTW delivers programs to over 5,000 elementary, middle, and high schools across the country.

CPS Executive Director of Technology Anne-Marie Fiore had been involved in PLTW in a district she worked in previously. Both she and Sweeney worked collaboratively to alter the CPS’s Tech Ed program into Tech Engineering and bring the program up to 21st century educational topics. The pair hired two new teachers, Kevin McFarland for Parker Middle School and Arthur Tunnessen for McCarthy Middle School, who were sent for a full week of training at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) to learn the Design and Modeling course.

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