By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

It’s official – a nationwide program aimed at providing students with hands-on lessons will be integrated into Waterford Union High School’s curriculum in the fall.

On Dec. 17, the WUHS board voted to partner with Project Lead the Way, a nonprofit group that has developed courses for students in elementary, middle and high school grade levels in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.

Districts statewide have partnered with PLTW to develop courses for students in elementary, middle and high school grade levels.

Similar to the already-in-place advanced placement program, WUHS students have the potential of obtaining credits through an arrangement with the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) before obtaining their high school diplomas.

In November, WUHS technical education teacher Kyle Rader gave the School Board a cursory overview of PLTW and what it would mean for the district.

While taking action at the most recent board meeting, WUHS officials were overwhelmingly supportive, although questions about the impact on existing classes — particularly ones within tech ed — were raised.

Superintendent Keith Brandstetter said course deletions would come at the expense of bringing PLTW into the school doors. But he further stated most of those courses have not been offered in the past several years.

Board member Dan Jensen asked school staff to take a forward-thinking approach to the PLTW curriculum that de-emphasizes lectures and note-taking in favor of hands-on, practical exercises that provide a snapshot into the real world.

“I just hope we’re looking at the future,” Jensen said. “I don’t want there to be a lot of busy work.”

Principal Dan Foster affirmed Jensen’s statement. “There is some ‘sit time’ … but this is very project based,” Foster noted.

WUHS will begin rolling out the Project Lead the Way curriculum in the 2015-16 school year.