Not only have students of Cazenovia Central School District’s Technology Department been busy building hydrogen fuel cells, rockets and robots – they have also been building a sterling national reputation.
Cazenovia High School was recently named as one of Project Lead the Way’s 16 nationally-recognized “Model Schools,” for the department’s efforts toward educating students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“A lot of the schools that receive this recognition are technology/math and science, or engineering academies. They are exclusive. They choose who enters their programs. We do not,” said Cazenovia Technology Department Leader Chris Hurd. “We are inclusive, and have special-needs students as well as AP students in our classes. Because of the dedication of our staff, K through 12, the technology department gets the ‘cream of the crop.’ All of our students come to us with a more-than-basic foundation, which is what they need to be successful in engineering; math, science, and communications skills.”
Of the seniors who graduated in June with the class of 2011, 46 percent chose to study STEM related fields in college, and 26 percent of all graduates entered technical and engineering related fields.
Following the completion of New York State Regents Exams last year, the Cazenovia Math and Science Departments had a more than 95 percent passing rate.
In addition, Hurd said that a very high percentage of PLTW students in grades 9 through 12 are currently eligible for RIT college credit.
The high school has been affiliated with PLTW, a nonprofit organization which is the leading provider of innovative STEM education curricular programs used in schools, since 1999. The technology department began the application process six-months ago, as one of more than 4,200 eligible schools.
Selected institutions range in size from large to small, middle to high school. They have high percentages of their overall student population engaged in PLTW courses, and serve as examples of how schools can implement rigorous STEM education programs to meet the unique needs of their own community.
“We are excited to recognize these schools for their exemplary work with students on a daily basis,” said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram. “Teachers in these classes are inspiring students and unlocking their potential for success and achievement. This work does not happen in isolation. The community, business, and industry partnerships that make this work possible should be commended as well.”
Cazenovia High School not only has bright pupils, but also strong ties to the engineering community. GHD recently sponsored two teams of students at the annual Electrathon, on Oct. 29, which Cazenovia won. Competing teams built single-person, lightweight vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
Numerous retired engineers volunteer their time weekly in the engineering design and development course, and many after school programs, like Electrathon, are offered to enrich classroom learning, including the Sensis Engineering Challenge, SME Robotics Competition, among others.
For more information about PLTW’s hands-on, project-based programming, and a full list of the 16 national model schools, visit pltw.org.
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.