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Leading the way

High school nationally recognized for STEM education programming

Students of Hurd’s Computer Integrated Manufacturing class, Megan Stanford, left, Victoria Wright and Elisabeth Pittman, work on a conveyor belt transfer system that they built, programmed and tested.

Students of Hurd’s Computer Integrated Manufacturing class, Megan Stanford, left, Victoria Wright and Elisabeth Pittman, work on a conveyor belt transfer system that they built, programmed and tested.

— 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.”

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Submitted Photo

Students in the Principles of Engineering course at Cazenovia High School work together to build an energy-efficient hydrogen fuel cell.

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.

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