Engineering program’s huge expansion includes Milwaukee area schools

A project-based curriculum known as Project Lead the Way has seen widespread expansion across the U.S., including within the Milwaukee Public Schools, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Last year, researchers examining the impact of the curriculum, which includes two weeks devoted to projects such as building golf-ball catapults and Popsicle-stick bridges, found that Riverside University High School seniors in the program attended school an average of eight more days during the school year than their peers. Those findings and other benefits are enough for Milwaukee to continue its rapid rollout of the pre-engineering program, with plans to add it to eight more schools over each of the next two years. After that, it will be in at least half of the school system’s middle and high schools. That’s exactly what leaders at the Waukesha-based Kern Family Foundation want to hear. In the five years since Kern partnered with Project Lead the Way to help its Midwest expansion, the number of Wisconsin schools offering the curriculum has expanded from two to more than 200. Nationwide, about 3,400 middle and high schools offer the program’s courses. Now, with the help of an additional $10 million from Kern, Project Lead the Way has the ambitious aim to spread its curriculum to nearly three times as many schools nationwide. With powerful proponents and few critics so far, the program’s biggest obstacle might be cost…

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