Four students, a teacher and two administrators from Millbrook Middle School were among the more than 1,100 guests in attendance at a recent conference in Indianapolis hosted by Project Lead the Way.
“This was a regional summit,” Millbrook Middle School principal Ayena Jackson said. “Our regional director submitted our school’s name to the national organization. We were one of only five schools in the region selected to do this.”
Project Lead the Way is a nonprofit organization providing transformative learning experiences to students in grades K-12, partnering with 11,500 schools across America to offer hands-on programs in computer science, engineering and biomedical science. The conference, sponsored by Chevron, allowed a meeting of individuals dedicated to preparing students with skills they need to be successful in college and in life. Guests at the conference included K-12 administrators, students and leaders from universities, businesses and industries.
Jackson said the school became involved in Project Lead the Way when she and one of her assistant principals visited a school in the Madison City system which offered classes through the organization.
“We liked what we saw,” Jackson said. “We talked with our superintendent (Richard Dennis) and he said he was on board with it.”
In August, Millbrook Middle School began offering science classes from Project Lead the Way in design and modeling, computer science for innovators, robotics and medical detectives (a medical science class for students interested in entering the medical field). These four classes have grown, with Jackson saying the school wants to expand its offerings with two more classes next school year.
Jackson said the regional manager felt the school had done a great job in expanding the program over the few months since being introduced, which led to the school being selected to attend and present at the conference.
“It was a great honor,” Jackson said. “We’re proud of our students and how well they represented our school. They were in front of 1,100 people and they did well to represent the school.”
In a press release written before the conference, Project Lead the Way vice president and chief engagement officer David Dimmett said, “Millbrook Middle School is a true champion of PLTW’s relevant, engaging approach to learning, teaching and community engagement. We’ve invited them to share their stories to inspire attendees and provide best practices that they can be taken back to other communities to benefit students across the country. We are thrilled to have PLTW students and teachers from Millbrook Middle School joining us in Indianapolis for the PLTW Summit.”
In addition to growing the school’s Project Lead the Way offerings, Jackson said she hopes to see more of her students invited to attend future conferences offered by the organization.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, this program has been worth it,” Jackson said.