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VSHS Recognized 2nd year in a row for Project Lead The Way

For the second consecutive year, Vinton-Shellsburg High School (VSHS) is one of just four high schools in Iowa to be named a Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Distinguished School. VSHS has received this National recognition for providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities for students through PLTW Computer Science and Engineering. Courses are instructed by Marsha Furlong and Scott Garwood.

The first Project Lead the Way Course, Introduction to Engineering Design, was introduced in 2009. During the last 10 years, Principles of Engineering, Computer Science and Software Engineering and Civil Engineering and Architecture have also been included as elective courses. Students earn credit from Kirkwood College for completing the courses, and an end-of-course assessment determines if the credits are transferable to other colleges and universities.

“I think the fact that we have good retention through all courses offered is an indication of the students’ enjoyment of the classes. On average we have a little more than 50 students enrolled each year, and I often hear students say PLTW is their favorite class,” said instructor Marsha Furlong. “The classes are all project-based, which I believe, also leads to engagement and enjoyment of the classes. Our students have always scored higher than the national average on the End of Course Assessments, which is a contributing factor to our earning this recognition.”

The PLTW Distinguished School recognition honors schools committed to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs. To be eligible for the distinguished school designation, Vinton Shellsburg High School had to meet the following criteria:

• Offer at least three PLTW courses.

• Have 25 percent of students or more participate in PLTW courses, or of those who participated in PLTW, at least 33 percent took two or more PLTW courses.

• Have 70 percent of students or more earn a Proficient or higher on PLTW End-of-Course Assessments, or 10 percent of students earn the AP + PLTW Student Achievement.

Through PLTW programs, students develop STEM knowledge as well as in-demand, transportable skills that they will use both in school and for the rest of their lives, on any career path they take.

“Our Project Lead the Way program’ s recognition,” explains superintendent Mary Jo Hainstock, “is the reflection of the hard work our two instructors, Mr. Garwood, and Ms. Furlong, have done to develop a high-quality program. The experiences our students have in the PLTW classes are excellent preparation for their futures."

For more information on Vinton-Shellsburg’s PLTW program or to set up a school visit, contact Superintendent Hainstock at 319-436-4728 Ext. 5685.

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