Project Lead the Way: What is It ???


Onovu Otitigbe-Dangerfield, Co-Editor-in-Chief

If you take a trip down to room 128 or 118 you may find a group of students taking part in a collaborative project where they are participating in “Engineering Olympics” or are  using MIT APP Inventor to develop really cool apps. Or maybe you’ve seen the certificates of Innovator of the Month hanging outside the classroom walls and students qualifying for Industrial Engineering Certificates based on their scores in a precision exam. If all of this sounds foreign to you, I am happy to help you understand what this is all about.

Project Lead the Way, better known as my PLTW is a program instituted to harbor young minds into the world of innovation and engineering. PLTW classrooms are in more than 4,000 schools in all 50 states serving more than 350,000 students, each located in an Innovation Zone. These classrooms are filled with the latest design software and cutting edge equipment, with projects centered around the application of STEM in high school students. PLTW classes are taught by teachers who receive extensive training on the courses they decide to teach. The program offers courses in the fields of biotechnology, information technology, engineering design and architecture and aerospace. The courses offered include:

    • Introduction to Engineering Design
    • Principles of Engineering 
    • Digital Electronics
    • Aerospace Engineering
    • Biotechnical Engineering 
    • Civil Engineering and Architecture
    • Computer Integrated Manufacturing
    • Engineering Design and Development
    • Principles of Biomedical Sciences
    • Human Body Systems 
    • Medical Interventions 
    • Biomedical Innovation
    • Design and Drawing Production

NOTE: The bolded courses are ones offered at Albany High 

Other engineering classes that are not part of the PLTW pathway include Computer Science Essentials, AP Computer Science Principles and Introduction to Energy and Robotics which is an introductory class to this pathway. 

The teachers responsible for teaching these classes at Albany High are Mr.Landman, Mr. Cady and Mr. Allen. As someone who has taken PLTW and engineering courses since freshman year, making it to 6 by the time I graduate in 2021,I highly recommend if this field interests you they are worthwhile. I have been fortunate enough to have Mr. Cady and Mr. Landman as teachers since freshman year and their classes were always the highlight of my day. 

The benefits don’t just end there. My PLTW also offers a pre engineering diploma high school students can graduate with (that can replace your foreign language diploma) if they fulfill the following criteria:

  • Must have taken 3 or more PLTW classes (DOES NOT INCLUDE computer science or introduction to energy and robotics)
  • Must have an internship 
    • The school offers the Student Help Desk as a means to do so without requiring students to leave school grounds. Speaking to students who have done this they were only required to supplement up to 40 hours over the course of the school year

There are also tests that can be taken based on your PLTW classes that can certify you for college credit. This is also a possibility for Computer Science Essentials for the first time this year. 

All in all, there is no downside to these PLTW classes. They teach collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking skills that can be applied to the increasing role technology is playing in our lives and everyday life. So I hope if you do pass room 118 or 124 you don’t just stop by and take a look. Why not make use of this amazing opportunity that Albany High has to offer.