In 2014, Lockheed Martin announced an expanded partnership with Project Lead the Way (PLTW) to support district-wide implementations of PLTW pre-engineering and computer science curriculum in urban centers with high populations of underserved and minority students. Project Lead the Way is one of the in-school STEM curricula that was deemed ready to scale by Change the Equation’s STEMworks database. This “seal of approval” was a key component in Lockheed Martin’s decision to expand their relationship with Project Lead the Way and move toward district-wide implementations.
In 2014, grants were made to Huntsville City Schools and Washington, D.C. Public Schools. In 2015, the program was expanded to Orange County, Fla. public schools and Ft. Worth public schools in Texas.
Natalia Garroni, a teacher in Orange County, said that the best part of teaching Project Lead The Way curriculum is seeing the “aha” moments that her students have. “When you see kids involved in science, technology, engineering, and math, their minds open to worlds they didn’t know,” Garroni said. “I would like to have Project Lead The Way at all schools because I think it is a very, very good program. It opens students’ minds – they really are involved and they really like the classes.”
One of Ms. Garroni’s students, Gladys Holm, aspires to be a biochemist, and when asked what inspired this career interest, she has a clear answer. “It was in Project Lead The Way,” Gladys said, “when Ms. Garroni had us look up different engineering jobs. I love life science and I like engineering, why not just take the two and put it together so you could make something for life?”