Christian Brothers receives accolades for STEM

Christian Brothers School (CBS) has been recognized as the only middle school in Louisiana and one of 148 middle schools nationwide to be named a “Distinguished School” for its science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program.

CBS received the honor from Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a nonprofit organization that provides STEM curricula and professional training for more than  11,000 elementary, middle and high schools throughout the country, including 86 in Louisiana and 45 in the New Orleans metro area.

Mary Arrasmith, Louisiana director for school engagement for Project Lead The Way, Inc., presented the “Distinguished School” award to CBS on the school’s City Park campus.

A hands-on program

“We are very excited to be recognized by Project Lead The Way as one of its distinguished schools,” said Joey Scaffidi, CBS president. “Our PLTW program has provided our students with hands-on, problem-based learning activities that develop skills our students will use in high school and beyond.”

The PLTW Distinguished School recognition program honors schools committed to increasing student access, engagement and achievement in their PLTW programs.  PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering and biomedical science.

Adopting a STEM-based approach to complement the school’s already strong traditional curriculum was an objective of Michael Prat, principal of the school’s City Park campus, which is an all-boys middle school.  The program is also being used at Christian Brothers Girls Middle School on the school’s Canal Street campus.

“We researched various suppliers of STEM curricula and selected the Project Lead The Way organization since it offered a complete approach, including hands-on components ideal for instructing middle-school students,” Prat said. “We adopted the ‘Gateway’ units which are specifically designed for the middle grades and also implemented PLTW’s ‘Launch’ series for pre-kindergarten through fourth grades.”

Several teachers on both campuses have undergone training programs specific to the PLTW initiative, and they regularly receive additional professional development training.

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is one of the nation’s leading providers of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs for grades pre-kindergarten through 12. PLTW’s world-class, activity-, project-, and problem-based curricula and high-quality teacher professional development model helps students develop the transportable skills needed to succeed in our global economy. Courses are designed to complement math, science and computer courses offered by a school and in some instances are used as the core curriculum.

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