Charles School System Receives Grants for Gateway Academies

LA PLATA, Md. (March 18, 2010)—The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Education Foundation recently awarded Charles County Public Schools $16,000 in grant funds in support of implementing the weeklong summer pre-engineering Gateway Academy at each county middle school.

The Gateway Academy, developed by the SME-Education Foundation and Project Lead The Way (PLTW), is a project-based experience designed to introduce middle school students to the fundamentals of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). As part of the Academy, students will work together using technology to learn about robotics, aeronautics and computer design. The Academy is also specifically aimed at girls and minorities and gives middle school students the opportunity to prepare for the rigor of high school and college.

Charles County Public Schools plans to host eight Gateway Academies this summer, and each site will receive $2,000 from the grant. The school system was selected as a grant recipient because three out of six county high schools – Henry E. Lackey, La Plata and Maurice J. McDonough – offer PLTW high school engineering classes to students. Additionally, all eight middle schools offer students the opportunity to participate in the Gateway to Technology (GTT) program, a version of PLTW for sixth, seventh and eighth graders.

Charles County Public Schools also plans to offer PLTW classes to students at Thomas Stone and Westlake high schools next year, and currently has 16 certified PLTW teachers.

The SME Education Foundation also awarded Allegany, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties with grant funds to support the Gateway Academy program in public schools. The programs in these counties, including Charles County, were developed and implemented in conjunction with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), which provided more than $3 million in federal funds for local school systems to implement both the PLTW and GTT programs.

Source: Charles County Public Schools

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