Springfield schools get grant to help boost number, diversity of engineering students

Springfield City School District will expand to all its elementary and middle schools a program designed to help increase the number, quality and diversity of engineers graduating from U.S. schools, a release said.

Springfield won $89,300 in Project Lead the Way (PLTW) grants this month, allowing the district to offer the program at its 10 elementary schools and three middle schools.

Horace Mann is currently the lone elementary to offer PLTW programs, and two middle schools, Schaefer and Hayward, offer a limited amount of access to the courses for grades six to eight.

“This is a huge win for our district and our students,” said Superintendent Bob Hill in the release. “It is my hope that our schools will be filled with hundreds of future engineers, scientists and problem solvers who derive their love of STEM because of a PLTW class they took within our district, and this grant is making that possible.”

The curriculum aims to help solve the country’s high-tech staffing shortage by offering opportunities for students to engage in hands-on activities, projects and real-world problems with a focus on computer science, engineering and biomedical science-related topics.

With the new grants, each Springfield K-6 grade level will be able to experience PLTW, and expanded offerings at the middle school level will ensure that every student is able to experience one of the PLTW Gateway programs during seventh and/or eighth grade, the release said..

The district will train its staff members in the PLTW courses and launch them in the 2023-2024 school year.