Special to The Sun
Edmond’s Central Middle School has been named one of 16 “Model Schools” across the nation by Project Lead the Way, a nonprofit organization working to improve science and math education. The winners were selected from 4,200 eligible schools.
Central is one of three Edmond middle schools with classes under the PLTW umbrella.
Cimarron and Summit also have similar curriculum. Offered as an elective called “Gateway to Technology,” the class opens students’ eyes to fields in engineering, aeronautics, manufacturing, electronics and more. Students learn and use the same industry-leading 3-D design software used by companies like Intel, Lockheed Martin and Pixar.
“We go over the design process from a potential idea to the sketching of the idea to the actual designing of the project … it’s very realistic,” said Central’s GTT teacher Chris Cunningham.
Central eighth-grader Harrison Sparks said GTT has opened his mind about what computers are capable of.
“It’s a class that has helped me to figure out what I can do with computers and computer-animated design,” he said.
Classmate Matthew Osmus said that so far, he has most enjoyed learning how to build a robot.
“We did a robot kit and I never knew how all of those parts connected,” Osmus said.
The model schools were selected based on their high quality of science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum as well as their excellent relationships with businesses, colleges and universities, comprehensive professional development and a high level of student engagement. A national panel evaluated each school. Of the 16 schools recognized, only three are middle schools.
“We were instrumental as the pilot high school in developing the Francis Tuttle PLTW Pre-Engineering Academy and then developed the middle school programs out of our existing Tech Ed programs,” said Linda Sloan, CareerTech specialist and online learning facilitator for Edmond Public Schools.
“We are proud of Central and its success. These students are receiving rigorous and relevant learning that will give them an advantage in college and in life.”