Merritt Island High Receives Engineering
 Certification

By  //  March 19, 2015

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da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Ally Calderin, Justin Gates, Austin Dodier, Anthony Minute, Tyler Petrik.

Among students from Merritt Island High School’s da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology program are, left to right, Ally Calderin, Justin Gates, Austin Dodier, Anthony Minute and Tyler Petrik. Merritt Island High School recently received national re-certification for its Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program that has been offered since 2009 as part of its curriculum for the school’s da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

BREVARD COUNTY • MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA – Merritt Island High School announced that it has received national re-certification for its Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program that has been offered since 2009 as part of its curriculum for the school’s da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology.

PLTW-LOGO-180PLTW, a nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading provider of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education programs, offers a rigorous world-class curriculum that allows students to apply what they are learning in math and science class to real-life activities, projects and problems.

PLTW also prides itself on high-quality professional development of its teachers and an engaged network of business, community and university partners to give students the fullest experience.

MERRITT-ISLAND-LOGO-180Mollie Vega, principal of MIHS said, “We’ve seen how the PLTW program draws more students to engineering, math and science and gets them thinking about college and their careers. We are extremely proud to be PLTW certified and ecstatic that our students are eligible for college-level recognition, which may include college credit, scholarships and admissions preference.”

The national PLTW recognition program distinguishes schools for successfully demonstrating a commitment to PLTW’s national standards.

Da Vinci Academy Director and Merritt Island High School teacher Charles Parker, left, with students from Merritt Island High School's da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology program. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

Da Vinci Academy Director and Merritt Island High School teacher Charles Parker, left, with students from Merritt Island High School’s da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology program. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

Additionally, certification as a PLTW school provides students with the opportunity to apply for college credit or receive college-level recognition at PLTW affiliate universities when they successfully complete select PLTW courses in high school.

PLTW has more than 50 college, university and research partners, including Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.

Charles Parker

Charles Parker

“The beauty of PLTW courses is that our kids get to experience how a concept they learned in science applies to real-world projects, including robotics,” said Da Vinci Academy Director and engineering teacher Charles Parker.

“Rather than sit passively and listen to a lecture, our students are building, developing and creating. It’s the kind of hands-on experience that will engage more students in science, technology, engineering and math—fields that they might otherwise never have considered.”

In order to remain competitive in the global economy, America needs approximately 400,000 STEM college graduates annually, according to a National Business Roundtable report.

Herb Yamada of Lockheed Martin, left, Margaret Jennings, Jacob Rowe. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

Herb Yamada of Lockheed Martin, left, speaks to students in the Merritt Island High School da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology program. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

Currently, the U.S. is graduating only 265,000 annually. PLTW is providing students with the skills, foundation and proven path to college and career success in STEM areas to increase the number of STEM graduates.

As part of the recognition process, Vega, Parker, and a team composed of teachers, staff, students and members of the community submitted a self-assessment of the school’s implementation of PLTW’s Engineering program.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Kyle Pemberton (partilay obscured), Tyler Dixon (back of head), Shane Hartnett and Si Song of United Launch Alliance. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

LEFT TO RIGHT: Kyle Pemberton, Tyler Dixon and Shane Hartnett works with and Si Song of United Launch Alliance. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

A site visit by a PLTW trained team followed. PLTW’s team met with teachers, school administrators, counselors, students and members of the school’s Partnership Team.

A PLTW school’s Partnership Team (sometimes referred to as an Advisory Council) is comprised of teachers, counselors, administrators, post-secondary representatives, business and industry professionals and other community members who actively support the PLTW program within a school.

Vince Bertram

Vince Bertram

“Merritt Island High School should be congratulated for demonstrating once again its commitment to PLTW’s quality standards,” said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram.

“The real winners here, however, are Merritt Island’s students. Students benefit from PLTW’s innovative, project-based curriculum that encourages creativity, problem solving and critical thinking. We look forward to many more years of working together to prepare MIHS students for the global economy.”

For more information on PLTW, you may also contact Jennifer Cahill at the national office at 317-669-0871 or jcahill@pltw.org

BELOW VIDEO: PLTW, a nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading provider of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education programs, offers a rigorous world-class curriculum that allows students to apply what they are learning in math and science class to real-life activities, projects and problems.

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