Oldham County Schools strives to equip each student with the understandings, knowledge and skills to solve problems that teachers don’t even know are problems yet, using technologies that haven’t yet been invented. A new engineering academy for high school students is designed to develop the same skills and strategies that the district believes ensure student success — the district’s 21st Century Learning Outcomes.
The OCS Engineering Academy will be the district’s first step in the Next Generation High School initiative, which district officials believe will give students new and innovative ways to become successful participants in the global marketplace.
The OCS Engineering Academy will utilize the nationally-recognized Project Lead The Way curriculum. PLTW is the country’s leading provider of rigorous and innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education curricular programs used in elementary, middle, and high schools.
In the first year, the district plans to offer Project Lead The Way engineering classes to 48 ninth and tenth grade students as part of a half-day engineering academy. Students will be engaged through a PLTW introduction to engineering design course along with their required math course integrated with the PLTW principles and curriculum. Students will take part in their regular schedule for the remaining half of the day.
“We are excited to offer this opportunity to our students,” said Superintendent Will Wells. “The curriculum aligns well with our 21st Century Learning Outcomes and new state science standards.”
Wells said student interest is high — participation in robotics clubs continues to grow, as does enrollment in an engineering course at North Oldham High. The Engineering Academy will expand the district’s offerings, providing an opportunity for students from all three high schools.
But, Wells said, this is just the beginning.
The district formed a Next Generation High School workgroup in 2013 to assess what sectors will see job growth locally and give input on what programs will help prepare students for those sectors. Workgroup members are also a key part of developing partnerships with businesses and organizations that can provide funding to support these programs.
“This workgroup encompasses everything that is great about Oldham County,” Wells said. “It includes representatives from local businesses, government, colleges and universities, and others who are interested in the future of our students.”
Wells said the group’s focus on funding is key — education finance continues to be an important topic at local, state and national levels, he said, and continual outside funding is the best way to ensure Next Generation High School programs will launch and be successful.
The academy open to students who are currently in the 8th or 9th grade. Interested students should contact their high school guidance counselor or email
Community members interested in supporting the Engineering Academy or other Next Generation High School programs — or those who are interested in joining the workgroup — can contact Tracy Harris, Director of Communications.
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