1st Annual OCPS PLTW – Project Lead The Way Teacher Symposium

Orange Technical College held its 1st Annual Project Lead the Way Teacher Symposium on February 4th at Orange Technical College – Mid Florida Campus. Over 150 PLTW Gateway, Engineering, and Biomedical teachers, District CTE members, and industry partners were present for a packed day of messages, inspiration, teacher and student panels, program updates, and teacher collaboration.

Dr. Armbruster speaking in front of an audience.
“Project Lead the Way programs excite and motivate students and transform lives.”- Opening remarks by Dr. Michael Armbruster, Associate Superintendent, OCPS Career and Technical Education

With more than 7,000 high school students enrolled in OCPS CTE PLTW Engineering and Biomedical programs, over 12,000 Gateway course units to be completed this school year and PLTW K-5 Launch program, OCPS is the largest PLTW district in the country.

David Dimmett, Senior Vice President, Project Lead the Way, Inc. and Steven M. Botwinik, Director, Advanced Program Missile and Fire Control, Lockheed Martin on the importance of what our teachers are doing in the classroom to impact and shape the future STEM workforce right here in Central Florida.
David Dimmett, Senior Vice President, Project Lead the Way, Inc. and Steven M. Botwinik, Director, Advanced Program Missile and Fire Control, Lockheed Martin on the importance of what our teachers are doing in the classroom to impact and shape the future STEM workforce right here in Central Florida.

OCPS CTE District Coordinator for PLTW, Kim Christiansen and Dr. Michael Armbruster, Associate Superintendent, Career and Technical Education, welcomed the group and thanked them for the critical role they play in making Orange County Public Schools the TOP PLTW district in the country! PLTW’s David Dimmett, Senior Vice President and Chief Engagement Officer moderated fireside chats with multiple groups on stage.

Current PLTW students from Freedom HS joined David Dimmett on stage.
Current PLTW students from Freedom HS who are in paid internship positions with Lockheed Martin at the Missile and Fire Control joined David Dimmett on stage. They shared with the audience how valuable their experience has been overall, especially their growth by working with professionals on real projects as vital team members.

To frame the importance PLTW Gateway Middle School programs play to prepare students for the high school PLTW programs, Apopka Memorial students took the stage with their teacher Angel Maldonado and Howard Middle School’s PLTW Master Teacher, Eric Yuhasz to share their experiences in the exploratory courses as well as their goals for the future. In return, Biomedical Students and teacher Anna Stevens from Timber Creek High School and Cypress Creek’s Mohammed Patel were able to address the audience on the amazing internships and positions they now hold due to their hands-on lab experience in Biomedical.

All three PLTW Florida Directors, David Darak, David Wood, and Mary Murphy presented in specific program breakout groups for updates PLTW has made for 2020-2021 implementation.
Merissa Terra from Lockheed Martin talks about recruitment efforts with school and college partners across the area, and the unique challenges in retaining talent in highly competitive technical industries.

OCPS CTE already has ideas to build on the first year and make next year’s PLTW Teacher Symposium even more interactive for teachers and possible include a student exhibition hall to showcase their projects.

Thanks to our industry partners like Lockheed Martin, NAF, PLTW, and Universal Youth Programs for supporting this event. We share the belief that real-world technical education in science, math, engineering and technology, can help all students grow and expand their mind and future career. PLTW classrooms promote creativity, collaboration, imagination and discovery through practical applications in high-skill industries.

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