College Credits in High School 
By Corporal Willy, Sept. 15th 2010
 
    Project Lead the Way, is a national organization that is well on its way to being the de-facto standard for pre-engineering courses at both the middle and high school levels. Perhaps it is there already and deservedly so. It has a meaningful courseware curriculum that is geared to age appropriate levels for students in those grades. http://www.pltw.org/ You might think it is locking some exceptional kids up in a room with nothing but books to read or sit on, but that wouldn’t be accurate at all. In fact there are youngsters that have never dreamed of being an engineer or other highly skilled technically trained person, because nobody ever told them they could be. 
    Not everyone is going to be an engineer, just like everyone is not going to be ditch digger either. But we can offer youngsters an opportunity to get interested in their own education and in particular the engineering discipline. If they take the bait or want to give it a try, they won’t be disappointed because not only will they get a stimulating education, they will get a lot of really cool projects to be part of. They work in teams at times and they have lots of interesting things that will keep them going after more knowledge. What is really cool is that many times they don’t even know how much they are learning. They use tools that the Pros use and some of their work I thought was done by Pros.
    I have the great fortune to be one of the Community Partnership Advisors at our Northwest Career Technical Academy here in Las Vegas. If you ever want to renew your faith in the younger generation take a tour of one of these types of schools. We have just recently become a fully certified high school academy under the auspices of the PLTW organization and the National Academy Foundation. Regardless of what they call it by name, you will really be surprised at the quality of students and studies that they go through. I really wish I was able to go to one of these schools myself when I was young, but I remember a hinged lid on my desk with a hole in the top right hand side. Nothing in that whole but it certainly was a big one. Yes, all the desks had it and Ball Point Pens had not been invented just yet.  Let’s  go take a closer look.
 
Here are two ladies from the PLTW organization that came to take a close look at the Northwest Career Technical Academy and to teach us how to do these certification examinations. On the far left is Ms. Judith D’Amico and on the right is Ms. Gail Parsons. We had a full discussion on what questions to ask as far as interviews of Administrators, Counselors, Teachers and even Students. It is tremendously important to find out what the problems are from each group if there are any. You cannot work to fix a problem if you don’t know anything about it. 
 
 
 
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Our committee members learn from the PLTW leaders and talk over problems and offer ideas that could be used. A real think tank of problem solvers.
 
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The gentleman in the dark colored shirt and with his back to the window on the left is our Principal Mr.  Frank J. Pesce III and the gentlemen in the yellow shirt is Mr. McElwain who is our district wide Coordinator of Career & Technical Education in the Clark County School District. This was the first day of our two days of meetings.  This school has been opened now for four years and this is the first year it has a full complement of students in all four grades. 

 

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The gentleman with his back to the Television stand down below in the far right corner is Mr. Samuel D. Palmer P.E. P Eng., from Terracon Consultants. Next to him facing the camera we have Professor William Culbreth, PhD., from our University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). Next to him is Professor Michael Spangler from our local College of Southern Nevada, CSN and Dr. Warren Hioki, who is also from CSN.

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From Archived File Photos) Mr. Walt Michaels is in the top photo and he is the Business Chairperson of the Academy of our Engineering Advisory Committee and managing partner of Energy Saver Advisors. The man in the picture below Mr. Michaels, is our Community Partnership Coordinator at Northwest Career and Technical Academy.  If you need something done these two gentlemen work tirelessly to accomplish it. Both these men have been invaluable to get this school fully certified as a Project Lead the Way curriculum school.

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Here we have our second in command and her work at NWCTA doesn’t go unnoticed.  We all appreciate the hard work of Assistant Principal, Ms. Diane Hovland.

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Mr. Robert C. Schauer III, is one of our Teachers / Engineeer combinations we have here at NWCTA. He is pictured here in the middle at the far side of the table and back to the window. It was a pleasure to tour his classroom and talk to his students and see their projects.
 
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Even during our break we could not stop discussing things. We are indeed fortunate to have so many fine Partnership Members from the community business groups and educators from the College of Southern Nevada and our University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) to make this all work. Success comes with dedication.
 
 
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We visited Mr. Schauer’s class and saw some really great projects that his students were involed in. A couple of them are down below here. As you can plainly see there are photovoltaic panels and a hot water solar tank flat plate collector in the center.

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I just loved this truss that the students built. It can teach many things to our eager students about structural mechanics and the math behind this very often used configuration in modern construction.

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Day Two of Our Meetings
 

    Here we are at the second day of meetings in the Principals Conference Room. We did do some of the interviews here and we all watched and learned from our two lady experts. We were also invited to ask our own questions of the schools administrators and counselors here. We still had to do the entire walk through inspections and talk to the students to see what work they were doing. I for one was not too surprised. I have seen their great work many times now. Today another one of our committee members who was not able to attend the first day is here with us. In the light colored yellow shirt almost in the center view is Dr. Calvin Chui, PhD., P.E., LEED AP, faculty member at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (U.N.L.V.).

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Now we are ready to start the interviewing sessions and after speaking to the students and seeing their work in the classrooms that was being done we came back to the principals conference room to continue the interviews with the Administration Staff and school Counselors. 

From left to right we haveElizabeth Easton, Mark Jainchill, Brian Petersen, and Joanne Walker.

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Finalizing results from all interviews and getting ready now to make our final review report.
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This Architectural Award Winning School is set on a very large campus and it is surrounded by some really nice looking scenery.   It has very modern classrooms that are well suited for this comprehensive Project Lead the Way curriculum. The students make the school what it is and the school serves that purpose to train some of the best students anywhere. Other disciplines are taught here as well like the medial arts, nursing, culinary and some others but this articles focus was on the PLTW subject and certifications. To all the Administration, Counselors, Teachers and Students we congratulate them all. Fine job everyone.

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     Here it is folks. Something we can all be very proud of here. Lots of hard work went into getting this certification and now we can hang this Banner with great pride.

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If you think education is expensive, try ignorance!
The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.
The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.
My sentiments too but they were all born before I was.
Corporal Willy

 



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