26 Illinois schools received grant
A grant is helping to expand an engineering program for high schoolers in Woodstock School District 200.
Students in Project Lead the Way now have the option to study computer engineering, the newest course in the rigorous, STEM-heavy program available at Woodstock and Woodstock North high schools. This is the first year the course has been offered, according to Assistant Superintendent George Oslovich. It is part of the schools’ career and technical education departments.
“In the past, the career/tech department was, ‘Do I want to work in manufacturing, woods, carpentry?’ But that whole area has blossomed into, ‘Do I want to be an engineer, do I want to work in the medical field?’”Oslovich said.
A $40,000 grant from the Astellas USA Foundation’s Rural Spark Project will be split between the two high schools over the next three years to pay for training, equipment and materials for the class, Oslovich said. Funding from the grant was provided to 26 Illinois schools.
“[The course focuses on] basic programming, essential computer literacy on the backend,” Oslovich said. Students may receive college credit after completing the course because it qualifies as an Advanced Placement class.
Other PLTW courses cover engineering design, civil engineering and architecture, and related topics.
“I think our goal is to provide students with the essential skills that allow them to be successful when they leave high school, whatever their post-secondary plans are … but we also want them to be able to move into a career path as well, so that’s where you’re seeing the blossoming of course offerings in the area of a career path,” Oslovich said.
“It’s really an engineering prep program. Students interested in going into engineering, this is a perfect course for them to take.”