Twin Bridges teachers present at National STEM Conference
Two Twin Bridges teachers – Karen Degel and Jenifer Elser - recently traveled to Orlando, Florida to present at the Project Lead the Way National Conference. Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is a pre-K – 12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum that empowers student learning by providing real-world, hands-on learning in the classroom. Twin Bridges School began investigating the curriculum seven years ago, and since then has implemented the program at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, in the three pathways of Biomedical Science, Engineering, and Computer Science.
Ms. Degel and Ms. Elser believed it was important to tell others of the school’s implementation journey, as Twin Bridges is the smallest school in the nation to offer the full PLTW program. Their presentation, entitled Expanding PLTW in Small Rural Schools, outlined the planning and implementation of the program; its pitfalls, challenges, and successes; and opportunities and plans for growth. The talk was well-attended, and several attendees have already reached out, wanting to showcase Twin Bridges in their own schools.
The conference, attended by over 1400 teachers, administrators, and state education officers, was a prime opportunity for Ms. Degel and Ms. Elser to network with other professionals, and to learn valuable lessons from other presenters. They were also entertained by keynote speakers, one of whom was a former PLTW student who formed his own company creating “bionic arms” for children with missing limbs. Another speaker was former astronaut Leland Melvin, who spoke of overcoming challenges, perseverance, and resilience – all key factors in the engineering process.
Twin Bridges School is proud of the successes achieved through the implementation of Project Lead the Way, and the national conference was a way to showcase these successes and a way to share possibilities and solutions with other rural schools. Ms. Degel and Ms. Elser are grateful they had the opportunity to attend and present. That opportunity was made possible by the generous support of John and Cynthia Osborne of Twin Bridges and Brewer Science in Rolla, Missouri.