Rural Illinois Schools Offer New STEM Education Programs with Grant Funding from Project Lead The Way and Astellas USA Foundation

$1 Million Grant Funds New Programs for Students and Teachers in 26 Schools

Rural Illinois Schools Offer New STEM Education Programs with Grant Funding from
Project Lead The Way and Astellas USA Foundation

INDIANAPOLIS (August 22, 2017) - Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a national nonprofit organization that provides transformative educational experiences for K-12 students and teachers, announced today that 26 rural Illinois middle and high schools will begin new computer science, engineering and biomedical science-focused programs this school year, thanks to $1 million in multi-year grant funding made possible by Astellas USA Foundation.

The grants are part of Astellas USA Foundation’s Rural Spark ProjectTM which seeks to change STEM education in targeted rural areas for middle and high school students by supporting teacher training and exciting hands-on learning opportunities in the classroom and the community.

“Project Lead The Way is proud to partner with Astellas USA Foundation to ensure that students and teachers in Illinois’ rural communities have the same access to high-quality STEM education as their urban and suburban peers,” said PLTW President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Vince Bertram. “All students, regardless of race, gender, geography and socio-economic status, need a strong foundation in science and technology. With Astellas USA Foundation’s support, we will help ensure that all students have the in-demand knowledge and skills they need to thrive in our rapidly evolving world.”

PLTW’s programs in computer science, engineering and biomedical science engage students in hands-on, real-world learning opportunities that empower them to develop essential, in-demand knowledge and skills, while also providing them with real-world connections between what they learn in the classroom and how it applies to the paths they’ll take in the future. Grants made possible by Astellas USA Foundation support implementation of the PLTW Gateway program for middle schools and the PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering and PLTW Biomedical Science programs for high schools.

Access to these types of experiences is critically important as opportunities abound for students, with jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields expected to grow at a rate double those of other fields. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects more than 1.3 million job openings in math and computer-related fields by 2022.

“Since 2015, Astellas USA Foundation has supported STEM programming in over 53,700 schools nationwide. Through the Rural Spark Project, Astellas USA Foundation is impacting young minds by providing STEM-related learning not currently available in their communities,” said Moyra Knight, Astellas USA Foundation president. “By working with Project Lead The Way, we’re able to offer students today the type of skills and thinking needed to become the scientists, mathematicians or coders of tomorrow.”

Grant funds will cover program fees, classroom equipment and supplies, as well as teacher professional development. Each school sent teachers to training this summer to prepare to implement PLTW this school year.

The following 26 schools received grant funding to start a total of 32 PLTW programs:

School PLTW Programs
Canton High School PLTW Biomedical Science, PLTW Engineering
Cathedral of St. Peter School PLTW Gateway
Challand Middle School PLTW Gateway
Grand Prairie Elementary School PLTW Gateway
Ingersoll Middle School PLTW Gateway
John F. Kennedy PLTW Gateway
Mascoutah Middle School PLTW Gateway
Midwest Central Middle School PLTW Gateway
Monticello High School PLTW Engineering
Nokomis Junior/Senior High School PLTW Biomedical Science, PLTW Engineering, PLTW Gateway
Rockford Auburn High School PLTW Computer Science
Rockford East High School PLTW Computer Science
Rockford Guilford High School PLTW Computer Science
Rockford Jefferson High School PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering
Stark County High School PLTW Engineering
Triad High School PLTW Computer Science
Normal Community West High School PLTW Computer Science
Farmington Central Community High School PLTW Biomedical Science
Williamsfield High School PLTW Biomedical Science, PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering
Williamsfield Middle School PLTW Gateway
Creston School PLTW Gateway
Highland High School PLTW Computer Science
Lanphier High School PLTW Computer Science
Paxton-Buckley-Loda Junior High School PLTW Gateway
Woodstock High School PLTW Computer Science
Woodstock North High School PLTW Computer Science

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. More than 10,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit pltw.org.

About Astellas USA Foundation
Astellas USA Foundation is a tax-exempt, nonprofit corporate foundation that awards grants to support charitable, scientific, literary and educational programs. Learn more at www.astellasusafoundation.org. You can also follow us on Twitter at @AstellasFDN or Facebook at www.facebook.com/AstellasFoundation.