Orange County Public Schools will expand college and career-focused science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs in local schools through a new $2 million, multi-year grant from Lockheed Martin. The STEM curriculum is offered through Project Lead The Way (PLTW), the nation’s leading provider of K-12 STEM programs with more than 6,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and D.C. currently offering PLTW courses to their students.
Lockheed Martin committed $6 million nationally to expand PLTW programs in select U.S. urban school districts. OCPS is the second urban school district to expand STEM programming through Lockheed Martin’s national agreement with PLTW.
“Orange County Public Schools has enjoyed a tremendous partnership with Lockheed Martin and Project Lead The Way for several years,” said OCPS Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins. “We are extremely grateful for this generous grant which will significantly improve the STEM experience for all of our students.”
“This partnership gives our talented workforce the opportunity to interact one-on-one with students and share the excitement of STEM,” said Rick Edwards, executive vice president at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “This is another aspect of our commitment to the economic well-being and development of the Orlando area, where Lockheed Martin and its predecessor companies have had a presence for almost 60 years.”
Schools that receive grant funding can use the funds to pay for PLTW program participation fees, teacher professional development training, and classroom equipment and supplies. Lockheed Martin engineers will also volunteer in classrooms at the participating schools, building relationships with students as role models and mentors.
Through the grant, 40 Orange County schools will begin offering PLTW programs for the 2015-16 school year. Over the course of the grant, every OCPS elementary, middle and high school will have the opportunity to implement a PLTW program of study.
“The partnership between Lockheed Martin and Orange County Public Schools, utilizing PLTW’s programs, is a model for how public and private partnerships can help solve the education and workforce development challenges facing our nation,” said PLTW President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Vince Bertram. “We are grateful for Lockheed Martin’s leadership and the opportunities they are creating for students in Orlando and other urban areas.”
Orange County Public Schools is the 10th largest school district in the nation and the fourth-largest in Florida, with more than 191,000 students enrolled in OCPS. Currently, there are more than 200 school sites including alternative centers and charter schools.