Are GTT and Project Lead the Way the same thing or something different?
Project Lead the Way (PLTW) began as a program to introduce STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) content in a project-based curriculum at the high school level – grades 9-12. After several independent studies on the high school program showed positive student outcomes, the organization decided to create curriculum at the middle school level – grades 6-8. This middle school program is called Gateway to Technology (GTT).
My child will never be an engineer. Why do I want to support this plan?
Gateway to Technology curriculum does not teach a student how to be an engineer. The lesson plan's hands-on learning helps the student develop creative problem-solving and add the application of critical thinking to their learning process. These 21st Century learning skills will help them in any field of study that they choose,not just Science, Math or Technology. Development of these skills is a large indicator of a student's success in future academic endeavors.
Hello. I am wondering who will be instructing my son - will it be his homeroom teacher, or will someone else be involved?
Initially, during the 2010-2011 school year, Gateway to Technology will be taught at the 7th and 8th Grade level. Mrs. Haushalter - 6th & 7th Grade Science teacher, Mrs. Radish - 8th Grade Science teacher and Mrs. Otto - Technology will be specially trained on the Gateway to Technology Curriculum. They will be taking the basic core GTT course at MSOE in August 2010. The students will participate in GTT courses twice a week - during one Science class and Technology class.
In the 2011-2012 school year, the program will encompass 6th, 7th and 8th grade. Mrs. Haushalter, Mrs. Otto, and Mrs. Radish will continue to be the primary instructors for this curriculum.
How much total money do we need to raise? How much in year 1?
GTT will be an on going curriculum program at St. Alphonsus. This means that every year there will be consumables that will need to be replaced – very similar to other lessons that teachers purchase materials for every year.
The big expenditure will be the one time – up front costs for each module. These costs include teacher training and other required hardware needed for the modules.
Currently, our GTT project plan is being evaluated for fiscal validity by members of our community. When this is completed, we will have a better idea of the implementation cost of the curriculum as well as how much money we will need each year to keep the program solvent.
How much money has been currently raised?
As of May 2010, we have raised approximately $11, 650 towards this project. This amount is comprised of grant money, private donations and fundraising efforts.
How is the Grant Writing and Corporate Sponsorship fundraising efforts going? What other ways will money be raised for GTT? How much do we expect to raise from this vs. individual/parent contributions? As of this date – June 15th, we are utilizing various methods of fundraising.
1. Nine letters of inquiry have gone out to foundations requesting funds to help us with our initial Gateway to Technology expenses. Despite receiving two negative responses, we still have hope for the remaining seven requests as foundations review requests at different times during the calendar year.
2. We have received one grant donation from a local business.
3. Between July 1st and 15th 2010, the technology fundraising committee plans to mail requests for corporate sponsorship to over 200 local businesses.
4. The technology fundraising committee is in the process of completing grant applications to five additional foundations.
5. Individual donations continue to be accepted at the school office.
Our hope it to fund this project through corporate sponsorships and foundation grants. However, we will continue to accept money to fund this project from any source.
Will we continue purchasing new modules without sufficient funds?
We hope to continue expanding our Gateway to Technology (GTT) curriculum and to add the new modules to our schedule as they become available.
There are many factors which would influence our decision to add a new module. Upfront funds to cover training and required hardware are necessary. Module content needs to be evaluated to determine whether or not the content fits into our curriculum. Module scheduling is also a factor as each module has to fit within our current school day.
All of these factors would need to be weighed and considered before we would make the decision to offer additional modules here at St. Alphonsus Catholic School.
What do our technology fees go towards? Will some of these fees be used to support GTT?
Technology has its own budget that gets approved every three years by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The money included in this budget comes from multiple places - your technology fees, contributions from the Home & School committee, ink and toner cartridge recycling, and individual contributions. This budget covers expenses for any devices in the school that are attached to the school network. Some examples of these expenses include: an annual fee for both our filtering system and Moodle services, toner for all of the network printers throughout the school building, software upgrades, or maintenance/replacement of any devices ranging from hard drives, DVD players, keyboards or mice.
Typically, any fiscal surplus gets rolled over into an account set aside for the eventual upgrade of the computers in the classroom lab. The goal is to replace the computers in the classroom lab every four years. At that time, the computers in the classroom lab would get moved into the workroom lab (allowing an upgrade of that equipment) and the computers in the workroom lab will get moved into the classrooms. The classrooms don’t get additional equipment (unless previously authorized), older equipment will get replaced.
Occasionally, the technology funds will get utilized for a special project. For example, technology funds purchased the first SMARTboard – installed into the workroom lab – to better showcase this technology to both the teachers and the school community. At this time, the technology funds are slotted to be used only for hardware upgrades necessary for any equipment connected to the school network. Any other required or recommended equipment necessary for Gateway to Technology (GTT) will be funded through other sources.
Why do the computers need upgraded prior to starting GTT?
The current Technology program has as its priority to keep our technology classroom updated. Because of this the classroom lab computers are on a schedule to be replaced every four years. Other factors that we have taken into consideration for this upgrade:
Our school server needs to be upgraded to keep up with current antivirus software upgrades, the need for additional computer storage and to add processor power to keep up with the current demands placed on the server.
5-year kindergarten (5K) has requested that each classroom receive 5 additional computers connected to the Internet so the 5K online reading program can be used as a center activity in the classrooms. Updating the computers in the Technology classroom will make available enough computers to place additional computers in the kindergarten classrooms.
With St. Alphonsus’ enrollment increasing, there is a need to add an additional two workstations to the classroom lab to accommodate larger classroom sizes.
Technology is always changing. What confidence do we have that GTT is here to stay? Won’t something come in a few years to obsolete it? How flexible is the program?
The answer to this question is multi-faceted.
One - we certainly hope that technology will continue to evolve to benefit our society and meet its needs. We must be prepared to change with it. We can not be fully prepared for the future without taking advantage of the best programs out there today.
Secondly, GTT has already proven its flexibility by beginning at the high school level and then later moving into the middle school level. It began with a few modules and has begun to add more modules that meet other needs - biomedical and environmental. These modules show that the program is learning from its own experiences.
Thirdly, the current modules offer great hands-on experiential learning of basic topics that all students can benefit from. Even if the national program was to end (and we do not expect that) the current modules would be beneficial to all of our students. Future modules will offer even more diverse learning opportunities. As even more modules come on line, there will be more flexibility for schools to choose which portions fit their curriculum and students' needs.