Excitement builds for Project Lead the Way

The excitement is bubbling over at Marshalltown High School with the expansion of Project Lead the Way.

MHS Principal Aiddy Phomvisay presented an update on PLTW – which brings more technology, science and engineering curriculum into the schools – during Monday’s school board meeting.

Miller Middle School already started a Gateway to Technology program last year and MHS is starting a Pathway to Engineering and Biomedical Sciences program this fall as part of this effort. MHS will be the only high school in the state offering the Biomedical Sciences program, Phomvisay said.

Phomvisay said Project Lead the Way “is going to give our students a tremendous advantage both in college and in work” and help meet the demands for a highly-skilled workforce.

The community enthusiasm is evident by the donations from area companies and groups, which were accepted at the meeting.

Emerson/Fisher donated $75,000, Marshall Economic Development Impact Committee donated $60,000, Lennox pledged $30,000, the Iowa Veterans Home gave $2,500 and Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center is committed to donate a yet-to-be-determined figure.

“I just commend this community,” Phomvisay said.

The donations are key as there are significant start-up costs for PLTW, such as the renovation of rooms into high-tech labs for students.

“We want to make us truly state-of-the-art,” Phomvisay said.

The information was welcome news to the board members Monday, who approved the program.

“I can’t smile big enough,” said board member Kay Beach. “I am so proud.”

In other board discussion, Jason Staker, communications director for the district, gave the results of the recent community needs survey, which was completed by 928 community members.

He said among the common themes from the survey results were the notice of positive changes at MHS, the need for more times and opportunities for parent involvement and the need to focus on the needs of students at all levels of achievement.

The next regular meeting of the Marshalltown School Board will be at 5 p.m March 4 at district offices.