STEM education is at the heart of today’s high-tech, high-skill global economy. For America to remain economically competitive, our next generation of leaders -- the students of today -- must develop the critical-reasoning and problem-solving skills that will help make them the most productive in the world.STEM classes and programs teach a different way of thinking, hands-on problem-solving (rather than memorization and chalkboard lessons), teamwork and self-esteem, while exposing kids to possible STEM careers and giving them a chance to earn college credit.

Project Lead The Way

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is the leading provider of rigorous and innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education curricular programs across the United States. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education is at the heart of today’s high-tech, high-skill global economy. For America to remain economically competitive, our next generation of leaders -- the students of today -- must develop the critical-reasoning and problem-solving skills that will help make them the most productive in the world.

PLTW enables students to enroll in a wide range of courses that engage students in activities, projects, and problem-based (APB) learning that immerses students with applied technology.  Students create, design, build, discover, collaborate and solve problems while applying what they learn in math and science. They're also exposed to STEM fields through a wide range of connections to business, industry, colleges and universities.  Students can benefit greatly from the knowledge, logical thought processes and team work that result from taking one, some, or all of the courses provided in the PLTW Engineering program.

 West Haven High School offers two PLTW Pathways: Engineering and Biomedical Science.

 Engineering Pathway:

PLTW Engineering is more than just another high school engineering program. It is about applying engineering, science, math, and technology to solve complex, open-ended problems in a real-world context. Students focus on the process of defining and solving a problem, not on getting the "right" answer. They learn how to apply STEM knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to make the world a better place through innovation. PLTW students have said that PLTW Engineering influenced their post-secondary decisions and helped shape their future. Even for students who do not plan to pursue engineering after high school, the PLTW Engineering program provides opportunities to develop highly transferable skills in collaboration, communication, and critical thinking, which are relevant for any coursework or career.

Engineers help to design, manufacture, and solve problems for just about everything—from the tallest skyscrapers to the smallest computer chips, from children toys to space shuttles, from life saving pharmaceuticals to artificial heart valves. Even though their efforts are all around us, the work of engineers can seem like a mystery to those outside the profession. In the most general terms, engineers are problem-solvers. They apply the concepts of mathematics and science to solving real-world challenges. The engineering profession includes many different disciplines. In fact, engineering may offer more career options than any other profession. Engineers are a diverse group, contributing to projects that improve the quality of life on every continent. A background in engineering can also lead to a career in law, business, education, medicine, or public policy.    

Possible Engineering and Engineering Technologist career fields include: Aerospace, Agriculture, Architecture, Alternate Energy, Biomedical, Biotechnology, Chemical, Civil Systems and Design, Computer Software/Technology/Systems, Environmental, Manufacturing, Materials, Mechanical, Medical, Networking, Nuclear, Ocean Engineering and Technology, Pharmaceutical, Power, and Transportation.


Biomedical Science Pathway:

The PLTW Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Program is a rigorous program for motivated students that is aligned to appropriate national learning standards, which follow a proven hands-on, real-world problem-solving approach to learning. Throughout BMS, students acquire strong teamwork and communication practices, and develop organizational, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills. Along the way students investigate a variety of careers in biomedical sciences. The program is designed to prepare students to pursue a post-secondary education degree and technical programs in the biomedical sciences and health careers. 

The rigorous and relevant four-course PLTW Biomedical Science sequence allows students to investigate the roles of biomedical professionals as they study the concepts of human medicine, physiology, genetics, microbiology, and public health. Through activities, like dissecting a heart, students examine the processes, structures and interactions of the human body – often playing the role of biomedical professional. Students engage in activities like investigating the death of a fictional person to learn content in the context of real-world cases. They examine the structures and interactions of human body systems and explore the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, all while working collaboratively to understand and design solutions to the most pressing health challenges of today and the future. Each course in the Biomedical Science sequence builds on the skills and knowledge students gain in the preceding courses.

 *Students can concurrently enroll in nursing classes.

Possible related career fields can include:

Medical technologist, clinical laboratory Scientist, dentistry, dietetics, health information and communication, health services administration, physicians, physician assistants, medical assistant, mental health professionals, nursing (certified nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, registered nurse), pharmacist, pharmacy technician, public health professional, environmental health specialist, radiologist, radiologic technologist, biomedical engineer, researcher, Therapy (athletic, audiologist, occupational, physical, respiratory, speech), veterinarian, veterinary technician, vision care (optometrist, optometrist technician), scientist, process technician, facility technician.


Eric Rice,
STEM Liaison, Gateway Community College Dual Enrollment Liaison, and Career and Technology Education Department Chair,  [email protected]

Michael Barraco, Engineering and Science Teacher; [email protected]

Robert Piccuillo, Engineering and Science Teacher; [email protected]

Teresa Hartsoe, Biomedical Sciences and Science Teacher; [email protected] 
Katherine McDevitt, Biomedical Sciences and Science Teacher; [email protected]

Raffaela Fronc, Science and STEM District Coordinator; [email protected]