CJ Hosts PLTW Teacher Training Courses

While school may be out of session for students over the summer, many teachers from around the nation are taking the opportunity to learn new curriculum through Project Lead the Way (PLTW) course training. While the PLTW Ohio affiliate training usually only takes place at Sinclair Community College, this summer, Chaminade Julienne is hosting teachers for three, two-week sessions to learn more in the biomedical science courses.

"Sinclair's labs are under construction so this was an opportunity for us to have the teachers in a working high school classroom," said PLTW Master Teacher and CJ science department co-chair Amy O'Loughlin '86. "This is a professional development unlike anything else. The teachers are at CJ from 7:30 or 8 in the morning until 5 at night. They have homework every night and on the weekends, but it's worth it." 

O'Loughlin and CJ science department co-chair Amanda Ooten  are both certified PLTW Master Teachers, which allows them to teach these summer courses.

"To be a master teacher, you have to have taught the curriculum for two years and then it's an application and selection process," O'Loughlin explained. O'Loughlin is in her sixth year of master teaching and Ooten is in her fourth year.

"I learn from the other teachers," shared O'Loughlin. "I love networking, getting to meet people and seeing how they run their classroom because I learn from that every year. PLTW also listens to the master teachers in how to move the curriculum forward, so we've been able to be a part of rewriting the curriculum."

CJ began introducing PLTW courses to students in the 2008-2009 school year. Both biomedical science and engineering courses have been offered previously. Additionally for the 2016-2017 school year, students have the opportunity to take an environmental sustainability class.

"Project Lead the Way is teaching kids inquiry and project based learning," O'Loughlin emphasized. "It's not - sit here and let me lecture to you. There are activities and  students are basically learning by what they're doing. The curriculum for each course is the same throughout the nation."

"Several years ago when we were in the planning process of the CJ STEMM Center, there were several options and one of the most traditional was the fixed lab sinks running down the middle of a classroom with unmovable counter tops," Principal John Marshall '86, added. "We made a decision that solely dedicated spaces for labs would go away. We could create the lab settings on the outside of the classroom, essentially creating additional learning lab spaces so during the school year, the teachers don't have to check out a lab.

Teachers perform eye tests as part of a PLTW biomedical science activity"With the PLTW training going on at CJ this summer, we can serve multiple uses with visitors because they can stay in one location and get the lab experience," Marshall continued. "The fact that CJ could continue hosting trainings like this is an affirmation of the resources we provide in the CJ STEMM Center."

From June 20 through July 1, 23 teachers were in CJ going through the Human Body Systems or Medical Interventions course training. From July 11 through July 22, teachers will be learning the Principles of Biomedical Science course or a junior high level course and from July 25 through August 5, teachers will be learning the Biomedical Innovations course. While all biomedical course trainings are happening at CJ, Sinclair is continuing to host engineering course trainings.

"We go through the entire curriculum for the year in two weeks," O'Loughlin noted. "While the teachers won't do every activity, we talk about every activity. We will do every lab and every larger activity so they know how to do it once. This way when they go to their home classrooms, they know how it should go."

O'Loughlin added, "Even if the teachers don't remember how the activity exactly went, they make friendships and connections in these summer courses so they have resources to go back to. This way, they don't feel like they're stranded in their classroom and don't know where it's supposed to go."

(Pictures: Teachers perform eye tests as part of a PLTW biomedical science activity).

Posted June 29, 2016