Engineering Programs Come to UW GEAR UP

University of Washington GEAR UP gives $328,637 to Washington schools for Project Lead the Way STEM curriculum. Two existing University of Washington GEAR UP High Schools, Toppenish and East Valley, along with 5 new Washington State high schools (Grandview, Zillah, Burlington-Edison, Wapato and Mt. Adams) will divide $328,637 to implement Project Lead The Way (PLTW) curriculum. The funds are part of a Department of Education grant given to the University Of Washington Office Of Minority Affairs to provide GEAR UP services that will encourage, support, and enable students to apply and be admitted to a four year college after high school graduation.

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) has been touted by tech companies and federal education officials as a model program for schools nationwide because it teaches high-school students skills they would need to perform well in college level math and science courses and in a full-time job in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).

The Project Lead The Way Engineering and Biomedical Sciences programs offer students an array of advantages, from career readiness and hands-on experience to college preparatory–level classes, labs, and creative exercises. PLTW students succeed in the classroom and in life.

Project Lead the Way has energized the staff and students of Toppenish High School. PLTW has shown how a dedicated collaboration of Professional Learning Communities is critical to the teaching and learning of our students and staff. PLTW has influenced and created a new tool of motivation for academic success for 117 students at Toppenish High School.

The Engineering classes are opening new doors of interest and awareness to our school in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It is becoming a captivating interest of new rigor and post-secondary preparation to our students, staff, and building.

“PLTW is a strategically challenging curriculum that offers hands-on application, problem solving, and critical thinking in making our students soar to new academic heights as individuals and as a whole district.”

~John Cerna Toppenish School District Superintendent

These programs are designed to appeal to all students, from those already interested in STEM-related fields, to those whose experience in the sciences and math has been less comprehensive or who find themselves uninterested in traditional STEM curricula. PLTW classes are hands-on, based in real-world experience, and fun for students and teachers. They set the highest standards for rigorous, focused, and engaging study, developing students’ innovative, collaborative, cooperative, and problem-solving skills.

STEM literacy reduces dropout rates, increases attendance, and helps students find better-paying jobs after school. PLTW helps create better students, better teachers, better learning environments, and a better world.

  • PLTW is a comprehensive, turnkey program with a quick turnaround time and support for smooth and efficient implementation, whether you’re starting up for the first time or introducing new courses.
  • All course materials and equipment are selected by PLTW experts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and are provided for each program. Teachers and students use the latest state-of-the-art equipment found in robotics, biotechnology, electronics, civil engineering and architecture, engineering design, and aerospace.
  • PLTW.org gives educators 24-hour access to information, sourcing, and purchasing.


PLTW is a true curriculum based on a tried-and-true pedagogy

  • Offered full year and multi-year for middle and high schools, both the Engineering and Biomedical Sciences tracks dovetail with current class offerings.
  • Curricula include standards, learning outcomes, sequence and schedule, problems, projects, integrated activities, assessments, and support.


PLTW provides professional development and support

  • Teachers receive comprehensive training from a PLTW partner university.
  • Training gives teachers full proficiency regardless of previous experience.
  • PLTW’s Virtual Academy for Professional Development updates teachers through an online repository of information and references.
  • PLTW also offers counselor conferences to provide high school guidance counselors with a clear understanding of the program and how it fits within a student’s scholastic/academic career path.