Clear Lake Schools is leader in transforming the learning process

(Above) Hunter Callanan, from the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corp., was on hand to see the new ways Clear Lake students are learning with Project Lead the Way.-Reporter photo.

by Marianne Gasaway

The Clear Lake School District has embraced the concept that students learn best by doing and last week the district celebrated the roll-out of Project Lead The Way (PLTW) curriculum now being used in all district buildings.

About 50 persons attended a program to learn more about how the transformative learning experience is being used in kindergarten through high school.

PLTW utitilizes an APB (Activity, Projects, Problem) approach.  Students participate in an activity to help them acquire knowledge and skill, then use them in a project and eventually apply and transfer those skills to solve a problem.

“We have to look at how kids learn and we can’t continuously do things the way they have been done for the last 20 to 30 years,” said Clear Lake Superintendent Doug Gee.  “We want kids to love the school experience and want to come to school.  It’s our job.  We can’t control their home life and parents, but we can control their experience here and we want it to be engaging and exciting.”

Terry Ausman, director of school engagement in Iowa and Nebraska for PLTW, was on hand for the local event.

“PLTW helps kids figure out if they are STEM thinkers, helps them work together, collaborate and develop higher thinking skills which they can then take out into the community,” said Ausman.  “We are not teaching kids to do a job, we are teaching them to be thinkers.”

Emily Hill and Kristin Ebeling, from the Clear Lake School District, completed lead teacher training in 2017 and facilitated the PLTW launch

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