North Surry program gets thumbs-up

By Andy Winemiller -

Project Lead the Way is opening doors in the field of engineering for students at North Surry High School.

The school recently received notification it had received national certification for the program, which introduces students to an engineering curriculum.

The Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program at North Surry has been in place since 2012, according to school offcials. It “allows students to step into the role of an engineer, adopt a problem-solving mindset, and make the leap from dreamers to doers.”

Additionally, the project, which is spearheaded by a nonprofit group, provides training and professional development for teachers associated with the program, according to an explanation from Surry County Schools spokesperson Sonia Dickerson. North Surry is also the only area school to offer the program at the high school level.

According to a statement released by the school system, the PLTW recognition distinguishes the school for its excellence in meeting the standards of the program.

In order to gain the recently attained national recognition a team of teachers, staff, students and members of the community was required to submit a self-assessment of the PLTW program, according to a statement prepared by Dickerson. A PLTW team then visited the school.

The program at North Surry is fed by a PLTW program at Meadowview Magnet Middle School. During visits from U.S. Rep. Mark Walker and state legislators Sen. Shirley Randleman and Rep. Sarah Stevens, Superintendent Travis Reeves has highlighted the PLTW program as a program of which the school system is proud.

Those within the program agree.

“We’ve seen how PLTW inspires students to think critically and problem solve,” said Jonathan Sutphin, a North Surry PLTW teacher. “We are extremely proud to be PLTW certified.”

At Meadowview students are introduced to the engineering program, taking part in projects ranging from building models of equipment used in factories to designing box derby cars.

Many choose to take the program to the next level at North Surry. Reeves told Randleman and Stevens the program at North Surry turns the model into an actual, marketable piece of equipment.

Reeves has highlighted the PLTW program as one which engages students and pushes them to learn through real-world application.

During his visit, Walker called North Surry’s feeder program at Meadowview “innovative.”

Those a little closer to to the program are also sold on the PLTW program.

“We’ve seen how the PLTW program draws more students to engineering, math and science and gets them thinking about college and their careers,” said North Surry principal Paige Badgett.

“We are extremely proud to be PLTW certified and ecstatic that our students are eligible for college-level recognition, which may include college credit, scholarships and admissions preference.”

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer and can be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and can be reached at 415-4698.

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