|Pattonville hosts PLTW Showcase for Missouri educators|
|Monday, November 11, 2019|
Pattonville High School hosted a Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Showcase on Oct. 30 with students in Jeremiah Simmons’s computer science classes sharing their knowledge and successes with Missouri educators and business partners. PLTW asked the school to host the event based on its successful history with PLTW courses and its model computer science pathway. PLTW is a national organization that provides STEM education programs for schools across the United States.
“We're showcasing high school computer science today and there's really no better place to do that in Missouri, in my opinion, than here at Pattonville High School,” said Ashley Benne, the PLTW director of school engagement for western Missouri. “Jeremiah Simmons is an exemplary teacher. He's a master teacher for us in three of our four computer science courses, his students have won so many accolades for their computer science abilities, and he just does a really fantastic job of teaching our curriculum in a way that's helping students be more successful with the world of computer science.”
Simmons is grateful for the opportunities the Pattonville School District provides him and his students.
“I think one thing that Pattonville really does is that they really just believe in the program that we've got here and they just kind of open it up and say, ‘Hey, run with it, create opportunities for kids,’” Simmons said. “I think what we do a good job of is just creating the opportunity for kids to learn. We create the space and the time for them to come in, and we really just let them come in to learn and grow and work with each other and collaborate.”
At the end of the computer science pathway, students can enroll in a capstone course which challenges them to create a software program to benefit the school.
“So when we do these projects in here, we talk about building an app to solve a problem,” Simmons said. “We always start with the brainstorming process, and ask ‘Hey, what's the problem?’ Specifically like what bothers you about the day and then they get the chance to think about that and then develop a solution toward it.”
In the past, students have developed the district’s mobile app for Android and iOS and have also created a school messaging system.
“The capstone class is essentially an independent experience where we work fairly independently on a year-long project,” senior William Skaggs said. “This year, we built a school voting system that was used to vote for a homecoming queen.”
Simmons said there's a lot of voice and choice in what they're doing.
“They're making an app that they can use right there on their phone and they make it a program that they can use right there on the computer.”
The students are learning in class, but not just sitting and listening to a teacher the whole time; they're getting an opportunity to take the information and apply it.
“These kids have talents. What they can do is amazing,” Simmons said. “They just need to have the opportunity to show that.”
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