Project Lead the Way @ Santa Rosa Academy

Santa Rosa Academy is a kindergarten through 12th grade charter school in Menifee, California.  The school is in its ninth year, and its first year in a beautiful brand new facility.  It started as a small charter in a shopping center with only 5 teachers and has grown to a full campus with over 60 teachers. 




On Tuesday, our team had the chance to visit Santa Rosa Academy to find out more about their implimentation of Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a hands-on curriculum focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.  Several schools in Poway Unified School District currently offer PLTW as a middle and high school elective.  Santa Rosa Academy is piloting the K-5 Launch program in addition to its sixth through 12 grade PLTW program.  Design39Campus is interested in PLTW as an integrated part of all grades, K-8.




Project Lead the Way Overview:
"Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is the leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM (science, technology, 
engineering and math) education curricular programs used in schools. As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, 
PLTW exists to prepare students for the global economy through its world-class curriculum, high-quality 
professional development, and an engaged network of educators, students, universities, and professionals. 
PLTW’s comprehensive curriculum has been designed by PLTW teachers, university educators, engineering 
and biomedical professionals, and school administrators to promote critical thinking, creativity, innovation, 
and real-world problem solving skills in students. The hands-on, project-based program engages students on 
multiple levels, exposes them to areas of study that they typically do not pursue, and provides them with a 
foundation and proven path to college and career success."  (http://www.pltw.org)

Project Lead the Way video featuring Santa Rosa Academy:



Principal Laura Badillo toured us around campus to see the K-5 Launch program in action. 
  • In a kindergarten class, students read the story Jack and the Beanstalk, and discussed the structure and function of the beanstalk and its parts. The next step will be for students to make a bean stalk using only 10 pipecleaners to create a freestanding structure that will support an egg.
  • In a second grade class, students read a story about a boy who needed a way to keep popsicles frozen while we was at his soccer game.  They discussed the boy's problem and brainstormed other information they would need to find out in order to solve the problem.  Through the design process and exploring a variety of materials, they will be creating a way to keep the ice pops cold until after the game.  What a great way to learn the properties of matter and how energy is transferred?!
  • In a fourth grade classroom, students were beginning their study of energy and collisions.  Students watched with excitement as their teacher tested her Lego car as it rolled down an incline carrying a raw egg (see the video here!).  Students will be designing and building their own cars with restraint systems using VEX kits. 

The biggest thing the D39C team noticed at Santa Rosa Academy?  The students were engaged and excited about learning!  The teachers asked great questions, fostered curiousity, allowed students to explore, and were brave enough to try something that is not typical in an elementary school.  A special thanks to Principal Badillo for spending her morning with our team!

Right on, Santa Rosa Academy!

Kelly Eveleth
Teacher & Designer
@Design39Campus