Project Lead-the-Way

We are committed to providing an outstanding Catholic education for our students and we are proud to be participating in Project Lead-the-Way (PLTW). We are reinventing the classroom experience. Our pathways in computer science, engineering, and science engage students in hands-on activities, projects, and problems; empower them to solve real-world challenges; and inspire them to reimagine how they see themselves.

There is a heightened concern within Fox Cities business and manufacturing communities that many potential employees do not have the technical and problem-solving skills that are essential in today’s evolving workplace.

SMCS researched ways to best prepare students for the future while acting as responsible members of the greater community, and found that Project Lead-the-Way stands alone in addressing these core objectives.

Project Lead The Way is the nation’s leading provider of K-12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) programs. Its project-based curriculum and high-quality teacher professional development, combined with an engaged network of educators and corporate partners, helps students develop the skills they need to be successful in post-secondary education and beyond.


2020-21 Project Lead-the-Way Modules (including Launch, Gateway, and Pathways)

  • Kindergarten: Human Body
  • Grade 1: Animal Adaptations
  • Grade 2: Materials Science – Properties of Matter & The Changing Earth
  • Grade 3: Stability & Motion – Science & Flight, Stability & Motion – Forces & Interactions
  • Grade 4: Energy Collision & Energy Conversion
  • Grade 5: Robotics & Automation, Infection Detection
  • Grade 6: Flight & Space
  • Grade 7: Medical Detectives
  • Grade 8: Energy & Environment
  • Grades 7 & 8: Computer Science
  • Grades 9-12: Introduction to Engineering, Principles of Engineering


Dedicated SMCS educators and a visionary group of community professionals with expertise in STEM-related fields or businesses collaborate to ensure a strong foundation and bright future for the program at SMCS. Members of this advisory committee meet several times per year to help with planning and also serve as resources, help implement innovative ideas and act as classroom consultants to support the PLTW curriculum.

Project Lead-the-Way Advisory Group

  • Jill Ahles
  • Emilie Boots
  • Christine Cedergren
  • Greg Cheslock
  • Michelle Jungbauer
  • Phil Kerwin
  • Maggie Knecht
  • Dave Levine
  • Linda Meier
  • Rob Srnka


New Era of Student Preparation

The incorporation of PLTW in St. Mary Catholic Schools’ core curriculum is supplemented by many STEM-related co-curricular activities such as:

  • Math Teams (Grades 5-12): Compete in local math leagues & contests during school year
  • STEM Club (Grades 8-12): Aeronautics & Flight, Electronics and VEX Robotics
  • VEX IQ (Grades 2-5): Robotics Competitions
  • Camp Invention (Grades K-6): Week-long summer camp focusing on STEM-based creativity
  • STEM Saturday (Community Event): Day-long event showcasing various STEM interests
  • STEM Club Open Houses (Community Event): STEM Club Lab open to the public
  • Summer Day Camps: Rocketry
  • STEM Club Outreach (Community Event): Club members do demonstrations for community organizations