Woodland Park High School Receives Several Grants to Provide STEM-Based Curriculum and Family Consumer Science Education

The ProStart kitchen had an extensive remodel and new equipment was purchased including food processors and blenders for all six stations and more. (WPSD Courtesy Photo)
The Woodland Park High School (WPHS) in Woodland Park School District RE-2 recently received several grants totaling $22,000 to provide hands-on, interdisciplinary STEM-based curriculum that uniquely prepares students for life beyond the classroom and for students enrolled in Family Consumer Science classes.
Newmont Mining provided a $2,500 grant to complete the remodel of the Family Consumer Science Room that was begun in the Spring, 2021. The ProStart kitchen had an extensive remodel and new equipment was purchased including food processors and blenders for all six stations, three TV’s and a camera to use for displaying food demonstrations on the TVs.
“The remodel entailed taking out an interior classroom wall and opening up the kitchen to allow for more space for the culinary and ProStart classes here at the WPHS,” said Casie Nash, ProStart Instructor. “The grant money from Newmont, in addition to the $5,000 in special funding from The Rachael Ray Foundation (RRF) will allow us to engage and educate high school students interested in exploring restaurant and foodservice jobs and careers. I can’t wait to see what these students will accomplish this school year.”
For the STEM-related grant funded projects, there are two beneficiaries:
The first is a project to design and build a Solar Boat, which was awarded $3,500 through the Rocky Mountain AFCEA 2021 STEM Teacher Grant Program. This unique project being led by WPHS science teacher David Card also received $3,500 from Newmont Mining.
The AFCEA (Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association) Rocky Mountain Chapter is a leader in the Colorado Springs community, unifying the area’s military, government, industry and academic partners to advance the continuing education of today’s young leaders in science, technology, engineering, math and computer science fields (STEM).
“The Solar Boat team recently conducted our first meeting. Over the next couple weeks, we will be hashing out the theme of the boat and which sub-groups the students will be divided into (solar, electrical, drivetrain, and ancillary structures (steering, safety, seating), said Card. “I will be driving up to Cheyenne to pick up the marine grade materials we need in the next couple of weeks and construction will commence shortly thereafter.”
The second project is being funded through a PLTW-Lockheed Martin Cybersecurity grant in the amount of $10,000. WPHS will offer a Project Lead The Way’s (PLTW) high school program in PLTW Computer Science focused on the next race to space being cybersecurity. No longer is the U.S. trying to best other countries (USSR/Russia) racing to the moon, now the measure of the best is found in cybersecurity.
The opportunity is made possible through a partnership between Lockheed Martin and PLTW, a nonprofit organization that offers transformative classroom and learning experiences for PreK-12 students, including hands-on interdisciplinary STEM-based curriculum that uniquely prepares students for life beyond the classroom through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science.
WPHS is joining more than 12,200 schools across the U.S. providing opportunities for brighter futures for all students and will use funds from the grant to add PLTW’s Computer Science Cybersecurity course and help cover annual program fees, teacher professional development, and required classroom equipment and materials.
Kevin Burr, WPHS Principal and Karen Hamlow, WPHS Assistant Principal wrote the grant application and WPHS was one of only three schools in Colorado to receive a grant. “The funded program is part of our Cybersecurity career pathway,” said Hamlow. “The pathway will culminate with a Cybersecurity A+ certification (if the student takes all courses). Earning this certification would mean a student is career ready.”
PLTW programs are nationally recognized and certified trainers work with UCCS to allow students to earn 3 UCCS credits while in high school. “We already partner with UCCS in our Engineering pathway courses (2 courses) and will be working to certify our Computer Science Pathways.  If students complete 3 PLTW courses, they are eligible for an additional college scholarship,” explained Hamlow.
PLTW programs also include professional development opportunities that provide teachers with the support and resources they need to devote more time to inspiring students. The PLTW Core Training supports teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. Teachers will encounter best-in-class experiences that keep them on the forefront of how to prepare students for the demands of tomorrow. WPHS math teacher Laura Ferguson is currently in training while teaching this course. The grant will cover training for Ms. Ferguson, and a software/operating system for 2 years.
“WPHS talks about our motto of Real Learning. Real life. The E in REAL stands for Experiential. We want our students to have hands-on experiences with their learning to push their understanding to the next level,” said Burr. “Therefore, we are purposefully growing the programs that offer students the opportunity to apply book knowledge to the real world.”
“PLTW is proud to partner with Woodland Park High School to inspire students to excel in math and science,” said Dr. Vince Bertram, PLTW President and CEO. “Together, we’re empowering millions of young people to become inspired problem solvers. We’re passionate about equipping the next generation of students with the in-demand, real-world knowledge and skills they need to go further whatever path they choose.”
About Woodland Park School District Re-2:
A Place of Becoming. Mission: Together, we embrace a culture where all learners are empowered to pursue intellectual, personal, and collective excellence.
Woodland Park School District Re-2, 155 Panther Way, Woodland Park, CO 80863. Phone: (719) 686-2000. Learn more at wpsdk12.org.