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Lockheed Martin to Fund Engineering Classes in Several Urban Districts

This afternoon, D.C. public schools announced that the aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin would be donating up to $2.4 million to fund STEM programs at elementary, middle, and high schools across the city. The grant is part of a larger effort, to which Lockheed Martin has committed $6 million, to expand Project Lead the Way programs in several urban districts. 

Project Lead the Way is a nonprofit that develops project-based curricula for K-12 engineering and biomedical courses. It's been recognized as an "exemplary program" by Change the Equation, a coalition of business leaders championing STEM education. (I had the chance to visit a PLTW school last year in Oregon.) 

Any D.C. schools that are interested in implementing a PLTW program can request a three-year grant from the Lockheed Martin funding stream. Each grant covers the majority of the costs for participation, teacher professional development, and classroom equipment and supplies. For instance, the typical cost for a high school to implement three PLTW engineering courses over three years is $40,000. The Lockheed Martin grant for a high school is $35,000.

So far, seven D.C. middle schools have signed on to receive funding. 

Jennifer Cahill, a spokeswoman for PLTW, said in an interview that elementary schools in Huntsville, Ala., will also have the opportunity to receive funding through Lockheed Martin grants. Two other urban districts are likely to be offered funding as well, she said, and those will probably be announced in the next year and a half. 

"The funding is there to remove cost barriers so that any school that wants to implement PLTW has the funds to do so," Cahill said.

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