Project Lead the Way (Engineering) Program

Catholic Memorial is proud to be a fully certified Project Lead the Way (PLTW) School. PLTW is a four-year engineering program that emphasizes the relationship and integration among Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). CMH is also a pilot school for the most advanced courses offered in the PLTW and Computer Science curriculum, giving students the opportunity to take these select courses at CMH before any other school.

PLTW’s comprehensive curriculum stresses critical thinking, creativity, innovation, and real-world problem solving. The hands-on, project-based program engages students on multiple levels, exposes them to subjects that they typically would not pursue, and provides them with a strong foundation for achieving their academic goals in any chosen field of study. Colleges, universities, and expert industry professionals play an important role in our network by providing an impressive and important range of support and services; such as mentorship, internship opportunities, admission preference, granting college credit, and awarding scholarships for students. Students can begin earning college credits as early as their freshman year.

PLTW Accolades

PLTW Student / Faculty Awards:
  • 2014 NCWit: Educator Award & Student Runners-up
  • 2015 NCWit: Wisconsin State Engineering Design Champions, WI Award Winner & Student Runners-up
  • 2016 WI State Design Competition 3rd Place
  • 2017 NCWit: Honorable Mention Educator Award, State Award & Honorable Mention State Award
CMH STEM Innovation Awards
  • 2016 Time Warner “STEMMY” Award for the Memorial Propel Process, First Robotics Rookie All-Star Award - Wisconsin Regional
  • 2017 First Robotics Finalist - Wisconsin Regional

Benefits of PLTW to CMH Students

List of 4 items.

  • Stats

    • PLTW students achieve significantly higher scores on the ACT in reading, mathematics, and science.
    • PLTW students have the opportunity to earn college credit as early as freshman year.
    • On average, PLTW alumni have a GPA 0.21 points higher than the average GPA of all first-year college students.
    • PLTW alumni are 5 to 10 times more likely to pursue engineering and technology classes than other first-year college students.
    • PLTW students surveyed in Wisconsin middle schools and high schools reported being more engaged in schoolwork than did non-PLTW students.
    • 79% of PLTW graduates completed four years of college-preparatory mathematics and 63% completed four years of college-preparatory science.
    • 97% of PLTW alumni said they planned to pursue a four-year degree as opposed to 67% of non-PLTW students.
    It's all centered on the most vital fields of learning and essential professions needed in the world today and tomorrow. Students experience an approach to learning that fuels imaginative thinking, creative problem solving and innovative solutions - just the kinds of skills that will help them succeed in their education and beyond.
    PLTW alumni are studying engineering and technology in greater numbers than the national average, with a higher retention rate in college engineering, science and related programs than non-PLTW students. PLTW courses are preparing students to become the most innovative and productive in the world.
  • College Credit

    PLTW classes are nationally standardized project-based courses that prepare students for college-level work and culminate with a student assessment, which colleges and universities can use to determine if a student earns college credit. The following are ways in which we see post-secondary institutions articulating with PLTW (some institutions, define these terms differently, so please verify before making assumptions):
    • Course Substitution Credit
      PLTW course substitutes for a program course. Treated similar to AP or transfer credit.
    • Advanced Standing Credit
      PLTW course eliminates the need for an elective course; or gives them no course credit, but gives them credit to advance their class standing (i.e. early registration, parking preferences, early financial assistance increase due to reaching junior status quicker).
    • Partial Course Credit
      Grant partial credit for a course, thus reducing the tuition to the student, but not the time.
    • Bridge Courses
      Course designed specifically to fill any gaps between the PLTW courses and related program courses.
    • Retro-Credit Model
      Students that successfully complete a higher level course in a sequence are granted program credit for a prerequisite course.
    • Test-out or Challenge Exam
      Students are allowed to sit for a challenge exam, which upon successful completion will give them credit for the program course.
  • Scholarships/Grants

    Seeing increased performance and persistence from PLTW students, many institutions wish to offer scholarships to PLTW students attending their institution. The following are ways in which we see institutions offering scholarships or grants:
    • Students are awarded a scholarship or grant based upon their enrollment in PLTW programs or course(s)
    • Students are eligible to apply for scholarships, specifically designated for PLTW students.
  • Admission Preference

    Seeing increased performance and persistence from PLTW students, many institutions wish to offer preference to PLTW students seeking admission. The following are ways in which we see institutions offering admission preference to PLTW students:
    • PLTW courses act as one of the required courses for admissions, such as a science or math equivalency courses.
    • PLTW programs or courses are part of their weighted admissions requirements used when accepting students into the institution or degree program.
    • PLTW enrollment grants automatic enrollment into the institution or degree program.

Fast Facts

  • CMH is a nationally certified PLTW Engineering High School.
  • CMH offers courses in all three strands of PLTW: Engineering, Computer Science and Biomedical Science.
  • In 2017, 92% of PLTW students were eligible to earn college credit for their coursework.


List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Mary Petrie

    Mary Petrie 76

    Innovation & Entrepreneurship Dept. Chair, PLTW Teacher - Alumna '76