Project Lead The Way

Learning Teams

Teacher-led collaboration

Teacher collaboration is critical for student success. Learning Teams are a forum for teachers to work together to solve problems, learn, and share resources. Organized by standout teachers, Learning Teams are groups of PLTW teachers who teach similar programs or courses.

Join a Learning Team to: Collaborate, learn, and celebrate with fellow PLTW teachers!

  • Connect with a highly collaborative, innovative educator culture.
  • Discuss your practice with peers to solve problems.
  • Learn about student and teacher programming to enhance your PLTW program (e.g. student events, PD, industry connections).
  • Access industry events: Opportunities to engage with industry professionals outside of the classroom to inform and enhance the PLTW experience for students.

Being part of the middle school CS Learning Team has been so helpful to connect with other teachers who are teaching the same courses I am and coming across the same challenges. It’s great to have a place to problem solve with fellow teachers.

Middle School PLTW teacher
Participant in Gateway Computer Science Learning Team

How Learning Teams Work

Learning Teams are organized and led by teachers. Teams set their own goals and decide how to work together.

  • Learning Teams consist of PLTW educators who teach the same PLTW program and/or course
  • Teams are coordinated by a Community Lead – a standout MA PLTW teacher who plans events and helps the team connect virtually and in person
  • Teams set their own goals and decide together on the best way to collaborate – with the added resource of Mass STEM Hub
  • Team members commit to being active participants by sharing & learning with and from each other

It is so great to be able to share resources with other PLTW teachers through the learning teams. Last year was so much better with the help of my Community Lead and Learning Team.

PLTW Biomedical Science teacher
Participant in Biomedical Science Learning Team

Meet the Community Leads

Elementary School (Launch)

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Wendy Marino

Woodland Elementary School, Milford, MA

Wendy Marino is a Lead Launch Teacher (LLT) at Woodland Elementary School in Milford, MA. Prior to becoming a LLT, Wendy was an Enrichment Teacher and 4th grade teacher for more than a decade. She obtained her M.Ed. in Elementary Education, specializing in STEM from Framingham State University and loves the direction her career has taken. As a PLTW teacher, Wendy is able to provide students with real-life, hands-on experiences they cannot access in their regular classrooms. Her students are excited to come and say they prefer her class to gym! Wendy is excited to be rolling out three new modules for a total of six that she will be teaching this year and she looks forward to her students becoming more engaged in STEM, as well as developing very important soft skills along the way.

PLTW modules: Stability and Motion: Science of Flight, Programming Patterns, Energy: Conversions, Input/Output: Computer Systems, Robotics & Automation, Infection: Detection

Lindsey Ayers

Franklin Avenue Elementary School, Westfield, MA

Lindsey Ayers is a Lead Launch Teacher (LTT) at Franklin Avenue Elementary School in Westfield, MA. Lindsey is in her 10th year teaching elementary students, while entering her 3rd year teaching PLTW to second graders.  PLTW has changed the way she thinks about teaching and learning in surprising and exciting ways, and she is eager to expand the Launch program in her school and district beginning this year.

PLTW Modules: The Changing Earth, Materials Science: Properties of Matter

Middle School (Gateway)

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Cristina Serradas

Dr. Philip O. Coakley Middle School, Norwood, MA

Cristina Serradas is the Computer Teacher and Technology Integration Facilitator at the Coakley Middle School in Norwood.  Prior to entering education, Cristina was a certified public accountant and whenever possible likes to infuse her business background into the curriculum.  She is also a Fuse Fellow through The Education Cooperative and Highlander Institute where she mastered blended learning and specializes in helping teachers transform their craft by creating a more student-centered classroom.  She is passionate about technology and is starting her third year with PLTW. She is certified in CSIM, with App Creator coming soon!  A connoisseur of challenging the status quo, Cristina is continually updating the curriculum and inspiring her students to go farther.  In her free time she enjoys traveling, photography, playing Pokemon Go and snuggling up with a good Sudoko puzzle!

Ashley Puopolo

Stoneham Central Middle School, Stoneham, MA

Ashley Puopolo is a STEM Specialist for Stoneham Central Middle School. She will be entering her 5th year as a Massachusetts PLTW teacher. Being a PLTW teacher has allowed for many collaborative opportunities with industry leaders, top higher education institutions and a cohort of colleagues who love bringing STEM education and real-world opportunities to their students. One such experience as a PLTW educator was participating in the Boston Children’s Hospital Student Showcase of a Therapeutic Toy Design Challenge for a patient with Cerebral Palsy. Her educational strengths are best demonstrated through her technology integration and modification of design challenges. In particular, Ashley is developing new methods of digitizing PLTW curriculum, including design challenges, engineering notebooks, Slide Guides and various Google tools to create fun and engaging projects and activities.

PLTW courses: Automation & Robotics, Flight & Space, Design & Modeling, Medical Detectives, Science of Technology

Chakara Cardillo

Randolph Community Middle School, Randolph, MA

Spotlight teacher, ballroom competitor, Rose Scholar, pageant queen and PLTW certified instructor are just a few ways to describe Chakara Cardillo. Chakara has her B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Pre-Med and minor in Chemistry. As a fierce believer in providing opportunities for minorities, Chakara creates countless possibilities for students to become successful because she believes in the potential of young people. Chakara continues to engage her students about problem solving strategies for today’s evolving society with the use of PLTW believing PLTW will help students migrate towards STEM in their education. She sees herself as an educator who is a lifelong learner as a graduate of the Leadership Institute at college and Leadership Institute in Randolph. She handles her journey as a teacher and leader with impeccable grace and great timing, always moving forward and never forgetting to reach out to those who need a hand.

PLTW courses: Science & Technology and Design & Modeling

High School Biomedical Science

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Jessica Meade

Plymouth South High School, Plymouth, MA

Jessica Meade teaches at Plymouth South High School and is in her 11th year of teaching. Prior to being a science teacher, Jessica worked as a pediatric chiropractor for 12 years. A combination of an injury, a family of educators, and great luck led Jessica to the high school classroom, which has been an incredible, joyous learning experience for her. PLTW’s Biomedical Program has given Jessica a way to blend her medical training with the best science lesson designs. PLTW’s curriculum settles the teacher in a role that feels very natural to Jessica, as a guide for her students as they explore the science for themselves. The 2019-20 school year is Jessica’s 5th year teaching PLTW’s Biomedical Science courses, and she is teaching the 4th course in the progression, Biomedical Innovations. Jessica has training in all four courses and has also taught Anatomy, Forensic Science and Biology. The new Community Lead Program is giving Jessica a way to help other teachers develop the course into their own. Jessica knows the new course and understands the struggles of new Biomed teachers and she is ready to help them find their happy place.

PLTW courses: Principles of Biomedical Science, Human Body Systems, Medical Interventions, Biomedical Innovations

High School Computer Science

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Katie Cunningham

Blackstone Valley RVTHS, Upton, MA

Katie Cunningham is the Information Technology & Networking Team Leader at Blackstone Valley RVTHS. Ms. Cunningham started her teaching career back in 2012 at Bay Path RVTHS teaching technology courses in their night school program. She then transitioned from night school instructor to the Programming and Web Development Shop Instructor in 2014. In 2017 she joined the Information Technology and Networking Program at BVT where she took on the role as team leader. She currently teaches the four Project Lead the Way courses within the Computer Science Pathway, as well as coursework preparing students for CompTIA and Cisco Certifications.

PLTW’s Computer Science Pathway has given Katie the means to encapsulate all the different career options Computer Science offers within her classroom.  The new Community Lead Program gives Katie a way to help other teachers develop the course into their own and share the resources and tips and tricks she has learned with the course over the years. In her free time, Katie also works in the cybersecurity field as an IT Security Analyst, coaches soccer and lacrosse, advises the game development club and loves to hike up in NH and Maine with her family.

High School Engineering

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Anna Seiders

Everett High School STEM Academy

Anna Seiders teaches Math and Engineering in the Everett High School STEM program. She has been teaching for 11 years, 10 of which have been in Everett, and is certified in Mathematics 8-12 and Technology/Engineering 5-12. Before training in PLTW Engineering, Anna was a math teacher for all high school grades. She has worked in a variety of classroom settings. Anna was trained in PLTW POE and CEA in 2017 and EDD in 2018. Anna loves how students are able to all experience the same curriculum in different ways. Her favorite course to teach is EDD because you are able to see the imagination of students come alive. In addition to her classes, Anna is the advisor for the STEM Club, a PowderPuff Coach, a district wide mentor, and a virtual learning leader. In her free time, she enjoys playing with her niece and nephew, reading Harry Potter, and spending time at outdoor cafes.

PLTW Courses: Principles of Engineering, Civil Engineering and Architecture, Engineering Design and Development, Common Capstone

Mike Smutok

Uxbridge High School, Uxbridge, MA

Mike Smutok is currently a Technology/Engineering teacher at Uxbridge High School. He has been teaching for 16 years and has his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Technology/ Education. He currently teaches four Project Lead the Way courses, as well as elective courses in manufacturing and construction engineering. He is certified 5- 12 Technology/ Engineering. Mr. Smutok is also a Science Olympiad assistant coach and has served as a mentor teacher at Uxbridge High School. Mike loves how PLTW has many open-ended problems and teaching engineering has been very rewarding. PLTW has also allowed him to continue to teach students about design and manufacturing, two subjects he is passionate about. When Mr. Smutok is not teaching, he enjoys fishing, woodworking, and spending time with his family and dog.

PLTW Courses: Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering, Civil Engineering and Architecture, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, and Engineering Design and Development