January 15, 2015



A special meeting with Penn-Harris Madison School Corporation was called to order at 1:36 p.m., Thursday, January 15, 2015, in Room 205, City Hall, 600 East Third Street, Mishawaka, Indiana. Mayor Wood, Commissioner Stillson, Commissioner Deal, Rebecca Miller, Ken Prince, Attorney Larry Meteiver, Matthew Haepke, Larry Beeler, Diane Bowersox, Matt Reininga, Steve Hope, Dr. Kay Antonelli and Dr. Denise Seger. Also present were Dave Thomas and Marilyn Nelums-Jones.

An opening statement was given by Larry Beeler, Vice President of Penn-Harris Madison School Corporation Board. Mr. Beeler thanked the City for the opportunity to meet with the City in their request for funding for Project Lead the Way initiative.

A portion of the students who live in the City of Mishawaka are students of Penn-Harrison Madison School Corporation and a significant portion of the Mishawaka TIF is within the boundaries of the Penn-Harris Madison School Corporation. The Board asked that the City carefully evaluate their presentation and seek value in funding their request.

Dr. Antonelli, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction also thanked the City and provided a power point presentation with an overview of their needs, dilemma’s, challenges and successes in the face of their challenges. One of the pieces addressed the questions put forth in the letter received from the City.

  1. Provide a summary of the Project Lead the Way program at Penn-Harris Madison
  2. Look for documentation of number of students who reside within the three and four digit City of Mishawaka.
  3. Current funding needs or shortfalls for Project Lead the Way
  4. Documenting the request for funding specifically for Project Lead the Way
  5. How to document successful implementation for Project Lead the Way

Penn-Harris High School has been involved with Project Lead the Way since 2002. There are two components to the project, Engineering and Bio-Medical Sciences. Engineering has been around a lot longer. They currently offer 8 courses in the program, 5 in Engineering pathway and 3 in Bio-Medical science. Currently this year over 400 students are enrolled in those two programs. 42% of Project Lead the Way students are young women. Over 600 students 40% of junior and senior students elect to be in the stem academy. The High School program did not qualify for any funding last Spring from Project Lead the Way St. Joseph County grant. “Mayor Wood asked why it was not funded” – when they took part in all meetings the stipulation was that it had to be a new program. Schmuker Middle School had not offered Project Lead the Way before so they qualified and received $10,000.00 to be distributed over a 3 year period. Currently all 6th grade students are enrolled (286 students) 148 7/8th grade students were able to elect, plans this summer to offer design and modeling to students who did not have the advantage during the school year. The elementary program is called “Launch” and is at Bittersweet Elementary School. They applied for grand funding and last year was the first year Launch was initiated. They received $4,500.00 for three years which includes teacher training on energy collisions for 4th grade and automation and robotics for 5th grade. Approximately 75 students were involved with the elementary program.

Matt Reinina – teaches the first course in Project Lead the Way Gateway program designed for the middle school. The first course in the sequence is called “Design and Modeling.” Students receive basic instruction in Engineering. They also do activity with Engineering Design process and also use with a 3D modeling printer. They also use the software to go thru the Engineering Design process and design something creative. Mr. Reinina also brought samples that students had made from scratch with the software and the printer. The student’s enthusiasm is high in the class. There are no classroom management issues. This summer he will be trained in Automation and Robotics. There are at least six other courses that are elective and may be chosen if desired. All six graders are taking design and modeling. Next year it will be offered again to 6th graders and 7/8th graders can take the second course. The third year a course for 8th graders will be offered. The cost of the 3D printer they purchased was about $2,000.00. Commissioner Deal asked “about the success of the program” – (the number of students who have pursued further education beyond high school in these areas) At the High School there is a $30,000 printer that is printing proto-types for area businesses. Students are designing and will help to install a mechanical hand for a student without a hand. Robotics team working with Notre Dame to build a small robotic that goes out into the farm field and distinguishes weeds from plants.

Its problem and project based. It is based on national standards, next generational standards and college and career readiness. Project Lead the Way creates student interest in stem areas beginning in early grades and changes attitudes. They will train students that stay in this area following college for jobs that are in this area. Students will earn college credit and it is their desire to see at least 25% of them earning credit. The male percentage enrolled is greater in these particular classes. They offer Women in Technology Day with the purpose of engaging them in 5 or 6 technology activities using the inventor program, Bridge Builder program, etc. They bring middle school students to the high school and this is done in rotation. It is also offered to female 9th grade students with women in engineering focus and the introduction to design. The second course principles of engineering will not be just an all- female course. This course engages them for taking harder classes. Preparing for College and Careers is a course for all 9th grade students.

They started in 2002 and they have built their Project Lead the Way courses up every year since then. In the past five years they have had 1,282 Penn High School students who have completed a Project Lead the Way course. There are dual credit opportunities. Schmucker and Bittersweet schools were added this year. 75% of students will go onto college and complete a four year degree who attend Penn Harris High School. 32% of students that go thru the project come back and are hired in this area. Before the program the average was around 60%.

Future of Project Lead the Way – Increased funding will allow for increased enrollment. Capstone Course – students that will pull together all the other skills they learned from the other courses. They also plan to offer an aerospace engineering course. Bio-Medical Sciences and Pathway to Engineering will be offered, Capstone Course which is students that choose a problem will pull together all the other skills they learned from the other courses and solve it. Also an aerospace engineering course will be offered. They will try to develop a hand for a student born without a hand. The Capstone project will be excellent for this. They will try to develop software to do this project.

Budget – They spend about $5,000 a year at the High School which involves all software and curriculum. They do have extensive teacher training for 2 weeks in IU, PUI (Indianapolis) or Purdue at Kokomo. Fees are involved for the courses. Courses have been popular. They have gone from 3 to 7 teachers. Set-up costs for some courses. There is a need for approximately $25,000 for equipment.

They presented a handout regarding Project Lead the Way implementation and student involvement. Ken Prince responded to additional implementation in other schools. Mayor Wood requested data for each school and stated that it would not be effective to implement in a school with low population, but could students receive the course knowledge from another school. Representative stated that it had been discussed and that it could be offered during the summer session.

Ken Prince would like to see the Mishawaka enrollment by grade. If there are specific plans and cost implementation for other schools, they should be forwarded to Ken Prince. Dave Thomas asked about the startup cost for Bittersweet - $5,000.00 for two pathways at Penn High School (a yearly expense) with fee. There is approximately $1,000.00 for teacher training, also hardware (I-pads), software and licensure fees. Hardware cost is one time for a while. Teacher training would not come back around except for new teachers. Initial startup costs would sustain them. It is not their intent to come annually and ask for funds. Ken Prince asked if there is a drop date for the necessity of funding. Mayor Wood asked what type of reporting would be provided that the program is successful before and after the investment. They stated they could provide quarterly, annually or whatever is requested of them. Ken Prince says what we believe is feasible the next step would be a MOU. They asked what percent would have to be Mishawaka residents before we would consider funding those schools. If we assess the need at one and only a small population is interested, does it make sense to invest.

Ralph Spelbring (public comment) – asked if Warsaw School system has a program such as this.

Mayor Wood offered his appreciation for their presentation and we will go into this looking at participating where we can. We recognize that they have a declining budget. The City also faces the same issue. We do have a TIF district, whatever happens will happen out of that funding. Six million dollars is needed and less than half of that to do what we need to get done. We will do this where this is effective and complies with State law. TIF is of specific purpose. The Mayor’s expectation is pristine audits. We will not go into uncharted territories. What we do will be proven and we will make sure it has impact. Funds would come from the City and generated and impacted in Mishawaka students. We are willing to partner in ways we have not before. We have info to gather and review and we will go forward and questions going forward would be directed to Dr. Antonelli. Letter were sent to any school that has Mishawaka students.

Meeting was adjourned at 2:49 P.M.


Jim Pingel, President

Dave Thomas, Director

Marilyn Nelums-Jones, Clerk

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