Superintendent's Monthly Message


October 2014

Twenty-first century learning has become a buzzword throughout the educational community, but in classrooms throughout Union School District teachers and students are engaged in ground breaking activities that define the term. Both of Union’s middle schools, Dartmouth and Union, offer students Project Lead the Way (PLTW) courses, a nationally recognized and rigorous science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curriculum that builds foundational skills and abilities for higher level PLTW work at both the high school and college levels. Students enrolled in Union’s PLTW courses do hands-on activities in state-of-the-art learning environments equipped with interactive learning displays, Autocad Inventor software, and 3-D printers. Adding to the high-tech environment, classrooms will soon have 3-D “virtual reality” monitors which enable students wearing special glasses to view computer-generated images of objects as if they were floating in the air in front of them. Students and teachers will be able to manipulate objects and view them from any angle, and even take them apart to look inside.

Courses offered such as Design and Modeling, Automation and Robotics, and Green Architecture inspire students to use creativity, and the technological opportunities available in these classrooms empower students to utilize their imagination. Additional courses offered at our middle schools include a programming class where students learn Javascript and the fundamentals of coding and a STEM I class which enables students to apply engineering design in order to create a solution to a challenge.

The teachers who are leading the way by teaching these innovative and engaging courses were required to attend an intensive two week training class at San Jose State University in order to prepare for delivering this curriculum to their students. Recognizing the talent and dedication that teaching these rigorous STEM classes requires, the Santa Clara County Office of Education is recognizing Dartmouth Middle School teacher Pamela Rissmann and Union Middle School teachers Kelly Malatesta and Nicholas Barbara as the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Teachers of the Year for our county!

Always at the forefront of educational innovation and excellence, Union School District will lead the way next year by introducing the PLTW curriculum in several of its elementary schools, with plans to expand to all elementary schools in the near future. We are preparing our students to be successful in meeting the challenges they will face in a future that will undoubtedly look very different from the world we live in today. 


Dr. Jacqueline M. Horejs