Launch + PLTW: Why Offer PLTW Courses Online? (And How Will We Do It)

PLTW Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Katie Mote shares why the STEM-focused organization chose to partner with Launch Virtual Learning.
By Savannah Waszczuk

As members of the PLTW Executive Leadership Team considered partnering with Launch to offer virtual courses to Missouri’s students, multiple things caught their attention. “One of the things we admire is the governor’s commitment to expanding career programming access, and the work he is doing to make sure that every child in Missouri has access to the education needed to enter the workforce,” says Katie Mote, PLTW’s Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer. “When Dr. Lemmon reached out and shared some of the opportunities that were available after the latest legislative session, we were thrilled to think about how we might partner with Launch to make sure that PLTW access is available to every child.”

As Katie continues, she stresses the goals of the PLTW Launch partnership. “We began to think about how we might partner in a way that honors and preserves seated opportunities—those brick-and-mortar, in-the-classroom opportunities,” she says. “Our goal isn’t to replace them or compete with them. Instead, we want to reach beyond the boundaries. We want to make sure that things like lack of access to a teacher, or lack of access to curriculum, is not a barrier.”

Enter Launch. Now entering our 12th year in virtual education, a key principle of our program is to provide high-quality course access to all students, regardless of their zip code. We have been providing students statewide access to expanded course offerings that otherwise would not exist in their district since 2017, and we’re excited to continue doing so with our new PLTW courses.

“We think Launch has a really interesting model and provides a great way to make your most talented teachers available to students, wherever they are in the state,” Katie says. And while Launch provides the required certified teachers in the new partnership, PLTW makes its curriculum available to these teachers and Launch’s team of digital developers—all who work to design and deliver the content in a high-quality online format.

“An ultimate objective of PLTW is to make sure we have the workforce of the future,” Katie says. “The vision that Missouri is casting around workforce readiness—and the way you all are preparing intentional pathways for students—is really exciting. Through this partnership, we’re going to increase the number of Missouri students who have access to high-quality STEM content by the thousands, and that is really exciting for us.”

PLTW Fast Fact: PLTW students are more likely to consider careers as scientists, technology experts, engineers, mathematicians, healthcare providers and researchers.