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Thomas Edison High School named PBL Champion for commitment to high-quality, project-based learning

Thomas Edison High School project based learning in Jamaica
Thomas Edison High School (Photo via Google Earth)

Thomas Edison Career & Technical High School in Jamaica Hills has been named a 2022 PBL Champion by the nonprofit PBLWorks, a leading provider of professional development for project-based learning. 

Thomas Edison High School, located at 165-65 84th Ave., was named the School PBL Champion for their unique approach to turning PBL into a schoolwide strategy. 

While most Career Technical Education (CTE) programs have academic content pushed into their design, educators at Thomas Edison did the reverse and brought what was working in CTE into the academic areas. 

Treating students as their clients, they listened to how they described why they were engaged in their CTE courses and why they weren’t engaged in their regular academic courses. Authenticity, a key aspect of Gold Standard PBL, jumped out as a key way to improve engagement.

“I am proud to share that our Edison PBL team will only innovate and pilot concepts to be rolled out in co-teaching classes,” said Moses Ojeda, principal of Thomas Edison High School. “You might be thinking why is that? That’s to prove to everyone, regardless of their learning profile, that all students should have the opportunity to achieve more than they think they can, more than some people think they are capable of.” 

Additionally, Edison recently introduced a Student Designer Program where students are trained in PBL and then work with teachers to co-design projects that increase cultural responsiveness. The first student designers are now training others to carry on their work, and this work is spreading to other New York City schools.

PBL’s Champions program honors schools, districts and individuals for their commitment to high-quality, project-based learning.

PBLWorks (the brand name of the Buck Institute for Education) believes that all students, especially Black and brown students, should have access to quality project-based learning to deepen their learning and achieve success in college, career and life. PBL’s focus is on building the capacity of teachers to design and facilitate quality project-based learning, and on supporting school system leaders in creating the conditions for these teachers to succeed with all students. 

PBLWorks CEO Bob Lenz said they were thrilled to see so many great nominations and learn about the great work happening in classrooms, schools and districts across the country. 

“I want to extend my deepest appreciation and admiration for all of you who are weathering the storms this year staying committed to our students, families and communities. From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of our team at PBLWorks,” Lenz said. 

During the 2022 PBL World Conference, PBLWorks also announced the first-ever recipient of the “John Larmer Lifetime Learner Award” named after author and PBLWorks’ longtime editor-in-chief John Larmer. 

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