SJHA is a Project Lead the Way Certified School and Distinguished Gateway School

Gateway School
St. Joseph Hill Academy Elementary School is incredibly proud to announce we are a 2021-2022 Project Lead the Way Distinguished Gateway School. This recognition is due to our commitment to helping our students own their education by increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in our Project Lead the Way Gateway program (6th-8th Grades). We are one of 134 PLTW Gateway programs across the entire country to receive the recognition of a PLTW Distinguished school this year.
SJHA Elementary School is one of only 9 "Distinguished Project Lead The Way Elementary Schools" in the state of New York.
Our PLTW Gateway courses PLTW Gateway courses include:

  • 6th Grade- Automation and Robotics
  • 7th Grade- Medical Detectives and Science of Technology
  • 8th Grade- Magic of Electrons and Green Architecture
We are thrilled to be recognized for our dedication to helping our Junior High Students figure out what they’re passionate about and how that relates to who they want to become in the future.

PLTW is a nationally renowned non-profit that empowers students to develop and apply in-demand, transportable skills by exploring real-world challenges. Through their pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, students not only learn technical skills, but also learn to solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate, and collaborate. PLTW also provides teachers with the training, resources, and support they need to engage students in real-world learning.


St. Joseph Hill Academy prioritizes innovation in education while also upholding the time-honored traditions of our 100-year-old school. Beginning several years ago, Hill took the steps as an entire academy to invest in and strengthen our Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) courses from Pre-K through 12th grade.

STEM education is essential in order for our students to meet the challenges of today’s society, an objective which is also emphasized in Hill’s Mission Statement. With a proper STEM education, students gain the knowledge and skills it takes to solve problems, make sense of information, and learn how to gather and evaluate evidence to make decisions. STEM education prepares students to be successful in their future careers in all fields because it helps them to develop a variety of skill sets, the importance of thinking critically, and prepares them to be innovative.

For the last several years, Elementary School Principal Mr. Lawrence Hansen has tapped Project Lead the Way's STEM curricula for use by elementary, middle, and high schools and all K-8 Grade teachers and administrators are trained to implement it. “The more I read and researched, the more I was sure that this was the direction I wanted to take with our Science program,” said Mr. Hansen.

Thanks to the vision of SJHA Elementary School’s leadership, we are the only school on Staten Island that is Project Lead the Way Certified. Mr. Jan Paul Pablo, Junior High Science Teacher, was one of the first of several Hill teachers certified in PLTW. Since January 2020, Mr. Pablo has trained more than half of the Hill Elementary Staff to receive their certification. At the core of PLTW science curriculum are project-based experiences for students. Hill’s PLTW elementary school modules include Automation and Robotics, Medical Detectives, Magic of Electrons & Launch, and more. I

“Hill’s PLTW science classes are honed to the skills of what students want to do. They are hands-on, student-driven, and teacher facilitated. It’s a partnership in the classroom with the students. The students are really developing knowledge themselves instead of simply learning it from a book,” says Mr. Pablo. PLTW’s philosophy is that “middle school is a time of exploration,” and their curriculum helps “empower students to lead their own discovery.”

Mr. Pablo teaches 7th graders a Medical Detectives module where students collect and analyze medical data to diagnose disease and solve medical mysteries through hands-on projects and labs. They will measure and interpret vital signs, examine nervous system structure and function, investigate disease outbreaks, and explore how a breakdown within the human body can lead to dysfunction. “It is opening up a range of career paths and possibilities to our students,” according to Mr. Pablo.