Engineering (Project Lead The Way) Department


We believe all students deserve access to modern, real-world learning experiences that enable them to thrive in college, career, and life.  Learning is not just understanding the formulas, but seeing the application and how much fun it can be.

"Scientists discover the world that exists; engineers create the world that never was.  Possible worlds are not fictions, but the business engineering is all about."

-- Theodore Von Karman, mathematician, aerospace engineer and educator


Coming soon

Course Descriptions

Below are the detailed descriptions of the Project Lead the Way courses being offered for the 2022-2023. Refer to the course offerings page for an overview of which courses are available for each grade level. (Can count PLTW courses as 1.0 Math Credit, and or 1.0 Science Credit, or Electives)

** To learn more about the Project Lead the Way program, click here.

763 Introduction to Engineering Design
1.0 Credit Elective

Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Introduction to Engineering Design (IED) is a high school level course that is appropriate for students who are interested in pursuing any technical or medical career path. IED is the first of four elective year-long courses in the nationally recognized PLTW engineering program. IED is a project-based learning course that exposes students to the design process, research and analysis, teamwork, communication methods, global and human impacts, engineering standards, and technical documentation. Students will employ engineering and scientific concepts to solve design problems using the current version of Autodesk Inventor Professional. Since IED is a project-based course, the semester finals will be included in a component of all test and quizzes that represents 30% of the student grade. Students may earn the Autodesk Inventor Professional Certified User nationally recognized credential. Students may earn two college engineering credits from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

765 Principles of Engineering
1.0 credit Elective
Prerequisite: Introduction to Engineering Design (763)

Principles of Engineering (POE) is the second year-long course in the four-year Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering elective. Principles of Engineering is a survey course that exposes students in a post-secondary engineering course of study. Major topic areas for this course include mechanisms, energy, statics, materials, software control, robotics, and kinematics. Students develop problem solving skills and apply their knowledge of research and design to create solutions to various challenges, document their work and communicate solutions. Students may earn three college engineering credits from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

766 Aerospace Engineering Honors
1.0 credit Elective
Prerequisite: Principles of Engineering (765)

Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Aerospace Engineering (AE) is a high school level full-year elective course that is appropriate for students who are interested in pursuing any science, technical, engineering, mathematical or medical career path. Aerospace Engineering is for junior and/or senior students who have completed PLTW Principles of Engineering. This third/fourth year course provides a glimpse into the field of Aerospace Engineering. AE explores the evolution of flight, navigation and control, flight fundamentals, aerospace materials, propulsion, space travel, and orbital mechanics.

Students will design, build, and analyze aerospace systems such as wind tunnels, gliders, rockets, and rovers. Students will discover the reality and complexity of aerospace design. Since AE is a projectbased course, the semester finals will be included in a component of all test and quizzes that represents 30% of the student grade. Students may earn three college engineering credits from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

767 AP Computer Science Principles
1.0 credit Elective
Prerequisite: Algebra IIA (322)

Project Lead the Way (PLTW) AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) is the third year-long course in the four-year PLTW engineering elective, this course is also a stand-alone, meaning anyone can take this course without any prior PLTW courses. Students who enroll in this class will work in teams to develop computational thinking and problem solving skills. The course covers the College Board’s new CS Principles framework. Additionally, students who complete this class may opt to take the AP Computer Science Exam (additional fee required). The course does not aim to teach mastery of a single programming language but aims instead to develop computational thinking, to generate excitement about the field of computing, and to introduce computational tools that foster creativity.

The course also aims to build students’ awareness of the tremendous demand for computer specialists and for professionals in all fields who have computational skills. Students practice problem solving with structured activities and progress to open-ended projects and problems that require them to develop planning, documentation, communication, and other professional skills. Languages introduced include Python, Scratch, and MIT App Inventor. Since AP CSP is a project-based course, the semester finals will be included as a component of all tests and quizzes that represents 30% of the students’ grade. Students may earn three college engineering credits from the University of ColoradoColorado Springs.

769 Engineering Design and Development (H)
1.0 credit Honors
Prerequisite: Principles of Engineering (765), and either Aerospace Engineering (766) or AP

Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering Design and Development (EDD) is the capstone course in the PLTW high school engineering program. It is an engineering research course for seniors only in which they work in teams to design and develop an original solution to a valid open-ended technical problem by applying the engineering design process. The course applies and concurrently develops secondary level knowledge and skills in mathematics, science, and technology. Students will perform research to choose, validate, and justify a technical problem. After carefully defining the problem, teams of students will design, build, and test their solution. Finally, student teams will present and defend their original solution to an outside panel. There are no tests or finals in this course. Students may earn three college engineering credits from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

Note for all PLTW courses
All five PLTW courses offer concurrent enrollment credit from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. IED earns 2 credits and POE, AE, AP CSP, and EDD earn 3 credits. This offers students the potential to earn 14 UCCS college engineering credits while attending St. Mary’s High School. PLTW electives may fulfill a maximum of 2 credits in math and/or science.

Students enrolled in the St. Mary’s PLTW Engineering Program will be using small hand and power tools. Parents and students understand that the risk of injury in this class is higher than a standard classroom course.

771 Introduction to Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)
0.5 credit Elective
Prerequisite: Junior or Senior Only
Students will be able to build, fly, program, and analyze data from UASs. Students will gain experience with programming more complex systems that include software, hardware and data analysis in an industry standard environment. They will develop the creative and critical thinking approaches to solving problems. Through drone flight tests and sensor data visualization, students have the ability to see and analyze their program outputs in a concrete way. This is not a PLTW engineering course, however, it complements the PLTW Aerospace Engineering and AP Computer Science Principles courses nicely. Students will have an opportunity to take the FAA Part 107 Remote

Pilot certification exam if at least 16 years of age (minimum age for FAA exam).


Mr. Mike Kloenne

Department Chair

Mike Kloenne is the Project Lead the Way Engineering department chair and also a math department teacher.  He is a graduate of the University of Dayton (BS in Computer Science) and Golden Gate University (Master's of Business Administration).  Prior to teaching, he served 25 years as an officer in the United States Air Force.  Most of his time was spent in various intelligence and reconnaissance activities, flying as an Electronic Warfare Officer on the RC-135 aircraft.  He will be starting his 11th year of teaching at St. Mary's this August. In addition to being a math and engineering teacher, he will be serving in a new role as the House System director.  He has been to all 50 states and 42 state high points.  

2022-2023 courses: Statistics, IED, EDD; House Director


Mr. Caleb Smith

I graduated from UCCS with a degree in Mathematics. My family was military, but I've lived in Colorado most of my life. I've always been logically and mathematically minded, which influenced my hobbies. In high school, I went through the PLTW program as a student, and I'm excited to share those experiences as a teacher now. I love traditional games, and have a large board and card game collection. I'm a cradle Catholic and fell in love with the Church all over again in college. My confirmation saint is St. Jerome, but I also feel a strong connection with St. Hubert. I'm excited to be a part of the St. Mary's family and help spread my love of mathematics!

2022-2023 courses: Algebra IIA, AP Calculus, POE


Mr. Tony Clavenna

I am super excited to join the St Mary’s Faculty this year!  I graduated from the Air Force Academy and served almost 30 years in the Air Force.  I earned a bachelor’s degree in basic sciences and will teach aerospace engineering, math and personal finance. Prior to joining St Mary’s faculty, I taught Air Force Junior ROTC at Dodge City High School in Kansas.  My wife Mary Beth and I have been married for 30 years and we have 5 children (four are St Mary’s graduates!) and one Labrador mix dog, Rosie.  My hobbies include everything outdoors:  hiking, camping, skiing, sailing, running, playing and watching sports…. especially the Air Force Academy – Go Falcons!

2022-2023 courses: Accelerated Geometry, Geometry, Algebra II, Aerospace Engineering