We value comprehensive education

Posted February 11, 2019

Plymouth High School has added three high-tech machines that further its commitment to comprehensive education.

All three recently were installed in the school’s Fab Lab, known formally as the LTC-Plymouth Science & Technology Center, a key component at a school whose middle name is Comprehensive.

Each of the three came about thanks to a partnership: an industrial robot donated by Kohler Co., a laser engraver donated by Sargento, and a CNC router made possible in part by a state Fab Lab grant.

Word Panthers carved into wood

PHS technology education teachers watch as the new CNC router precisely carves the word “Panthers” from a block of wood.

CNC router

The new Computer Numerical Control router will be able to create signs, jigs, fixtures, and furniture using CNC technology.

The Forest Scientific 10-by-5-foot Automatic Tool Changer Vacuum Table can use up to eight different tools to cut or engrave wood or aluminum. It was installed in December, and teachers received two days of training in January.

Students will begin working with it during the second semester. The router will be used in a variety of classes – including Woods, Furniture Making, Construction, CNC Programming, and Computer Integrated Manufacturing – as well as by the PHS Technology Education & Engineering Club and possibly community classes.

“We will have the ability to make large signs, furniture layout, face mill large logs, use Autodesk Inventor for design, use MasterCAM for programming, use EnRoute for artistic design,” said PHS technology department leader Greg Gritt. “We will be able to design in 3-D and make 3-D text and renderings.”

The router puts the PHS woods/construction curriculum on par with other technology and engineering programs in the Science & Technology Center, which already features two CNC mills, a CNC plasma cutter, a CNC lathe, two CNC simulators, a 3-D printer, a welding training facility, engineering/CAD Labs, and an industry-standard automotive lab.

The purchase was made possible in part thanks to a $25,000 Fab Lab grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

3 students watching robot

PHS students operate the Fanuc Fenceless CERT Cart.

Industrial robot

Kohler Co. donated $65,000 to launch a robotics and automation program at Plymouth High School, the centerpiece of which is a small industrial robot.

Mark Feick of Kohler Co. announced the donation at a Board of Education meeting. “This is the way of the future,” he told the board. “You have to be able to understand how to operate robots.”

The Fanuc LR Mate robot represents an entire automation system – providing opportunities for such diverse positions as robot programmer, controls engineer, parts designer, and more. It has a 2D camera and scanning capabilities. It is on wheels and can be folded up to be moved.

PHS plans to utilize the robot in as many classes as possible, beginning this semester with the Computer Integrated Manufacturing class, part of the school’s Project Lead the Way sequence.

“Students will learn how to set up different work planes, and set up tool planes for the different tools,” Mr. Gritt said. “They’ll learn the controls of the robot, different joints and movements it can and cannot perform. In the end, they’ll be able to program it to perform a task.”

The donation is the third in a series of initiatives resulting from a partnership with Kohler, which approached PHS in 2016 looking for ways to help introduce students to manufacturing careers. The first was lending engineer Paul Theisen to demonstrate problem-solving methodology to the PHS capstone engineering class. Kohler also collaborated with the PHS Tech Club, supplying an engine for the Panthers’ Formula High School car and testing the engine in its dyno lab.

Fish cut into wooden sign

The laser engraver engraves a wooden sign.

Laser engraver

Sargento donated $20,000 to purchase a laser engraver, which was installed in October and already is being used by students in the Graphics and Woods Processes classes. It also will benefit members of the PHS Tech Club.

The Universal Laser 6.6 has an 18-by-30-inch workspace and can engrave and cut signs, designs or photos into a variety of different materials (including wood, acrylic, glass, and ceramic). 

“The new laser has a duplicate feature to set up many programs at one time,” Mr. Gritt said. “Students can design personal projects that they create.”


Comprehensive education

Making these opportunities available to our students is just one of many ways in which the Plymouth School District works hard to prepare all graduates to pursue the next stage of their lives, whether they are bound for college, technical school, the military, or the workforce.

Other highlights of our comprehensive education include:
Food Science & Agriculture Center, supporting 7 academic areas
LTC-Plymouth Science & Technology Center, a high-tech manufacturing facility
• Nationally recognized Project Lead the Way engineering program
• A head start on higher education, with 77 college credits available to Plymouth High School students

Learn more:
• Visit Our Values page to learn more about our emphasis on Comprehensive Education, Innovation & Collaboration, Extracurriculars, and Wellness.
• Read an article about the new PHS Cupcake Challenge and other examples of our Collaboration & Innovation.

Open Enrollment

Families exploring their options through open enrollment are encouraged to consider the Plymouth School District, which is just the right size to offer personal attention along with a wealth of opportunities. Our mission is to encourage everyone to see and be his/her personal best through successful learning experiences. Become your best!

Wisconsin's inter-district public school open enrollment program allows parents of children in kindergarten through 12th grade to apply for their children to attend school districts other than the one in which they reside. There is no tuition cost to parents who opt for open enrollment, though families may be charged the same fees as resident students. Parents are responsible for transportation to and from school.

The enrollment period in 2019 is from Monday, Feb. 4 to Tuesday, April 30. The state encourages online applications at http://dpi.wi.gov/open-enrollment. Paper applications, available in the Plymouth School District office, must be returned to the office by April 30.

Learn more:
• Visit our Why Plymouth? section to further explore what the Plymouth School District offers.
• Explore our interactive District Report Card to see how an exciting mix of academics, extracurriculars, and other enriching experiences allow our students to thrive. • Contact the district office at (920) 892-2661 to schedule a visit.
• Visit the state’s open enrollment web site at http://dpi.wi.gov/open-enrollment.