PWCS offers middle level Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses as part of the exploratory encore rotation. Students explore new subjects and interest areas while preparing for high school and beyond. CTE courses provide opportunities to learn skills in independent living, technology, engineering, business, workplace readiness, and career planning. Courses range from nine to 36 weeks and vary by school.

Business & Information Technology

Middle school Business & Information Technology (BIT) students explore the world of work as they learn business and IT fundamentals. They learn to operate and maintain computers and devices and their associated hardware and software. Students study computer science principles while following new and emerging technology trends. Classroom activities include keyboarding, word processing, database development, developing multimedia presentations, coding, entrepreneurship, and career exploration. Select schools infuse Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Computer Science modules into their curriculum.

STEM Solutions (Grade Six)

 Students enter the world of computer science and business by using a computer as a problem-solving tool. Students learn about programming through a combination of hardware design and software development. Using microcontrollers with inputs and outputs, they develop code that brings a physical design to life. Students practice touch keyboarding skills and complete a variety of projects incorporating word processing, database, presentation, and spreadsheet software. Basic Internet safety and computer maintenance issues are important components of this course.

STEM Applications (Grade Eight)

STEM Applications students are challenged to creatively use sensors and actuators to develop systems that interact with their environment. They code and upload programs to microcontrollers that perform authentic tasks by developing algorithms based on computational thinking practices. Basic IT fundamentals such as word processing, database, presentation, and spreadsheet software use are reinforced while students learn about new and emerging input devices.

Family & Consumer Science

Personal Development (Grade Six)

This introduction to Family and Consumer Science prepares students for the demands of 21st century life. This course provides a foundation for managing individual, family, career, and community roles and responsibilities. Students focus on areas of individual growth, goal setting, strengthening families, and awareness of personal safety and wellness. Students learn financial literacy concepts such as earning, saving, and spending practices, as well as clothing care, food preparation, positive peer relationships, and make connections to career opportunities along the way.

Life Management Skills (Grade Seven)

Life Management Skills emphasizes personal responsibility for the demands of multiple life roles through hands-on, project-based instruction. Students focus on individual development, maintain their personal environments, apply nutrition and wellness practices, manage consumer and family resources, create textile, fashion, and apparel products, and explore careers related to Family and Consumer Sciences such as child care.

Life and Career Planning (Grade Eight)

This advanced-level Family and Consumer Science course that prepares middle school students for their roles in families, careers, and communities through project-based instruction. Students experience in-depth studies of nutrition and wellness, food preparation, relationships, personal environments, textiles, fashion and apparel, consumer resources and personal finance, child development and care, and leadership service in action.

Career Investigations

Career Investigations (Grade Seven)

Career Investigations students take a journey of self-exploration as they assess themselves and their future opportunities in order to design a lifestyle of their dreams. They evaluate their personal strengths and assets, complete a basic exploration of career clusters, select career pathways and occupations for further study, and create an Academic and Career Plan based on those discoveries. This course also helps students identify and practice the workplace skills that employers desire in their future employees and may include instruction on VDOE computer science standards.

Computer and Information Science

Computer Science Discoveries (Grades Six-Seven)

Computer Science Discoveries introduces the basic concepts of computer programming with a focus on integrated technology, math, and science concepts. Students develop programming projects using critical skills including creative thinking, collaboration, communication, systematic analysis, and interactive design using a variety of programming languages.  This course replaces Business Fundamentals and satisfies the VDOE Computer Science Standards of Learning requirements.

Technology Education

Middle School Technology and Engineering Education students learn and apply the problem-solving process through active, project-based learning that promotes critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. Students use the engineering design process to find solutions in technology-based scenarios while exploring related careers. Project Lead the Way Gateway engineering modules for middle school are infused in each course.

Introduction to Technology (Grade Six)

Students find solutions to current technology-based problems using resources including tools, energy, materials, people, time, information, and capital in hands-on, project-based learning. They study up to three systems of technology, including medical, agricultural and related biotechnologies, energy and power, information and communication, transportation, manufacturing, and construction. Students relate the impact of technology on society, environment, and culture to future consequences and decisions. 

Engineering Innovations (Grade Seven)

Students make models of significant inventions that have advanced society. After studying these developments, they explore contemporary technological problems facing them, their community, or the world and apply systematic procedures to invent solutions as products or innovations.

Engineering Systems (Grade Eight)

Students learn about the structure and function of technological systems by thinking critically and combining resources and techniques to create systems designed to impart critical knowledge about technological systems. Students will explore, design, analyze, and evaluate technological systems. By simulating systems and assessing their impacts, students gain insight into how to approach the problems and opportunities of a technological world. They also explore technology-oriented careers. Teachers will infuse the nationally recognized middle school engineering curriculum called Gateway To Technology by Project Lead the Way.