Two-year professional development program from PBLWorks convenes a state-wide network of school leaders focused on supporting high-quality Project Based Learning

WALTHAM, MA, March 3, 2022 - PBLWorks, the leading provider of professional development for Project Based Learning (PBL), has selected Waltham High School to participate in its 2022 PBL Massachusetts School Leader Network. This two-year professional development program, which commenced this month provides intensive professional development and support to help participants create the ideal conditions for implementing high-quality PBL at their schools and making it self-sustaining at their organizations. It aligns to the district’s education plan for project and problem based interdisciplinary education for Waltham High School and transition into the new high school building in 2024. 

Generous financial support for the PBL School Leader Network is being provided by the One8 Foundation whose mission focuses on helping schools and teachers prepare students for success, focusing on STEM and 21st century skills and applied learning opportunities. WHS is also supported by the Barr Foundation to fund professional learning available to teachers throughout the school.

Waltham High School & District participants include: Brenda Pena, Bobby Lyons, Val Alfeo, Shelly Chin and Derek Vandegrift. This work is being supported by the PBL District Champion, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning Sarah Kent.  

Principal Brenda Pena stated, “We are thrilled to be part of this learning opportunity. Our team has the shared vision of leveraging our professional learning to support equity and engage all learners by designing interdisciplinary, project based units of instruction aligned to the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks We then envision teachers leading the learning by modeling their units and facilitating PBL Workshops for colleagues at Waltham High School.”

PBLWorks’ PBL School Leader Networks, which are taking place in Massachusetts and California, offer a blend of face-to-face and online workshops, personal online coaching for each school, and deep collaboration with a peer network of fellow local PBL leaders. Leadership teams from across Massachusetts are selected to participate in each PBL School Leader Network.

PBLWorks created the PBL School Leadership Networks after achieving great success with a similar initiative in Hawaii. Evaluated by McREL International, a not-for-profit education research organization, the program demonstrated the power of a network of school leaders to create larger regional change through shared learning, mutual accountability, and site visits that build and sustain the PBL work.

“Our PBL School Leader Networks are one-of-a-kind opportunities for school leaders to receive best-in-class training and support to lead the PBL work at their schools. They will also become part of an invaluable community of like-minded peers they can collaborate with for years to come,” said Bob Lenz, CEO of PBLWorks. “Waltham High School has shown an incredible passion for, and commitment to, Project Based Learning as evidenced by its education plan and we are looking forward to having their leadership team participate in our 2021 School Leader Network.”  

For more information about the PBL School Leader Networks, visit