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For 4th Straight Year, Rockwood High Schools Earn PLTW ‘Distinguished School’ Honors

June 9, 2023

PLTW High School Distinguished School 2022-23For the fourth year in a row, all four Rockwood School District high schools have earned the Distinguished School designation from Project Lead the Way (PLTW).

Eureka, Lafayette, Marquette and Rockwood Summit are among 262 high schools from around the nation and 25 from Missouri to be named a Distinguished School, a designation that recognizes schools that are committed to increasing student access, engagement and achievement in PLTW courses.

“For any of our high schools to be recognized is truly a testament to the quality of our PLTW programs. But for all four of our high schools to be awarded this recognition for four years in a row is truly remarkable,” said Rockwood Coordinator of STEM and Digital Learning Brian Reed. “The combination of the achievements and rigor of the programs at all of our schools, the creative and innovative teachers, the talent of the students and the way in which we provide each student with a meaningful, challenging education that connects them to the learning and honors their unique gifts are what paved the way for PLTW to bestow us with this tremendous honor and achievement.”

PLTW courses provide transformative learning experiences for students and teachers through courses that cultivate an engaging, hands-on classroom environment in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

Nearly 1,800 Rockwood students were enrolled in PLTW courses during the 2022-2023 school year – nearly 1,000 at the high school level and nearly 800 in middle school.

A Rockwood student presents her final project for her PLTW Biomedical Innovations course.“A lot of what the distinguished award is about is having students who take multiple years of the courses and having a lot of students enrolled year after year in our pathways,” said Dr. Meghan Bray, Rockwood’s 6-12 science curriculum coordinator. “There is so much focus on problem-solving within the courses, and I think the students really gravitate toward that. Our teachers do an amazing job making it seem like a real-life scenario when they’re having that experiential learning.”

Rockwood offers an assortment of biomedical science and engineering courses that align with PLTW standards.

Chris Lofgren said he has been teaching PLTW courses at Lafayette for nearly a decade and has taught all four courses in the biomedical progression: Principles of Biomedical Sciences, Human Body Systems, Medical Interventions and Biomedical Innovations.

Three Rockwood students present their product idea for a PLTW course project.“The students are usually high-performing science students who want to go into some kind of health-related field. One of the things that’s cool about the curriculum is it teaches kids that there are more than just doctors and nurses who can benefit from this information,” Lofgren said. “There’s also a focus on human health care, so the kids who are really interested in the human body are the ones who tend to gravitate toward these classes.”

PLTW biomedical courses use a storyline approach that allows students to see how the science they’re learning applies directly to a real-world scenario.

“The kids are introduced to a variety of health careers that utilize the concepts we’re learning,” Lofgren said. “I give a lot of credit to our district and school administration for enacting the program, trying the program, then finding the resources to make it happen. I think it’s a critically valuable curriculum.”