The Meridian Technology Center STEM Academy was named a Distinguished High School by Project Lead the Way (PLTW) for its Biomedical Sciences and Pre-Engineering programs. This is the fourth year in a row that the school has received this designation.
“It is a great honor to recognize Meridian Technology Center’s STEM Academy for their unwavering commitment to provide students with an excellent educational experience despite the unusual circumstances and unique challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presented to the educational landscape this past year,” said Dr. Vince Bertram, President and CEO of PLTW. “They should be very proud of their achievements in unlocking their students’ potential and equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in life beyond the classroom no matter what career path they choose.”
PLTW is a national program that provides transformative learning experiences for students and teachers across the country. It focuses on developing problem-solving skills by immersing students in real-world preparatory-level academics. The Distinguished High School award recognizes schools committed to increasing student access, engagement and achievement in their PLTW programs.
To be eligible for the Distinguished High School honor, schools need to offer at least three PLTW courses, have more than a third of students enrolled in multiple PLTW courses and have at least 70 percent of students earn a proficient or higher score on end-of-year assessments.
“We are honored to receive this recognition once again,” said Linda Thompson, Director of Instruction for Meridian’s STEM Academy. “There continues to be a shortage of STEM workers in the U.S. and Meridian is dedicated to helping fill that gap using PLTW curriculum. The STEM Academy provides a way for students across our district to have access to advanced STEM curriculum and advanced placement math and sciences courses that prepare them for college and their career.”
Meridian’s Pre-Engineering program began using the PLTW curriculum in 2009. The program includes aerospace engineering, civil engineering and architecture, computer integrated manufacturing, computer science principles, digital electronics, environmental sustainability, and engineering design and development.
Courses engage students in interdisciplinary activities like working with a client to design a home, programming electronic devices or robotic arms or exploring algae as a biofuel source. These activities not only build knowledge and skills in engineering but also empower students to develop essential skills such as problem-solving, critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration and perseverance.
The PLTW Biomedical Sciences program was added in 2015, forming the STEM Academy. The program is a four-course sequence where students study and investigate concepts of human medicine, physiology, genetics, microbiology and public health. Students also explore a range of careers in biomedical sciences as they learn content in the context of real-world, hands-on activities, projects and problems.
Core courses in this program include principles of biomedical sciences, human body systems, medical interventions and biomedical innovation.
Last school year, there were 160 students enrolled in the Academy. Students may enroll as a sophomore, junior or senior. In September, the STEM Academy moved into a new 25,000- square-foot wing on campus. Depending on their high school, students in the STEM Academy may get academic credit in algebra II, trigonometry/pre-calculus, anatomy and physiology, AP calculus, AP physics, AP statics, pre-AP chemistry and AP chemistry.