Press Release: Three Schools in the Smackover-Norphlet School District Receives National Recognition
Jennifer Lee
Monday, March 04, 2019

Three Schools in the Smackover-Norphlet School District Receives National Recognition for Commitment to Empowering Students

Named distinguished schools for STEM and career learning program

Smackover, Arkansas – The Smackover-Norphlet School District announced today that two of its elementary schools, Smackover Elementary School and Norphlet Elementary School, have been recognized as a Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Distinguished Schools for providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities for students through PLTW LaunchTM. They are two of just 214 elementary schools across the U.S. to receive this honor. PLTW is a nonprofit organization that serves millions of PreK-12 students and teachers in schools across the U.S.

Additionally, the district also announced today that Norphlet Middle School has been recognized as a Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Distinguished School for providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities for students through PLTW GatewayTM. It is one of just 148 middle schools across the U.S. to receive this honor. PLTW is a nonprofit organization that serves millions of PreK-12 students and teachers in schools across the U.S.

“We were so excited to have three of our schools named as PLTW Distinguished Schools.  Only 14 schools in the state of Arkansas received this designation,” said Jennifer Lee, Curriculum Director of the Smackover-Norphlet School District.

“Participating in Project Lead the Way’s programs have been such a fantastic experience for all of the students in our district.  We honor the commitment of our teachers who have participated in a great deal of training and spent much time planning and executing the PLTW curriculum.  We also recognize two community partners, Lockheed Martin and LanXess, who have provided multiple grants over the past few years which have helped to fund these programs.  Programs like these are very expensive, but our industry partners have consistently and graciously responded to our needs,” stated Lee.

The PLTW Distinguished School recognition honors schools committed to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs. To be eligible for the designation, the elementary schools had to offer at least two PLTW Launch modules at each grade level and have more than 75 percent of the student body participating during the 2017-18 school year.  Norphlet Middle School had to meet the following criteria during the 2017-18 school year:

  • Offer at least one PLTW Gateway unit at each grade level;
  • Have at least 50 percent of the student body participating;
  • Have 25 percent of students advancing to high school participate in two or more units during their middle school tenure

Studies show that students decide as early as elementary school whether they like, and think they are good at, math and science. Whether designing a car safety belt or building digital animations based on their own short stories, PLTW Launch students engage in critical and  creative thinking, build teamwork skills, and develop a passion for and confidence in STEM subjects.

Furthermore through PLTW’s middle school program, students develop STEM knowledge as well as in-demand, transportable skills that they will use both in school and for the rest of their lives, on any career path they take. PLTW Gateway empowers students to lead their own discovery and uncover a range of paths and possibilities they can look forward to in high school and beyond.

“It is a great honor to recognize Smackover Elementary School, Norphlet Elementary School, and Norphlet Middle School for their commitment to students,” said Vince Bertram, President and CEO of PLTW. “They are a model for what school should look like, and they should be very proud of ensuring students have the knowledge and skills to be career ready and successful on any career path they choose.”

The Smackover-Norphlet School District is part of a community of PreK-12 schools, colleges and universities, and corporate and philanthropic partners across the country united around a passion for providing students with inspiring, engaging, and empowering learning opportunities. For more information about PLTW’s recognition program, visit pltw.org/our-programs/program-recognition.

 

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for PreK-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. Approximately 11,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit pltw.org.