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 second year in a row that the school has received this recognition.
Meridian was one of four schools in Oklahoma to receive the Distinguished High School honor and one of 64 across the country. The other state recipients, Moore Norman Technology Center, Central Technology Center and Tri County Tech, are part of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.
“It is a great honor to recognize Meridian Technology Center 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.”
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 that are committed to increasing student access, engagement and achievement in their PLTW programs.
“We are honored to receive this recognition once again,” said Linda Thompson, Director of Instruction for the STEM Academy. “There continues to be a shortage of STEM workers in the U.S. and PLTW is dedicated to helping fill that gap. Meridian’s STEM Academy provides a way for students across our district to have access to advanced STEM curriculum that prepares them for college and their career.”
STEM Academy students continue to score above the state and national average on AP tests and ACT scores. Pre-Engineering graduates have an average ACT score of 27.7, outranking the state average of 19 and the national average of 20.8.
Students in the Biomedical Sciences program had a pass rate of 75 percent on the AP Biology exam, more than doubling last year’s 37 percent national average pass rate. Since the implementation of the Biomedical Sciences program, 100 percent of graduates have enrolled in college.
The STEM Academy at Meridian teaches students science, technology, engineering and mathematics principles using PLTW curriculum. Coursework focuses on developing in-demand, transportable skills such as critical and creative thinking, collaboration and communication, helping ensure student success no matter their future career pathway. There are 158 students currently enrolled in the STEM Academy. Students may enroll as a sophomore, junior or senior.
Schools need to offer at least three PLTW courses, have more than a third of students enrolled in multiple PLTW courses and have 70 percent of students earn a proficient or higher on end-of-year assessments to be eligible for the Distinguished High School honor.
“Students in the STEM Academy are exposed to a diverse curriculum with a strong math and science foundation to better equip them for success in an engineering- or science-related major at the university level,” said Debbie Short, STEM Academy instructor.
Meridian’s Pre-Engineering program began using PLTW curriculum in 2009. The program provides an overview of aerospace engineering, civil engineering and architecture, computer integrated manufacturing, computer science principals, 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, and 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 science, human body systems, medical interventions and biomedical innovation.
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.
For more information on career training programs available at Meridian visit meridiantech.edu/programs.
Meridian Technology Center has been a driver of economic development since 1975. With a mission to educate, enrich lives and secure economic futures, Meridian offers full-time career training programs, short courses, Business and Industry services and entrepreneurial support to residents from the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts.