Southeast Polk Receives National Recognition for Commitment to Empowering Students

Named a distinguished district for STEM and career learning program

Southeast Polk has been recognized as a Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Distinguished District for providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities for students through its PLTW programs. It is one of just 21 districts 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.

Southeast Polk Junior High is one of just 148 middle schools across the U.S. to receive this honor. Willowbrook Elementary is one of just 214 elementary schools across the U.S. to receive this honor.

Jim Pifer, Southeast Polk Science Coordinator, shared, “We are very proud of the work that our teachers and building leaders have put into this excellent STEM curriculum. Over the last 5 years, we have grown the PLTW program from one school to all 11 schools in the district.  More than 50 teachers have participated in lead teacher training. Various grants awarded to the district were instrumental in creating this level of implementation.”

The PLTW Distinguished District recognition honors districts committed to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs. To be eligible for the designation, Southeast Polk needed 20 percent or more of its students in each grade, K-12, to participate in a PLTW program during the 2017-18 school year.

Through PLTW programs, students develop in-demand knowledge and skills that they will use both in school and for the rest of their lives, on any career path they take. As PLTW students progress through grades PreK-12, they are empowered to engage in problem-solving and process thinking, develop technical knowledge and skills, build communication skills, and explore career opportunities.

Southeast Polk offers PLTW Launch (K-5), PLTW Gateway (6-8), and PLTW Computer Science, Engineering, and/or Biomedical Science (9-12).

Southeast Polk 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