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South Kitsap Middle Schools Receive National Recognition for STEM Excellence

PLTW Distinguished School 2023-2024

We are thrilled to announce that Cedar Heights, Marcus Whitman, and John Sedgwick Middle Schools have all been recognized as 2023-24 Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Distinguished Schools. This prestigious honor is awarded to a select number of middle schools across the United States for their commitment to providing broad access to transformative learning experiences through the PLTW Gateway program, a comprehensive STEM curriculum for grades 6-8.

“Congratulations to our three middle schools for once again being recognized as PLTW Distinguished Gateway Schools,” stated Greg Kilpatrick, Assistant Career and Technical Education Director. “In fact, we have the only Gateway Distinguished Schools in Washington State, with a total of 79 Gateway Distinguished Schools nationwide. We are proud of how our schools are preparing students for future success.”

What is PLTW?

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering students from PreK-12 with a curriculum designed for a STEM-driven world. PLTW offers pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, providing students with hands-on, real-world learning experiences. Over 2.5 million students in elementary, middle, and high schools across all 50 states benefit from PLTW's innovative approach to education.

Criteria for Recognition

The PLTW Distinguished School recognition is awarded to schools that demonstrate a strong commitment to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs. To be eligible for this designation, Cedar Heights, Marcus Whitman, and John Sedgwick Middle Schools had to meet various criteria, including:

  • The percentage of students participating in PLTW.
  • The percentage of students who participate in more than one PLTW unit.
  • The number of PLTW units offered.
  • Efforts to ensure equitable access to PLTW courses.

The Importance of Middle School Education

Research shows that middle school plays a pivotal role in influencing students' success in high school, college, and their future careers. During this critical period, it is essential to provide students with relevant, engaging, and real-world learning experiences that expose them to a range of career paths and possibilities. Through PLTW Gateway, students at Cedar Heights, Marcus Whitman, and John Sedgwick Middle Schools are engaging in activities such as designing automated robotics systems and exploring aerospace by creating designs and prototypes. These experiences help students develop critical and creative thinking skills, teamwork abilities, and confidence in STEM subjects.

“We are honored to recognize Cedar Heights, Marcus Whitman, and John Sedgwick Middle Schools for their commitment to providing students with exceptional educational experiences while ensuring equitable access to PLTW programs,” said Dr. David Dimmett, PLTW President and CEO. "We congratulate them on this achievement and celebrate their dedication to empowering students with the knowledge and skills to succeed, not only in STEM subjects but in preparing them for future careers and life beyond the classroom."

About Project Lead The Way

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) has been a leader in STEM education for over 25 years, providing a teacher-empowered curriculum that supports educators in creating an environment where every student can succeed in STEM. With over 100,000 trained teachers nationwide, PLTW brings relevant, hands-on learning to classrooms across the country, reaching millions of students each year. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit

We are incredibly proud of Cedar Heights, Marcus Whitman, and John Sedgwick Middle Schools for their dedication to student success and their exemplary implementation of the PLTW program. Their recognition as PLTW Distinguished Schools is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our educators, students, and community.

  • CHMS
  • JSMS
  • MWMS
  • SKSD