Lincoln, Hoover Earn “Project Lead the Way” Certification for STEM Education Programs

Students at Lincoln High pose with their Project Lead The Way banner after earning certification for the school’s STEM education program.

Both Lincoln and Hoover high schools announced today that they have received national certification for their Project Lead The Way (PLTW) programs. PLTW, a nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading provider of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education programs, offers a rigorous world-class curriculum that allows students to apply what they are learning in math and science class to real-life engineering and technology projects. PLTW also prides itself on high-quality professional development of its teachers and an engaged network of business, community and university partners to give students the fullest experience.

Hoover students commemorate their high school being a PLTW “Innovation Zone” for its STEM education efforts.

The national PLTW recognition program distinguishes schools for successfully demonstrating a commitment to PLTW’s national standards. Additionally, certification as a PLTW school provides students with the opportunity to apply for college credit or receive college-level recognition at PLTW affiliate universities when they successfully complete select PLTW courses in high school. PLTW has more than 40 affiliate college and university partners, including Iowa State University and University of Iowa.

The PLTW certification is another significant academic accomplishment this year for both schools. Last month, Lincoln was recognized by Iowa State University’s Science Bound program as the High School of the Year. And this year, Hoover is a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate program and would be the first high school in Iowa to offer IB courses.

Paul Williamson, principal of Lincoln, said: “We’ve seen how the PLTW program draws more students to engineering and technology courses and gets them thinking about college and their careers. We are extremely proud to be PLTW certified and ecstatic that our students are eligible for college-level recognition, which may include college credit for select PLTW courses, scholarships and admissions preference.”

Hoover principal Doug Wheeler added: “At Hoover, our PLTW courses – Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering – incorporate activity-based STEM curriculum. This means students learn science, technology, engineering and math through rigorous hands-on activities. PLTW certification will allow Hoover to continue offering these wonderful classes and possibly add additional PLTW classes in the future. We are very excited to offer students the opportunity to incorporate PLTW courses into their education here at Hoover High School.”

As part of the certification process, a team composed of teachers, staff, students, and members of the community from each school submitted a self-assessment of the school’s implementation of PLTW’s Pathway To Engineering (PTE) program. A site visit by a PLTW trained team followed. PLTW’s team met with teachers, school administrators, counselors, students, and members of the school’s Partnership Team. A PLTW school’s Partnership Team is comprised of teachers, counselors, administrators, post-secondary representatives, business and industry professionals, and other community members who actively support the PLTW program within a school.

“Lincoln and Hoover should be congratulated for demonstrating their commitment to PLTW’s quality standards,” said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram. “The real winners here, however, are students. Students benefit from PLTW’s innovative, project-based curriculum that encourages creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking. We look forward to many more years of working together to prepare Lincoln and Hoover students to become the most innovative and productive in the world.”

In order to remain competitive in the global economy, America needs approximately 400,000 STEM college graduates annually, according to a National Business Roundtable report. Currently, the U.S. is graduating only 265,000 annually. PLTW is providing students with the skills, foundation, and proven path to college and career success in STEM areas to increase the number of STEM graduates.

About PLTW: Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is the leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education curricular programs used in schools. As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, PLTW exists to prepare students for the global economy through its world-class curriculum, high quality professional development, and an engaged network of educators, students, universities and professionals. PLTW’s comprehensive curriculum has been collaboratively designed by PLTW teachers, university educators, engineering and biomedical professionals, and school administrators to promote critical thinking, creativity, innovation and real-world problem solving skills in students. The hands-on, project-based program engages students on multiple levels, exposes them to areas of study that they typically do not pursue, and provides them with a foundation and proven path to college and career success. More than 4,200 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are currently offering PLTW courses to their students. For more information, visit