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Two Rivers High School: A Leader in STEM Education

Two Rivers High School, in Weber School District, was recently named a “Model School” for their leadership in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education, for the 2010-2011 school year, by Project Lead the Way (PLTW). They were one of 16 schools nationwide to be recognized with this award and were the only school selected in Utah. “We are excited to recognize these schools for their exemplary work with students on a daily basis,” said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram. Two Rivers High School is the only school in Utah who has been recognized for their innovation and excellence with this award. (Read the press release here.)

Project Lead the Way is the leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM education curricular programs nationwide. PLTW pre-engineering classes provide students the opportunity to find out what is involved in various engineering fields, to learn and use the design process, and to apply mathematics used by engineers to solve problems.

To qualify for such a prestigious award schools are nominated by individuals in the PLTW Network. PLTW then sends each nominee an application asking for detailed information about multiple aspects of the schools PLTW program. Schools are awarded points demonstrating key elements of the quality indicators as outlined by PLTW. Schools are judged by 37 performance indicators within five quality indicator categories— program implementation, postsecondary relationships, communications and outreach, professional development and student engagement. Model schools are then evaluated by select PLTW State Leaders and Affiliate Directors.

The Project Lead the Way assessment scores at Two Rivers High School are consistently the highest in the state. Four courses had a 100 percent pass rate with the other two courses scoring 96 and 98 percent. This is a tribute to the dedication of teachers and quality of instruction at Two Rivers High School.

The engineering program at Two Rivers High School is now in its eighth year. The program began in 2004 with two teachers offering two courses to 134 students. Now the program has five teachers, with multiple PLTW certifications, offering seven courses to 386 students—grades 9-12.

The programs 13-member advisory committee has partnered to develop a true work-based mentoring program consisting of guest speakers, field trips, job shadowing, and five-month senior internship opportunities. Companies have also offered summer employment and scholarships for engineering students. Engineers from local companies volunteer as consultants for the Engineering Design and Development course. These industry-engineers motivate students, listen to presentations, and judge the capstone engineering projects. Many of the senior engineering projects have been real engineering challenges associated with the needs of local companies.

The Two Rivers High School Engineering program has also received the following awards and recognitions during the past several years.

  • Utah Technology and Engineering Program of the Year 2010-11
  • Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce Education Partners in Education Award 2009 and 2010
  • SME Foundation Grant 2006-07

“The Engineering program at Two Rivers High School is unique in its recruitment, student retention, depth of curriculum offerings, year-end assessment scores, collaboration with industry partners, internship program, university linkage, and frugal development. However, the heart of this outstanding STEM program is the instructors. They are totally invested, excited about their curriculum, and committed to student success,” said Darrell Andelin, Technology and Engineering Specialist at the Utah State Office of Education.

Utah CTE gives a BIG shout-out to the following educators for their dedication to students and making the engineering program at Two Rivers High School a huge success.

Dale Pfister, CTE Director
Reed Newey, former CTE Director
Glenn Prisk, CTE Coordinator
Holly Barker, Technology and Engineering teacher
Christopher Davidson, Technology and Engineering teacher
Jerry Nelson, Technology and Engineering teacher
Kevin Waters, Technology and Engineering teacher
John Donley, Technology and Engineering teacher

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