Mary Petrie teaches an intro to engineering class at Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha. (Submitted photo)

Catholic Memorial High School (CMH) has been recognized for the fourth consecutive year as a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Distinguished School for providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities for students through PLTW (computer science, biomedical science, engineering).

Catholic Memorial is one of just 209 schools across the U.S. and one of only 22 high schools in Wisconsin to receive the honor. CMH is one of only two schools in Wisconsin to earn the honor for a fourth consecutive year. PLTW is a nonprofit organization that serves millions of K-12 students and teachers in more than 10,500 schools across the U.S. to develop and apply in-demand, transportable skills by exploring real-world challenges.

“Catholic Memorial has put a focus on creating limitless opportunities for our students to excel. PLTW and STEM courses open doors for students today and in careers of the future. We’re so proud of their success,” said Mary Petrie, innovative and entrepreneurship department chair and PLTW engineering instructor. “Currently, 51 percent of students at CMH are enrolled in our STEM program. We have expanded our computer science and biomedical science classes, and the engineering strand continues to grow. We are so grateful for the involvement of our community business partners and alumni. Their collaboration with CMH has provided internship opportunities, mentorship and financial support, which has allowed our students to develop skills that will ensure their success in careers of the future.”

The PLTW Distinguished School recognition honors schools committed to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs. To be eligible for the designation, CMH had to meet multiple criteria, including expanding STEM curriculum opportunities in biomedical science courses for students interested in the medical field and computer science classes for elevated opportunities in IT.

Through PLTW programs, students develop STEM knowledge as well as in-demand, transportable skills they will use both in school and for the rest of their lives, in any career path they take. The curriculum at Catholic Memorial has gone beyond the requirements for recognition, becoming the only private school in Wisconsin to also offer the International Baccalaureate Career-Related Program in engineering (IBCP), which allows students the opportunity to achieve the highest honor offered at a high school level for engineering curriculum.

“It is a great honor to recognize districts and schools all across the country for their unwavering commitment to provide students with an exceptional educational experience despite the unusual circumstances and unique challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presented to the educational landscape this past year,” said Dr. Vince Bertram, President and CEO of PLTW.