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Coatesville Area School District Elementary Schools Receive National STEM Honor

Students working on STEM project.

Coatesville Area School District Elementary Schools

Receive National STEM Honor

Fewer than 500 Schools Nationwide Honored with this Designation.


All five elementary schools in the Coatesville Area School District have been recognized as a 2022-23 Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Distinguished School for the way they provide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.


Only nine elementary schools were recognized nationwide by PLTW, a nonprofit organization that serves millions of PreK – 12 students and teachers across the U.S. Fewer than 500 school nationwide earned the designation.


Caln, East Fallowfield, King’s Highway, Rainbow, and Reeceville elementaries are recognized for increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in PTLW programs. This year, students have been exposed to topics such as ‘The Changing Earth,’ Computer Science, Robotics, Matter, Energy, and ‘Inputs and Outputs of the Human Brain.’



“This is a significant honor for our schools and the District,” said Heather Messenger, Supervisor of Online and Innovative Programs for the District. “The impact that these programs have on our students can’t be underestimated. We know that these fields continue to grow in popularity and we are working to expose students to the many exciting aspects of STEM education.”


Studies show that students decide as early as elementary school whether they like - and think they’re good at - math and science. Project Lead the Way Programs focus on engaging students in critical and creative thinking, in building teamwork skills, and helping them to develop a passion for and confidence in STEM subjects.


“Our goal is to empower students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in these fields,” Messenger said.


The STEM lessons focus on hands-on activities, exploration, and instruction. In first grade, students studying animal adaptation explored how the different beak shapes of birds have been adapted for gathering different foods. Students used tweezers, spoons, and clothespins to try to pick up different kinds of ‘food’ (marbles, straws, and toothpicks) to learn how birds have adapted to survive. 


In third grade, students build simple and compound machines during a unit on stability and motion. Eventually, they use what they learn to try to solve a problem like designing a machine that could safely rescue a stranded wild animal.   


Fifth graders used science kits to build robotic vehicles that can be programmed. Students develop their computer programming skills to program a robot that could navigate a medical site and deliver medical supplies to designated areas.


One of the goals of the program is to make STEM education as hands-on and meaningful as possible. Students clearly have a lot of fun with the lessons, and teachers say they have become a favorite.


In order to be eligible for the national STEM honor, elementary schools had to demonstrate that more than 75 percent of their student body participated in the programs and that the school offered at least one PLTW module at each grade level during the 2021-22 school year.