Harmony Magnet Academy has earned another Distinguished School award as it was announced on Tuesday the school has been recognized as a 2022-2023 Project Lead the Way Distinguished School.

Harmony was one of 262 high schools in the country to receive the honor. School's who provide PLTW computer science, engineering and biomedical pathways were honored.

PLTW is a nonprofit organization that serves millions of PreK-12 students and teachers in more than 12,200 schools across the U.S. 

The honor comes after the recent official announcement Harmony's Academy of Engineering and Academy of Performing Arts maintained their Distinguished status from NAF, another national education program that operates and assesses academies across the country.

Being named a national PLTW distinguished school is impactful to our program by signifying our faculty and students are excelling in STEM education,” Harmony principal Jeff Brown said. “This gives our students a definite advantage in their post-secondary experiences.”

Brown added the honor shows Harmony has a program that's make students college and career ready.

To me that's a big takeaway,” he said. Being “at the top of (PLTW's) game is significant for our students,” Brown added.

He said a key to Harmony's success has been the Porterville Unified School District supporting the concept of Harmony being a PLTW school since its inception. “The commitment to that kind of excellence is obviously why we were able to excel,” Brown said.

Brown also said the honor is a tribute to staff and students and to the community advisory boards for the school.

That's a big part of why PLTW was our lead curriculum. They had a significant input o what would be taught and how it would be taught,” said Brown about the advisory boards.

The PLTW Distinguished School recognition honors schools committed to increasing student access and achievement to PLTW programs. To be eligible for the designation, Harmony Magnet had to meet the following criteria in the 2021-22 school year: 

25 percent or more of students participating in PLTW courses, or of those who participated in PLTW, at least 33 percent took two or more PLTW courses. 

Offer and had students enrolled in at least three PLTW courses.

Have strategies in place that support reasonably proportional representation with regard to race, ethnicity, poverty, and/or gender.

We are proud to recognize Harmony Magnet Academy 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 important work empowering students with the knowledge and skills to succeed, not only in STEM subjects, but also more generally in life and career."

PLTW engineering programs adopt a problem-solving curiculum in which students participate in collaborative real-world projects such as working with a client to design a home, programming electronic devices or robotic arms or exploring algae as a biofuel source.

For more information about PLTW’s recognition program, visit pltw.org. For more information on the Harmony Magnet Academy PLTW Engineering program, contact Brown at 559-568-0347 or visit harmony.portervilleschools.org. 

The Distinguished School Awards are among a number of awards earned by Harmony, The school was also effectively named as a Distinguished School by the state in 2022 as the state replaced its Distinguished School Award Program with the California Pivotal Practice Award. The award was presented to schools for how they handled COVID and Harmony was one of the schools selected.

In addition Harmony is annually named as Tulare County's top school and was ranked among the top six percent schools in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.


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