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Varsity Lakes Middle nets national honor

School recognized for STEM, career learning

May 20, 2020
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Varsity Lakes Middle School has been named a Project Lead The Way for "providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities for students through PLTW Gateway."

Varsity Lakes is one of just 176 middle schools across the U.S. to receive the honor.

"The Project Lead The Way program has provided enriching educational opportunities for our students through hands-on, project-based activities and classwork," Varsity Lakes Middle School Principal Matthew Mederios said in a prepared statement. "We are excited to receive this recognition and look forward to continuing our partnership to provide rigorous and engaging real-world learning experiences."

According to Mederios the project based learning encompasses a variety of STEM subjects including Robotics, 3D Modeling and Design and a Medical Detective course.

"The students participate in lab type activates that help immerse them into learning and then applying what they learned. Some children are more hands-on than others in their learning," Mederios said. "Through PLTW courses, the students use real world application of concepts that they learn in the classroom. Medical detectives work through the clues of a crime scene just like it was real case."

According to Mederios, many of their students have gone to Dunbar High School to pair with their PLTW programs.

"Dunbar offers the same program, so students can follow career paths into graduation. I felt it was important to maintain these options here, too, so they can be exposed early on with what they will need at the university level and in a career," Mederios said.

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, Varsity Lakes Middle School had to meet certain criteria including offering at least one PLTW Gateway unit at each grade level and having a 50 percent ratio of the student body participating during the 2018-19 school year.

"Every year they provide recognition to the across the US that are immersing their student into these types of programs. We were excited to be nominated this year," Mederios said.

PLTW is a nonprofit organization that serves millions of PreK-12 students and teachers in more than 12,200 schools across the U.S. PLTW programs allow students to develop STEM knowledge as well as in-demand, transportable skills that they will use while in school and in their daily lives, or on any career path.

"It is a great honor to recognize Varsity Lakes Middle School for their commitment to providing students with an excellent educational experience," said Dr. Vince Bertram, president and CEO of PLTW, in a prepared statement. "They should be very proud of their work to ensure students have the knowledge and skills to be career ready and successful on any career path they choose."

Varsity Lakes Middle School is part of a community of PreK-12 schools, colleges and universities, and corporate and philanthropic partners across the country united around a passion for providing students with inspiring, engaging, and empowering learning opportunities. For more information about PLTW's recognition program, visit

For more information on Varsity Lakes Middle School's PLTW Gateway program, or to set up a school visit, contact Jason Plucker

For more information on Project Lead The Way (PLTW), visit



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