Star City Receives National Recognition for Commitment to Empowering Students

For Immediate Release                                                             

February 28, 2019    

Media Contact:

Jon Laffoon
Superintendent – 870-628-4237

Star City, AR – Star City School District announced today that it has been recognized as a Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Distinguished District for providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities for students through its PLTW programs. It is one of just 21 districts across the U.S. to receive this honor and the only district in Arkansas to be awarded this distinction. PLTW is a nonprofit organization that serves millions of PreK-12 students and teachers in schools across the U.S.

“We honored to be a recognized as PLTW Distinguished District for 2018-2019. Star City School District has propelled forward in Arkansas as a premier STEM school district. We are currently the only district in Arkansas to receive this award for the past two years.  The award is made possible from the dedication of the PreK-12 teachers at Star City School District.” states Gina Richard, secondary STEM Curriculum Coordinator. “Our staff are the key to our success and are an integral part of the districts success in since its implementation in 2011. PLTW provides a great opportunity for our students to not only build their problem-solving skills but also prepare them for college and career readiness.”

The PLTW Distinguished District recognition honors districts committed to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs. To be eligible for the designation, Star City had to have had 20 percent or more of its students in each grade, K-12, participate in a PLTW program during the 2017-18 school year. Superintendent Jon Laffoon stated, “Star City School District had 100% of the elementary, 62% of the middle school, and 46% of the high school participating during the 2017-2018 school year and our vision is to continue to increase those numbers. Our Board of Directors, teachers and students deserve all the credit for allowing us to create pathways that provide students access to careers and skills that will translate into the workforce.”

Through PLTW programs, students develop in-demand knowledge and skills that they will use both in school and for the rest of their lives, on any career path they take. As PLTW students progress through grades PreK-12, they are empowered to engage in problem-solving and process thinking, develop technical knowledge and skills, build communication skills, and explore career opportunities.

Star City School District offers PLTW PreK (beta launch for the 2018-2019 school year), PLTW Launch (K-5), PLTW Gateway (6-8), and PLTW (Computer Science, Engineering, and Biomedical Science).

“It is a great honor to recognize Star City School District for its commitment to students,” said Vince Bertram, President and CEO of PLTW. “These are leaders in what school should look like, and they should be very proud of ensuring students have the knowledge and skills to be career ready and successful on any career path they choose.”

Star City School District 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 Star City School District PLTW programs or to set up a school visit, contact Gina Richard at 870-628- 5125 or by email:

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for PreK-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. Approximately 11,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit