OGDEN -- Weber School District is sending hundreds of high school students out into the world of engineering through its top notch program Project Lead the Way, and now, that program is garnering national recognition.
Two Rivers High School houses the pre-engineering program, which includes about 385 students from all the high schools, as well as the ninth graders from the junior high schools in the district.
Students are bused to Two Rivers, every day, to take a variety of engineering classes ranging from civil to aerospace engineering. Students receive college credit for the classes.
Project Lead the Way is a national program being used at 4,200 schools across the country.
The national program awarded the Two Rivers Weber School District program with a Model School award, an award only given to 16 other schools across the U.S.
"Every year they publish a model school brochure and we have always thought it would be great to be included there," said Glenn Prisk, the Project Lead the Way director for Weber School District.
Prisk said it has always been a goal of his and other teachers in the program to be included in the model school category, so they have been striving for excellence in every area.
The district picked up the program in 2005 and since that time the number of students enrolled has more than tripled.
He attributes that success to a supportive district and teachers who are willing to go above and beyond.
"We have good teachers that were willing to go back and re-train. It's abnormal to have six teachers that will do that," Prisk said.
Teachers are required to get additional training to teach the courses and many did that with no extra pay or incentive, but instead just because they believe in the program.
The program has taken off the last four years because the students see the need for engineers in society.
"The reality is our society is addicted to technology ... this program gives kids an opportunity for employment," Prisk said.
The program has been successful because the students see the reason why they are doing chemistry and math because in the engineering classes there is practical application.
Prisk partners with Utah State University, Weber State University and Utah Valley University for many things, including giving students college credit. There are also many business partnerships where students work directly with local businesses to increase engineering skills.
Reid Newey, Weber School District director over secondary education, helped bring the program to the district and said the Ogden area is a perfect place to have the program because of the business partnerships.
"The area has a huge amount of technical and production businesses, so I knew if we worked it right it could be a real nice thing for the community," Newey said. "Really it's the best thing going in public education."
Ogden School District's Project Lead the Way program is growing as well and the districts talk about strategies and making their programs succeed, Prisk said.
At the Weber School District's board meeting the area representative from Project Lead the Way as well as state's technical director for the program gave the Model School award to Prisk and others involved with the program.
Prisk said it was a proud moment not only for the district, but for the parents and students involved with the program, because their hard work makes the program great as well.
Both Prisk and Newey said all the working parts -- the district, the school board, the teachers, students and businesses -- make everything work so well. Newey hopes to keep the program the same size it is now, not bigger, but not smaller.
"It is pretty costly because we have to have a lot of technology to keep it affective," Newey said. "We want to always provide quality ... it is by far our biggest magnet program in the district."