John M. Clayton Elementary repeats as national recognition recipient

FRANKFORD – It’s a repeat feat as Indian River School District’s John M. Clayton Elementary School is again in distinguished company.

The school on Monday announced it has received recognition as a Project Lead The Way Distinguished School for providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities for students through PLTW Launch.

John M. Clayton was one of just 404 elementary schools across the U.S. to receive this honor.

This is the second consecutive year that JMC has received this honor.

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

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, John M. Clayton Elementary had to offer at least two PLTW Launch modules at each grade level and have more than 75 percent of the student body participating during the 2018-19 school year.

John M. Clayton Principal Allisa Booth says this all stems from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program implementation.

“In just four short years, Mrs. Jaime Swartz has been trained as a Project Lead the Way instructor, implemented the STEM program as a specials course for kindergarten through fifth-grade students, trained our Research and Technology teacher to assist in coding instruction, and started an after-school Robotics Club for third- through fifth-graders,” said Ms. Booth. “She is the perfect example of hard work paying off – as she has now earned the school back-to-back national recognition awards from Project Lead the Way! On a daily basis, our students are witnesses to how much Mrs. Swartz loves researching, building and improving creations to help solve a problem.”

Studies show that students decide as early as elementary school whether they like, and think they are good at, math and science. Whether designing a car safety belt or building digital animations based on their own short stories, PLTW Launch students engage in critical and creative thinking, build teamwork skills, and develop a passion for and confidence in STEM subjects.

“And all members of the school love conducting learning walks in her classroom because they get to see first-hand every one of our kids actively engaged in one of the many different lessons you see throughout the day,” said Ms. Booth. “Clearly, her love for learning is contagious because one of our fifth-grade robotics teams took top honors at the Delaware VEX competition and earned a bid to Kentucky for the VEX World Competition. The decision to begin a STEM special with Mrs. Swartz at the helm has proven to be a continually successful endeavor.”

“It is a great honor to recognize John M. Clayton for its commitment to providing students with an excellent educational experience,” said Dr. Vince Bertram, President and CEO of PLTW. “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.”

John M. Clayton Elementary 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

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a mission-driven organization that is transforming the learning experience for millions of PreK-12 students and thousands of 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 12,200 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