Kingsland had more than 40 students achieving scores that qualify them to earn college credit at the University of Minnesota or any state school in Minnesota, according to Kingsland Superintendent John McDonald.

Specifically, 41 of 63 of Kingsland High School's students passed an advanced placement test that qualifies them for college credit transferable to Minnesota's colleges, and, if allowable, to colleges outside of the state.

The test specifically addresses students' understanding of the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum being taught at Kingsland and other PLTW schools across the nation. McDonald said that the results of the nationally standardized test prove that the new program at Kingsland is producing results.

"With the STEM programs put in place, the Project Lead the Way program looks good and sounds good, but how do we know how we're doing academically?" he asked.

That's where the advanced placement test comes in for freshmen through seniors. "The exam is stringent, and some years at Kingsland, kids earned a four or a five, enough to earn college credit. We're excited about this because so many students passed the test this year. Some may have earned a three and almost made it, and they could have missed by just a few points. But to have so many that got a four, and some that got fives, sixes and even three who got sevens is great. Those who got sevens might be able to transfer their Project Lead the Way STEM education to Ivy League colleges. A Project Lead the Way transcript gives a student more status or preference when getting into college."

Kingsland has STEM education and curriculum integrated from kindergarten through 12th grade, and it's a comprehensive curriculum aligned for kindergarten through 12th.

Kingsland currently offers several PLTW courses - Principles of Engineering in ninth grade, Biomedical Sciences and Digital Electronics and Introduction to Engineering and Design for sophomores through seniors - and is going to incorporate another, Civil Engineering and Computer Manufacturing, for sophomores through seniors, next year.

According to McDonald, "Requiring ninth graders to take Principles of Engineering gives them more flexibility in their schedules the next three years." Additionally, the district is one of three in Minnesota that will be pilot stations for kindergarten through fifth grade PLTW curriculum - Kingsland joins Lincoln Elementary in Rochester and Clearbrook-Gosvik in Clearbrook in offering the elementary pilot programs that will not be available to other PLTW schools until 2014.

McDonald stated, "It makes it unique that students at Kingsland earned college credit...15 ninth graders this year earned college credit. You'd expect that out of juniors and seniors, but we're talking about 25 freshmen who took the test. It's amazing to see the results the first year Project Lead the Way is in the schools."

He commended Kingsland High School's teaching staff for their excellent, hard work. "It's the teachers...and how they deliver instruction to our kids so that they perform well, and nationally well. Those things would not happen if quality education didn't happen on a daily basis. There's no way that we could have these results if the kids did not have the skills to perform like this on tests of this rigor. We're very proud of our teachers and how they deliver outstanding education on a daily basis to students at Kingsland."