Wheaton High School Credit: VIA MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Montgomery County Public Schools has ranked first among other school districts nationwide for having the most students to earn recognition for college preparedness and a career in science or technology.

College Board and Project Lead the Way last week awarded more than 3,000 students in the U.S. for their accomplishments in the 2016-2017 academic year.

“Students who earn the achievement have demonstrated success in both academic and applied coursework and have experience applying advanced content knowledge to address real-world challenges,” the program’s website stated.

Compared to other school districts, MCPS had the most students who’d earned the AP + PLTW Student Achievements, followed by districts in Illinois and Texas and Howard County Public Schools in Maryland. Wheaton High School, which focuses on project-based learning, had the second-most students with the achievement, behind Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Illinois, according to the announcement.

The two-year-old AP + PLTW program promotes college and career pathways that connect project-based learning and AP courses. The program also recognizes students who pursue these avenues and offers career-focused opportunities for young people. The goal is increasing student interest in STEM (science, engineering, technology and math) degrees and careers.

Students are eligible for AP + PLTW Student Achievements if they’ve earned an AP exam score of 3 or higher; a PLTW end-of-course test score of proficient or better; and a third such score on either an AP exam or PLTW test.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.