McPherson Magnet Achieves Project Lead the Way Distinguished School Status

Orange, CA – February 28, 2019 – Orange Unified is proud to announce that McPherson Magnet School has been named a Project Lead the Way Distinguished School for both their elementary (Launch) and secondary (Gateway) programs. McPherson is one of four schools in the county to achieve distinguished school status for the elementary program and they are the only school in the entire county to receive the designation for the middle school program. The complete list of the recognized schools is on the Project Lead the Way website:  

McPherson Magnet has received this achievement due to the access of the Project Lead the Way STEM program for all students. Currently, McPherson elementary students (K-5th) have the opportunity to visit the Project Lead the Way STEM lab with a designated STEM specialist.  The program empowers students to adopt a design-thinking mindset through compelling activities, projects, and problems that build upon each other and relate to the world around them. As students engage in hands-on activities in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, they become creative, collaborative problem solvers ready to take on any challenge.

Because McPherson Magnet is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) focused school, their secondary students (6th-8th) also take a year-long STEM course as part of their requirements. The community is welcome to visit McPherson to learn more about the PLTW program. 

6th Grade students at McPherson Magnet complete one year of engineering course through the Project Lead the Way curriculum:

Design and Modeling: Students discover the design process and develop an understanding of the influence of creativity and innovation in their lives.  They are then challenged and empowered to use and apply what they’ve learned throughout the unit to design a therapeutic toy for a child who has cerebral palsy.

Automation and Robotics: Students learn about the history and impact of automation and robotics as they explore mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation, and computer control systems.  Using the VEX Robotics® platform, students apply what they know to design and program traffic lights, robotic arms, and more.

7th Grade students at McPherson Magnet complete one year of computer science course through the Project Lead the Way curriculum:

App Creators: This unit will expose students to computer science as a means of computationally analyzing and developing solutions to authentic problems through mobile app development, and will convey the positive impact of the application of computer science to other disciplines and to society.

Computer Science for Innovators and Makers: Throughout the unit, students will learn about programming for the physical world by blending hardware design and software development, allowing students to discover computer science concepts and skills by creating personally relevant, tangible, and shareable projects.

8th Grade students at McPherson Magnet complete one year of biomedical science course through the Project Lead the Way curriculum:

Medical Detectives: Students play the role of real-life medical detectives as they analyze genetic testing results to diagnose disease and study DNA evidence found at a “crime scene.”  They solve medical mysteries through hands-on projects and labs, investigate how to measure and interpret vital signs, and learn how the systems of the human body work together to maintain health.

Green Architecture: In this unit, students learn how to apply green concepts to the fields of architecture and construction.  They explore dimensioning, measuring, and architectural sustainability and apply what they have learned to design affordable housing units using Autodesk’s® 3D architectural design software.

Flight and Space: The exciting world of aerospace comes alive through Flight and Space. Students explore the science behind aeronautics and use their knowledge to design, build, and test an airfoil.

On May 1st, McPherson Magnet will be hosting a showcase event, in conjunction with Project Lead the Way, for interested school personnel, community partners and county leaders. If you would like to attend, please email the McPherson Magnet Principal:

McPherson Magnet is a K-8 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Magnet Program in the Orange Unified School District. To get information about McPherson, please follow us them on Twitter @mcphersonmagnet or visit their website:


The Orange Unified School District educates approximately 26,000 PreK-12th grade students in the Cities of Orange, Villa Park, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and unincorporated county areas.  In partnership with our community, we provide a safe, equitable, and innovative culture of learning for each scholar to have a competitive EDGE as a leader.