Story by Ophelia Barrizo
Beginning in the 2019–20 academic year, Chesapeake Conference's Spencerville Adventist Academy (SAA) will be joining more than 100 schools in the nationally recognized Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations (AOPA)—a high school aviation STEM curriculum. Students will have a unique opportunity to experience a one-of-akind, comprehensive, four-year aviation study program, aligned with rigorous math and science standards.
Schools are now implementing the ninth grade curriculum. The 10th grade curriculum will be rolled out next school year, and the 11th grade is now being tested in 25 schools. AOPA will release subsequent courses until the curriculum is completed for 12th grade. The program and professional development for teachers is provided to SAA at no cost. The courses currently available are in two career and technical education pathways: pilot and unmanned aircraft systems (drones).
According to a 2018 Boeing study, there is a growing demand for qualified people to fill aviation industry jobs. Globally, 635,000 commercial aircraft pilots, 622,000 technicians and 850,000 cabin crew members are needed within the next 20 years. Due to this demand, AOPA is “utilizing this STEM curriculum to inspire students and give them the skills to pursue careers in aerospace,” says Mark Baker, AOPA president and CEO. These classes, coordinated with the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, come with all the resources teachers need, including lesson plans, presentations and assessments, as well as rigorous, engaging and fun student activities.