Admiral Farragut Academy (Farragut), a private boarding and day school for PreK-12th grade students, has been offering Aviation courses since 1987. What began as an elective, became a full Aviation Program in 2007 with Private Pilot license training for students in 9th-12th grade at an additional cost. This year, Farragut continues to advance its Aviation Program by joining 69 other schools and adding the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations (AOPA) high school aviation science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum in the 2018-2019 school year.
“We have used AOPA’s online educational resources for years both in our Aviation Academy and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Dual Enrollment course,” said Rob Ewing, Director of the Aviation Program at Farragut. “I am always striving to improve the overall course offerings to our students, and by adding this coursework we join a larger aviation community driven to provide the best possible Aviation/STEM education for students that attend Admiral Farragut Academy.”
AOPA’s aviation STEM curriculum is the first-of-its-kind, and will offer students comprehensive, four-year aviation study options aligned with rigorous math and science standards used in many states nationwide. The program aims to provide students the skills they need to learn about aviation-related career and educational opportunities.
AOPA is developing these courses as part of three career and technical education (CTE) pathways: pilot, unmanned aircraft systems (drones), and aerospace engineering.
Each year, AOPA will release subsequent courses until all four high school grade levels of the curriculum are complete. The curriculum will be provided to schools at no cost. Donors to the AOPA Foundation fund development and distribution of the curriculum, as well as other initiatives of the You Can Fly program.
According to a 2017 Boeing study, there’s a growing demand for aviation industry jobs, and it’s not slowing down. 637,000 commercial aircraft pilots; 648,000 technicians; and 839,000 cabin crew members are needed globally within the next 20 years. “With an unprecedented demand for careers in aviation, we are thrilled that so many high schools are utilizing our STEM curriculum to inspire students and give them the skills to pursue future careers in aerospace,” said AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker. “Planting the seeds for the future workforce of our industry is part of AOPA’s mission to keep aviation vibrant. We are grateful to the AOPA Foundation donors who make such programs possible. Their generosity is helping us make a difference in the lives of thousands of youth and to spur interest in aviation.”
Over the past 12 months, AOPA tested the ninth-grade curriculum in nearly 30 schools with more than 700 students, before unveiling the program. The courses are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and includes all the resources teachers will need. Lesson plans, presentations, assessments, and other learning opportunities will be taught as rigorous, engaging, and fun student activities.
Before implementing the curriculum, Farragut’s Aviation Instructors are required and will participate in a three-day professional development workshop at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, MD to gain a deeper understanding of the materials, learn about available resources, and network with other aviation educators.