Beginning in the Fall of 2023, ninth through twelfth grade students in Stillwater Public Schools will have new course options available to them – Aviation Technology I and II.
“Starting in the ’23-’24 school year, SJHS will offer Aviation I, and we’ll have Aviation II,” says SHS Principal Walter Howell. “In ’24-’25, we’ll add Aviation III and hopefully Aviation IV soon thereafter.” Howell clarifies that Aviation I isn’t a prerequisite for Aviation II, so students at SHS will be able to jump in at Aviation II but will need to complete Aviation III in order to meet graduation requirements.
The demand for employees in the aviation industry at both the state and national level has greatly increased in recent years. Following legislation changes in May of this year, the State Board of Education adopted aviation technology course codes, and the State Department of Education provided guidance that allows students to meet Core Curriculum graduation requirements through two aviation technology courses, in lieu of two years of the same world language or computer science.
“The aviation program is an exciting opportunity to provide a hands-on, STEM-certified, industry-developed curriculum to students that potentially leads them to post-secondary and career opportunities,” says Ashley Moore, SPS Director of Secondary Education. “I am thankful for the collaboration, vision, leadership, and efforts of Principals Szymanski and Howell, our Ed Services Assistant Superintendent Dr. Walker, and Superintendent Gordon who saw the value in providing this opportunity for Stillwater students and working to make this happen.”
The junior high Aviation Technology I course includes STEM activities, critical thinking, and provides an introduction to aviation and its history. At SHS, Aviation II will include the use of flight simulators for experiential learning and application. Aviation III and IV, which will be added in following academic years dependent upon enrollment and interest in the program, allow students to focus on a particular pathway: Pilot or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Both of these pathways provide options for students to take certification exams and participate in internship opportunities.
“Our highschoolers won’t actually be flying in the air during their time at SHS,” Moore says. “But they’ll be well prepared for success after high school if this is a path they choose.”
“Through the incredible partnerships within our community, we are able to implement a new program that benefits our students in a variety of ways and hopefully benefits our community and state in return,” says Moore. “We’ve already begun preliminary conversations with Stillwater Airport, OSU, and pilots who live in the area about ways we can work together as this program grows. The aviation community of Stillwater is clearly excited about the chance to support this program, and we can’t wait to see the possibilities it opens for students.
Course information for the ’23-’24 school year will be coming soon to families from SJHS and SHS. Students will sign up through their course selection process.