October 3, 2016 – Purdue University’s Polytechnic Institute and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association have formed a partnership to develop aviation-related science and math curriculum for high schools across America.
Faculty with the university’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology and the AOPA developed a program that will be the first-of-its-kind, offering students comprehensive four-year aviation study options that are aligned to rigorous math and science standards used in many states.
The curriculum would be part of the high school initiative of AOPA’s You Can Fly program, which was created to bring more individuals into aviation.
Purdue University President Mitch Daniels said the partnership continues Purdue University’s efforts in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.
“The new curriculum program gives students an opportunity to further develop their math and science skills in order to bolster the future of the aviation industry and create new possibilities in transportation,” Daniels said.
You Can Fly is intended to help people of all ages get involved with aviation by educating high school students about aviation career opportunities, assisting lapsed pilots’ return to flying, lowering barriers to entry, reducing the cost of flying and building the aviation community.
The aviation-related curriculum will be offered at Purdue Polytechnic High School-Indianapolis when it opens in August 2017. The school will offer an alternative-learning environment designed to better prepare students for today’s workplace.
“You Can Fly is making aviation more inviting and accessible to everyone,” said Katie Pribyl, AOPA senior vice president of communications and head of the program. “Humans have always dreamed of flight. Now we’re offering new ways for people to connect with that dream. For high school students, the curricula we’re developing will offer a chance to explore the many fascinating aspects of aviation while making math and science more relevant and fun.”
Bernard Wulle, an associate aviation professor at Purdue, said the curriculum partnership can create an important first step for students interested in aviation at a time when finding and recruiting talented workers for the industry is a challenge.
“High school students who are curious about aviation can use this program to learn more about the industry,” he said. “There are more areas than piloting and each require the math and science this curriculum stresses.”
In addition to curriculum development, the AOPA high school initiative is bringing educators together to share ideas and expertise when it comes to implementing aviation-based STEM education at their schools.
AOPA expects 200 individuals from across the country to take part in the second annual High School Aviation Symposium November 6-7 in Seattle. Representatives from both AOPA and Purdue University will speak about developing the curricula.
Symposium participants also will have the opportunity to discuss best practices for aviation-based STEM education and tour a top aviation high school. Anyone interested in attending should check the website or email HS@aopa.org.