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Highland to Offer First Aerospace Engineering Curriculum in Iowa

Posted: Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 at 6:24 am
Author: KCII News - Sam McIntosh

Highland students and administration accept $60,000 grant from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation December 6. Photo by Sam McIntosh.

Highland High School will be the first in the state of Iowa to offer a four-year aerospace engineering program beginning next fall.

The seed of this program was planted over the summer as Interim Superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen and the school board discussed ways they wanted to put Highland on the map in terms of unique and career-leaning education opportunities. High Schools That Work, a program of the Southern Regional Education Board was searching for an Iowa high school to start this program, and now Highland has received a $60,000 grant from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation to bring this to fruition, which Jorgensen describes, “The aerospace engineering curriculum is an advanced career curriculum [that] focuses a lot on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) related activities, engineering activities as it relates to the aeronautics industry. We are actually going to be the first in Iowa that’s going to get the opportunity to implement this. I’ve done a lot of work with High Schools That Work as a consultant, they were looking for someplace to pilot this program in Iowa. When I took over the superintendency at Highland that kind of opened that door.”

The grant will be used for equipment such as drones and flight simulators. Jorgensen says the program will incorporate well with the school’s robotics team. When asked about the aerospace curriculum student Lane Griffis said he wishes the program was offered when he was a freshman. And student Emma Crossett says she’s all for the program, and that she wants to be an astronaut. Two Highland teachers will receive training to instruct the first course in the fall of 2018, and will add subsequent courses in the years to follow.