Starting next fall, 100 students at Stall High School in North Charleston will take advanced courses in aerospace engineering, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the state Department of Education.
"We want to be sure that when you graduate high school students, that they are ready with the knowledge, the content knowledge, and the skills and characteristics that they need to be successful," state Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said Thursday at the school.
"Now they'll need to go on to college if they want a full career in aerospace engineering, and we want to have them prepared," she added.
Stall is one of six high schools statewide that will offer aerospace engineering curriculum though the Education Department's grant. The grant will cover a two-week training seminar for teachers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, plus other start-up costs.
The project-based curriculum, developed by the Southern Regional Education Board, encompasses the fundamentals of aerospace technology through astronautics engineering applications.
In the first course, students will learn how to design and build a pilot seat. In the final course, they will "design, build and test a laser communication system; develop a plan for space survivability in hostile environments; and utilize software to create a three-dimensional model of a satellite orbit and a team remote vehicle for underwater exploration," according to the board.
The curriculum was endorsed by aerospace industry representatives, said Adrianne Beasley, director of aerospace initiatives at the S.C. Council on Competitiveness. She said she hopes the state expands the program to an additional four to five schools over the next year.
"We have over 400 aerospace companies, large and small, from engineering to advanced manufacturing. Each one of those companies are creating a variety of different jobs," Beasley said. "What we've seen is a need for an increased number of highly skilled individuals both in advanced manufacturing and in engineering."
Jeremy Carrick, the principal of Stall High School, said 100 students, mostly freshmen and a few sophomores, have already signed up for the first course in the new aerospace engineering sequence. The classes will be taught by a certified math teacher and a certified science teacher.
"This is going to be a great opportunity for us to develop the passion and excitement in our young people for the aerospace industry that is growing rapidly across the state of South Carolina," Carrick said.