Students who aspire to touch the sky and join the aviation industry don’t have to wait long to start realizing their dream. The Puget Sound Skills Center Aeronautical Science Pathway program at Highline Public Schools gets students into the pilot’s seat as part of their high school experience. The program’s unique concept earned Highline the national recognition of District of Distinction by District Administration magazine.
District Administration magazine recognized the program for innovation in K-12 education. The national recognition honors school districts that are leading the way with new ideas that work.
“Our students get a glimpse at the aviation field, hands-on experience and a jumpstart on college credits. And with more than 200 aviation and aerospace businesses in the region, there is high demand for well-educated and skilled workers. It’s a win-win-win,” said Chief Academic Officer Susanne Jerde.
The Aeronautical Science Pathway program provides hands-on learning and multiple career pathways for students who aspire to join the local aeronautics industry. The program is designed for high school juniors and seniors who want to become professional pilots or work in one of many aviation operations management fields, such as unmanned aerial systems, air traffic control, airline or airport management, or airline dispatch.
The program is a partnership between Highline Public Schools, the Museum of Flight and Green River Community College. Juniors and seniors can earn up to 60 college credits.
Each year-long pathway offers six college-level courses, which can go toward earning an associate and/or bachelor of applied science degree in aeronautical science. Students also learn interview, collaboration and leadership skills, and take part in internships and aviation events.
The 35 students who were enrolled in the program as of June 2018 collectively earned 425 college credits. Students participated in numerous internships including pilot and aviation marketing.