Reaching New Heights: Aviation Classes Taking Off For Dallas ISD Elementary Kids

Reaching New Heights: Aviation Classes Taking Off For Dallas ISD Elementary Kids
January 7, 2014
Dunbar ISD aviation classroom donated cessna
North Texas aviation classes are reaching new heights as elementary students are studying flight science for the first time in the region. This soaring trend of classroom aviation can develop technology and math skills, and help launch careers.

January 7, 2014
By Bill Zeeble
KERA NEWS

Some area high schools offer aviation courses that cover aeronautical engineering and aviation administration to piloting skills. But now 14 DISD schools will offer such classes to more than 600 fourth and fifth graders starting this month. Jim Thompson hopes they inspire students the way he was inspired decades ago.

“It changed the way I thought about things and the way that I learned things," Thompson says. "It taught me about judgment, risk." The successful investor has flown his own plane for 31 years. With his wife, he formed the Blue Sky Foundation, which is helping to fund this elementary program. “Sometimes the images that form in your imagination as a young person can stay with you your whole life. I think that’s about the time I got bit by the aviation bug.” ...“If I had gone through this program when I was in fifth or sixth grade, that definitely would have helped out in the long run,” Perez says. “If you can space out your training and start earlier, it’s more beneficial to the student.”

The curriculum comes from Oshkosh, Wis., where Erron Sagen has taught aviation to third graders for a dozen years. “The value is that carrot that can drive an interest,” Sagen says, “but more important we’re teaching them how to think like scientists, experiment, how to bring in data, see what the world is like.”

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