Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Education

Clearwater High to open aeronautical academy

CLEARWATER — With the opening of a new aviation academy, students at Clearwater High School soon will be able to graduate with a pilot's license — and a head start in the field of aeronautics and aerospace.

The Clearwater Aeronautical Space Academy, or CASA, will have a soft launch in January, with one class about unmanned aircraft available to students. A full schedule of classes in piloting, engineering, space flight and aeronautical science will be available in the 2014-15 school year through a partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

"We're really excited," principal Keith Mastorides said.

Pinellas has been exploring a partnership with Embry-Riddle for several years, Lisa Wolf, a district spokeswoman, said in an email. She said administrators were having trouble selecting a high school to host the program because they couldn't find a certified teacher who could teach aviation. But Clearwater High's JROTC instructor is a certified pilot and volunteered to teach a class of aviation and aerospace, she said.

Mastorides said the program is a natural fit for Clearwater High. Embry-Riddle has its main campus in Daytona Beach, but operates two satellite campuses in Tampa. The high school started a "wall-to-wall" academy concept last year in which all students take classes in career-themed areas, such as business, science and technology, fine arts and hospitality.

"It's a new way of thinking," Mastorides said of the academies, with the idea that students can earn industry certifications, giving them either a jump-start into college or a path directly to work.

Any student at Clearwater High, including those enrolled in special application programs, can join the new aviation academy. Those who do can earn their pilot's license and up to 30 college credits by the time they graduate.

Three of the proposed classes are high school courses, while the rest are college-level, dual-enrollment classes, Mastorides said. Students will get plenty of hands-on experience, with flight simulators and use of unmanned aircraft.

Embry-Riddle already has a presence in several school districts, including Charlotte, Palm Beach and Okaloosa counties. Last spring, it sought funding from the Florida Legislature to expand its career academy network, citing a growing demand for its graduates. The university also is launching a similar program in January at Pasco County's Sunlake High School.

Nearly 2,000 aviation and aerospace companies operate in Florida, according to Embry-Riddle.

Mastorides said the number of seats and classes offered to students at Clearwater High will be based on the level of interest. And so far, he said, there's been "a ton of interest."

Pinellas also is considering whether to add an aerospace component to Clearwater High's feeder schools — Oak Grove and Clearwater Fundamental middle schools — to give younger students a "jump on it," he said.

Times staff writer Jeffrey S. Solochek contributed to this report. Contact Cara Fitzpatrick at [email protected] or (727) 893-8846. Follow @Fitz_ly on Twitter.

Comments
How a small campus grew into an independent USF St. Petersburg

How a small campus grew into an independent USF St. Petersburg

Just a satellite campus many decades ago, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg has managed to carve out considerable autonomy within the arms of the USF System. But a bill moving through the state House of Representatives could undo its sep...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A closer look at graduation rates. How did your school do?

A closer look at graduation rates. How did your school do?

Updated: 2 hours ago
9 face hazing charges in death of Florida State fraternity pledge

9 face hazing charges in death of Florida State fraternity pledge

TALLAHASSEE — Nine men are facing hazing charges in connection with the death of a Florida State University fraternity pledge, police said Tuesday. The Tallahassee Police Department said in an emailed release that arrest warrants were signed earlier ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Young Pasco teacher faces cancer with support of students

Young Pasco teacher faces cancer with support of students

NEW PORT RICHEY — At age 28, things were really shaping up for Joel Santos-Gonzalez. Fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher, he had just completed his third year at Gulf Middle School."I always liked to talk to people on an intellectual...
Published: 01/17/18
In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

Separate accreditation has long been a point of pride and a stamp of independence for the St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee branches of the University of South Florida.Graduates of those schools frame diplomas bearing the name of their own universi...
Published: 01/16/18
Top Hillsborough teaching honor goes to a Lewis Elementary educator

Top Hillsborough teaching honor goes to a Lewis Elementary educator

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year is a self-described "busy, busy bee" who never tires of exploring new ways to help students learn, even if she has to be creative.At 56, Bonnie Bresnyan also is a mentor for the next generation of s...
Published: 01/16/18
School board member is ‘dumbfounded’ by Times report on Hillsborough substitute teachers

School board member is ‘dumbfounded’ by Times report on Hillsborough substitute teachers

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District should reconsider how it hires substitute teachers, and that conversation should happen publicly, School Board member Lynn Gray said Tuesday.Responding to a Tampa Bay Times article published Sunday , G...
Published: 01/16/18

Pasco class notes for Jan. 19

Theatre/Art/MusicCenter for the Arts at River Ridge, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey. (727) 774-7382.• The center’s Learn it Live! series presents The Three Little Pigs, at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 24- 25. Pre-K – grade 4. Public show at 11 a.m. Jan. ...
Published: 01/16/18
Bill to sweeten Bright Futures scholarship sails through Senate

Bill to sweeten Bright Futures scholarship sails through Senate

Nearly a decade since the luster on Florida’s signature merit scholarship program began to grow dim, state lawmakers have taken a decisive step toward restoring its appeal. Just three days into the 2018 Legislative session, the Florida Senate ...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18
Parents vent at school district meeting over fate of Lee Elementary School

Parents vent at school district meeting over fate of Lee Elementary School

TAMPA — Leaders of the Hillsborough County School District tried Thursday to reassure parents they are doing their best for the displaced students of Lee Elementary School, who lost their school in a September fire. To some, it was a hard sell...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18