Arkansas Wing, Teachers Team Up for Aerospace Workshop
Members of the Arkansas Wing and the Pine Bluff School District teamed up Feb. 10 the first Aerospace Teachers' Workshop in more than two years, as 13 educators from around the state came together to learn about the programs available through CAP.
CAP offers teachers a chance to infuse aerospace into their classrooms with curriculum using the latest in Project Based Learning techniques.
The wing’s director of aerospace education, Maj. Garrick St. Pierre, guided the instruction relying on his experience as lead aerospace teacher at Cloverdale Middle School in Little Rock.
“I really enjoy seeing the expressions on teachers’ faces as the discover the wonders of teaching with aerospace,” St. Pierre said.
CAP has more than 6,000 teacher members across the U.S., including 125 located in Arkansas – a count that climbed by nine after the workshop.
“Over 10,000 students across the state benefit from these programs each year, preparing them to be better aerospace leaders and skilled STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) employees in tomorrow’s economy,” St. Pierre said.
According to the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce, the aerospace industry is the state’s largest export, with Arkansas leading the Southern states in that field.
St. Pierre expressed gratitude to NASA’s Arkansas Space Grant Consortium for its continued support of the Arkansas Wing and the state’s teachers, citing a grant making it possible “to conduct these trainings, and they also pay for the membership fees for every interested teacher in the state.”
“After teachers join, they get great benefits such as (CAP) STEM Kits, NextGen Science-compliant lesson plans written by teachers, access to grants, and a free orientation ride in our CAP aircraft.”
The wing has also teamed up with the state Department of Education to provide each teacher attending a workshop six professional Development hours toward their annual continuing education requirements.
Dr. Reginald Wilson, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) coordinator for the Pine Bluff School District, hosted the event. The session “was great, very beneficial, and very, very informative,” Wilson said.
Master Sgt. Gary Podgurski
Command Noncommissioned Officer