AOPA Foundation's You Can Fly Program Grows Nationwide

 - August 19, 2021, 4:42 PM
AOPA’s You Can Fly High School Aviation STEM Curriculum has grown 50 percent year over year with 300 schools set to teach it in 2021/2022. Participating students at Greenville Technical Charter High School in South Carolina (pictured here) received an overview of aviation from guest pilots Jane and John Dyer. (Photo: AOPA/David Tulis).

The AOPA Foundation You Can Fly High School Aviation STEM Curriculum is gaining traction throughout the country as some 300 educational institutions in 44 states have incorporated it into their 2021/2022 course offerings.

That marks a 50 percent year-over-year increase in the number of participating schools and a 22 percent increase in the number of states where the curriculum is taught. In the 2020/2021 school year, the curriculum was offered at 200 institutions in 36 states, with 8,000 students participating, AOPA reported.

“We are thrilled with the excitement surrounding aviation STEM programs and with the rapid expansion of the AOPA Foundation You Can Fly High School Aviation STEM Curriculum,” said AOPA Foundation You Can Fly executive director Elizabeth Tennyson. “Teachers love the curriculum, students love the curriculum, and they are learning valuable lessons to help them prepare for careers in the aviation industry.”

The curriculum, which this summer received national accreditation through the STEM organization’s Accredited Education Program Trustmark, provides pilot and drone pathways and teaches the principles necessary to pass FAA knowledge tests. Since the curriculum is funded through donations, the AOPA Foundation offers it to schools for free, a move that allows it to reach populations underrepresented in aviation.

In fact, during the last school year, an estimated 45 percent of teachers and 55 percent of students participating in the curriculum came from schools classified as either mid-high poverty (meaning 50 percent to 75 percent free and reduced lunch) or high poverty (greater than 75 percent free and reduced lunch), AOPA said.

Along with the STEM Trustmark recognition, the curriculum has won approval from the state of Oklahoma for its career technical education (CTE) aviation career pathway. Meanwhile, Kanas educators and career developers worked with the You Can Fly team on a statewide CTE pilot pathway.