The Aerospace Industry Eagerly Awaits The Graduates Of RAHS

Can the U.S. produce engineers needed to replace the aging aerospace workforce?

There’s this school in Tukwila, Washington designated by the Washington State legislature as a “lighthouse model of STEM education”, recognizing the school’s best practices and student achievement results. The school was rated as one of the top 7 Washington State high schools in college readiness by the US News and World Report in 2011.

The Edge Of Raisbeck Aviation High School

A typical scenario at the Raisbeck Aviation High School will have students in a geometry class practicing on how to make two-point perspective drawings using paper and T-squares –the old fashioned way. Michael Gudor, a teacher at RAHS explained that the best way to understand the task is by pen and paper first. Students put their ideas on paper once they understand the concept. The school’s computer-assisted design lab allows them to devise something from the concepts that they have formed and translate them into real objects using a 3D printer, a water jet cutting machine and other high-tech tools.

Matt Vredevoogd, foreground at right, of Seattle, a ninth-grader at the new Raisbeck Aviation High School on East Marginal Way South, pulls a cord to launch his water and air-pressure-powered rocket in the shadow of the first Boeing 747.

Carefully Screened Students

Students make robots that toss Frisbees and shoot baskets in competitions. These are the kind of students admitted into the school when they opened in 2004. Students were selected based on grades, interest in the theme of aviation, 7th grade WASL scores, family background and student behavior. Now, the school’s capacity is at 400 students. The school has just moved to its latest home location in Boeing Field in Tukwila, from the former Olympic Elementary School, also in Washington.

Focus On STEM

With the school’s curriculum focused on STEM or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, those behind the school – politicians, executives and educators, are confident that the school will help produce the engineers and other professionals that will someday replace the aging aerospace workforce in Washington. This will help keep the state competitive for these lucrative jobs in the global market.

What Aerospace Industry Needs

Gov. Jay Inslee, during an opening celebration at school said that the ultimate resource in aerospace is not aluminum, or blind rivets or even the wonders of carbon fiber. It’s focused on intellectual capability.

Motivated by the Big Players in Aerospace Industry

The aerospace industry in which Boeing is a big player, will need the most committed and talented workforce ever if they want to continue to compete. This is what the students were told by the CEO and President of Boeing Commercial. He further motivated the students by saying, “Come see me anytime, because we’re ready for you.”

Preparation and Exposure

The students of Raisbeck Aviation High School spend their summers as interns at Boeing, Planetary Resources, Federal Aviation Administration and the Museum of Flight. The school’s focus is evident in subjects outside science and math. In a history classroom, for instance, there is a display on notable astronauts and pilots. During an English class, the students give a presentation as historical aviator.

The Answer: Raisbeck Aviation High School

Ten years ago, students were excited to learn and succeed but their impediment was the lack of proper preparation to study science, engineering and math. The idea of Aviation High School was to address that inadequacy.

Will Raisbeck Aviation High School succeed in honing talents for the aerospace industry?