Jasper County Airport Authority (JCAA) recently entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to teach aviation education courses in partnership with Rensselaer Central School Corporation (RCSC), facilitated by Indiana Trails Career Cooperative. For several years, airport management has worked alongside Indian Trails in an effort to incorporate aviation education into local high school curriculum. Airport management attended numerous school board meetings to discuss aviation careers and promote the airport’s local aviation education initiative. Although RCSC and Kankakee Valley School Corporation (KVSC) board members were very receptive to partnering with the airport to incorporate aviation into high school curriculum, student recruitment and working offsite courses taught at the airport into students’ schedules proved initially challenging.
Finally, between Rensselaer Central High School, Kankakee Valley High School, and West Central High School, the airport finally has students enrolled to start teaching aviation courses starting fall of 2021. North Newton School Corporation has also indicated interest and is currently discussing discussing courses with students.
Recently, Indiana Department of Education chose to transition to a new course format aimed at streamlining education for Next Level Jobs, coined the Next Level Programs of Study (NLPS). The airport’s High School Aviation Education curriculum aligns with the NLPS format and will include the following three courses available fall 2021:
Principles of Aviation Management- Allows students an opportunity to develop an understanding of various aspects of the aviation industry including regulations and careers.
Private Pilot Theory– Students will receive ground school knowledge required for certification as a private pilot with airplane single engine land rating. Students completing this course may be able to experience a free aircraft flight if they desire (with parents permission, conditions and limitations may apply).
Aviation Safety and Operations- Gives students an overview of general aviation operations including the operation and management of fixed base operation (FBO). It introduces aviation security challenges, financial and operational considerations, and regulatory requirements and constraints.
Each aviation course will last one block hour and run for two semesters. The aim is for students to take all three courses at the same time to minimize the impact of travel and time zone change where applicable. Being taught at the Jasper County Airport, courses will be fully immersive, capitalizing on a dynamic learning environment within a working airport. While all three courses already qualify for high school credit, dual credit with Ivy Tech is pending.
Courses may also be available to local homeschool students as well as students attending faith-based schools, provided students enroll through RCSC for the aviation courses.
Currently, there are no plans for these courses to increase tuition. Students wishing to pursue flight training may do so at their own expense. The airport currently operates a rental Cessna 172 and there are numerous freelance independent flight instructors that are able to provide flight instruction to interested students, or anyone else for that matter. More information about the airport’s rental aircraft can be viewed here.
Students interested in participating should contact their academic advisors immediately.