A program that integrates classroom math with real-world engineering is getting a foothold at Columbus Signature Academy-New Tech and will expand to other high schools next year.
Bill Jensen, director of secondary education for the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., and program instructors at New Tech will update the Seamless Pathway to Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing program Monday during the corporation’s monthly school board meeting.
The program, funded with $80,000 from the Community Education Coalition’s EcO15 initiative, resulted from the coalition and other entities recognizing a need to identify and nurture Columbus’ next generation of highly skilled engineers.
The school district will expand the program next school year to Columbus East and Columbus North high schools, Jensen said. If successful, it would expand to other schools in EcO15’s southeastern Indiana concentration area.
Learn about the program
What: Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. Board meeting
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Where: Columbus Signature Academy-New Tech, 2205 25th St.
Highlight: Update a program called Seamless Pathway to Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing, which New Tech launched to merge the math curriculum with engineering.
EcO15 was created partly to prepare people in the region for high-paying jobs in advanced manufacturing and related fields.
“This is an investment in our future,” said John Burnett, president and chief executive officer of the education coalition.
The Seamless Pathway project is divided into three courses:
Introduction to Engineering Design — For freshmen and sophomores, the class integrates geometry with engineering. The class has 48 students.
Principles of Engineering — The next level for students who want to continue pursuing engineering. The class has 19 students.
Computer Integrated Manufacturing — The final level for serious students who want to continue their studies at college. The class has 10 students.
Mike Reed, principal at New Tech, said students earn credit toward the next level of preparation at Ivy Tech Community College-Columbus/Franklin, IUPUC and Purdue School of Technology.
On Friday, students in the Introduction to Engineering Design class, which is a mandatory part of introductory geometry this year, pecked away at laptop computers as engineering teacher Nicole Otte answered students’ occasional questions.
In a room separated by a glass partition, geometry teacher Stephanie Sharick conducted a separate but related lesson to some of the other students who sat attentively.
Jordan Winters, a freshman, worked on his computer to create a geometric image of a church. He said he likes geometry and might advance to Principles in Engineering next year.
Kristina Linville, a senior, stopped in from the Computer Integrated Manufacturing class. She said she plans to continue her studies at IUPUC in engineering technologies.
“It’s an excellent program,” she said about her high school class.
Jensen said the Community Education Coalition’s $80,000 gift is enough to sustain the courses at New Tech for two years. He said some of it went toward personnel while the rest went toward supplies, tools and equipment.
The school system will shuffle resources after the two-year period expires so the project can continue, he said.
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