About The Team

Woodlake High School is introducing its students to a two-year Aviation Pathway, which caters to grades 9 through 12. The new Aviation Pathway is part of the Transportation Sector in the Aviation and Aerospace Transportation Services Pathway. The pathway consists of two classes: Math for Aviation and Aviation 1. The first class, Math for Aviation, is an alternative to Integrated Math 2 approved as a “g” Math course in the University of California System. The class consists of a project-based learning approach introducing students to the STEMPilot Curriculum. Students will use flight simulators and work in “flight crews” to accomplish flight missions. The complete course in the Aviation Pathway will use AOPA’s High School Curriculum as well as the SAFEDrone Software which will prepare students to earn industry credentials.

Through Woodlake’s program, students will complete two years of aviation coursework to earn a recognized industry certificate, a-g college credit, and a California Career and Technical Education pathway completion. For their industry credentials, students will have the opportunity to become OSHA 10 certified and receive an aviation certificate, such as a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) drone operator license. Students will also complete a two-year Math for Aviation program that earns a-g college preparatory credit with the University of California System and satisfies a California Career and Technical Education pathway.

With Phase 2 underway, Woodlake is introducing its students to its online aviation program, allowing them to learn in-demand, transferable math and physics skills. At school, students are applying that knowledge through flight simulator, mechanical, and safety demonstrations. Woodlake is also establishing dual-credit college preparatory classes by partnering with Reedley College.

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Fall 2022 semester update

Starting the year off with energy, Math for Aviation has a full class with 28 students enrolled. Eleven students are female, compared to three in the first Math for Aviation class. 

Sixteen students in Year 2 of the Aviation Pathway — including 15 returning students — started their first Reedley College Dual Enrollment class, introducing the Aviation Maintenance Tech college program emphasizing shop safety and basic electricity. This will be a one quarter course followed by FLGHT 103 Careers Aviation. In the second semester, students will take FLGHT 104 — where students will earn their Remote Pilot (drone) certification — followed by FLGHT 102 History of Aviation. Every student has already passed the OSHA 10 General Industry test and the Snap On Multimeter exam, earning industry-recognized certificates. 

Two students in the Aviation Pathway were selected to participate in a paid internship program under the In School Youth at Work Program sponsored by the Workforce Investment Board. They will be completing 160 paid hours working with a local aviation mechanic, practicing the skills they are learning in their Reedley College dual-enrollment classes — including shop safety and multimeter use. One of the student’s stories has been highlighted by the In School Youth at Work Program. 

Outside the classroom, students attended a STEM Expo at the Edwards Air Force Base, which showcased over 60 hands-on displays, professional speakers, and an air show hosting the Thunderbirds. The students also continued to engage with the local Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter, and gain industry exposure through guest speakers — including a captain from Southwest Airlines, who presented on his journey from military aviator to regional pilot to his current role as a captain for a major commercial airline. 

Winter 2022 semester update

Student success in Woodlake’s aviation pathway continues to validate the team’s hands-on learning approach. The Math through Aviation class — which is taught at a faster pace to incorporate the aviation curriculum — has a higher percentage of students who passed the first semester than parallel math classes, including those taught by the same educators. This semester, the students and educator team engaged with even more local experts and solidified partnerships with related academic institutions. 

In January and February, State Senator Melissa Hurtado visited Woodlake High School to review the program. Alanna Kuhn from the California Aeronautical University in Bakersfield presented to the Math for Aviation students regarding the university and career options in aviation. And Lieutenant Commander Bluhm, military aviator at the Lemoore Naval Air Station, spoke to the Aviation Pathway students regarding his experience and pipelines to become an aviator. 

In March and April, John Johnson — Reedley College Flight Science Program Coordinator — guided the Math for Aviation class through a flight mission. Students planned the flight course on a map and worked with a copilot to complete the mission. The students also took a field trip to the Reagan Museum where they explored the various exhibits and toured Air Force One. The aviation-themed visit provided an opportunity for students to walk through the historic presidential fleet aircraft on loan from the United States Air Force and ask questions of museum curators. Students worked in groups to complete an assignment related to the visit, which also included a tour of the F-117 stealth aircraft and F-14 fighter aircraft, and developed an understanding of the importance of aviation to the executive branch of government.  


In partnership with Reedley College, the team plans to offer Aviation Fundamentals during the Fall 2022 and Advanced Aviation during the Spring 2023. The classes include: FLGHT 102 Aviation History, FLIGHT 102 Remote Pilot, FLIGHT 103 Careers in Aviation, and a new Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) class designed for Woodlake High School on Basic Electricity and Shop Safety. The AMT class is aimed at incorporating two certifications: OSHA 10 Safety and Snap-On Tools Electrical Multimeter Operations. In each pathway, students will earn a total of three college credits per semester. 

Fall 2021 semester update

Woodlake High School hosted its Career Day in October 2021, featuring guests who spoke to its Math for Aviation students. Dennis Welch, an alumnus of the school, shared his experience as a former military pilot and current captain in Southwest Airlines. Students learned about his journey to becoming a pilot and recommendations for pursuing a career in aviation. Jaime Luque, adjunct professor at Reedley College, also presented to students regarding the Flight Science and Aviation Maintenance Technology programs offered at Reedley College.

Also in October, the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter hosted its Annual Fly for Food event. The community, including Woodlake students, were invited to donate a bag of non-perishable food in exchange for a free flight. The local Woodlake food pantry distributed the food donations for Thanksgiving. Nine students from the Aviation Pathway volunteered to participate and received a free flight.

In November, Woodlake began initial plans to establish a dual enrollment option for the computer course in its Aviation Pathway. Their plans centered around providing hybrid instruction, securing a professor from nearby Reedley College, and providing both an FAA drone pilot certification and an OSHA 10 General Industry card. The following month, representatives from Reedley visited Woodlake to assist the Math for Aviation class with its flight missions.

At the end of the fall 2021 semester, Woodlake’s 28 Math for Aviation students completed a program survey. In the survey, the majority of these students indicated that they plan to attend college after graduating high school. Two-thirds of students (19 of the 28) surveyed are planning to continue the Aviation Pathway next year. Many of those students expressed an interest in more hands-on experience and the opportunity to earn certificates. To address this interest, the team’s leadership is planning an upcoming field trip for the Math for Aviation class.