Forty freshmen have been selected to participate in a brand new four-year engineering pathway program that uses a hands-on, STEM-based curriculum at Saugus High School.
The engineering pathway is the first comprehensive engineering program in the Hart School District, according to Saugus High School Principal Bill Bolde. It uses the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) curriculum that engages students in activities, projects, and problem-based learning.
“There are four years and each has its own curriculum,” said engineering teacher Seth Groller. “The first year, Introduction to Engineering Design, focuses on the design process and reverse engineering.”
The curriculum focuses on project-based assignments such as designing paper bridges and toy trains, Groller said. The students will be working collaboratively to brainstorm, research and design in teams.
Students welcomed administrators from the Saugus Union School District, Hart School District, College of the Canyons and Cal State Northridge during a ribbon cutting ceremony for Saugus High’s new Engineering Pathway Center Tuesday morning. A K-16 engineering consortium partnership with Emblem Academy, West Creek Academy, Arroyo Seco Junior High School, Saugus High School, College of the Canyons, and Cal State Northridge has been formed.
They demonstrated new computer aided design (CAD) software they’re using to virtually design and engineer projects in 3-D.
“I hope to get a degree in aerospace engineering,” said Danny Hernandez, an engineering pathway student, “Creating airplanes and rockets is something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Hernandez said he believes the engineering pathway program at Saugus High will help him achieve his goal.
“The whole idea of project-based learning and exposing these students to the engineering field is crucial in order to help fill the gap between the number of engineering jobs that will be available in the future and the number of qualified people available to fill those positions,” Groller said.
The pathway program is funded by an i3 federal grant through NextEd.
The students, 16 females and 24 males, were randomly selected from a pool of 88 interested students during their eighth grade year at Arroyo Seco Junior High School.
In their senior year, the students will be involved in a project-based class that involves a community-based project, said Bolde.
“They will be working with our business partners, they’ll be involved in apprenticeships, job shadowing, internships and will be mentored by professionals in the industry.”
“This is a true pathway that will lead them into colleges,” Bolde said. “Cal State Northdirge is already waiting for them. Depending on how well they do, they may be getting calls from some of the other big engineering colleges across the country.”