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“Invest in your future.” Volume 4 Number 3 April 2012

Houston Innovative Learning Zone Partnership with HCC New Programs at Furr, Kashmere, Long, Scarborough, Sterling, Washington Campuses


he Houston Innovative Learning Zone (HILZ) schools is a direct response to frequent requests from students and the Houston community at large for HISD to bolster its portfolio of Career and Technology Education offerings. The number of industry certificates earned by HISD students reached 15,160 in 2010-2011. This is nearly four times the number of certificates awarded to HISD students a year earlier, when 3,881 were issued. HISD intends to build on this progress as the district seeks to offer a broad array of programs that are proven to draw the interest of students, including those who may be at risk of dropping out of school. “As I visited with parents, students, and others across HISD during last fall’s series of Community Conversations, we heard loud and clear that our students want more opportunities to learn real world job skills that prepare them for rewarding careers right out of high school,” said Superintendent Terry Grier. “The Houston Innovative Learning Zone campuses will meet this demand with programs that lead to high-paying jobs in some of Houston’s most promising industries.” Students who successfully complete the four-year program will graduate high school with an associate’s degree and valuable industry credentials that lead to rewarding careers in high-growth technical fields. Just as importantly, Houston Community College credits earned by HILZ graduates will transfer to any public Texas university, leaving them well prepared to thrive in a four-year college if they choose to forego an immediate career. Working in partnership with the Houston Community College System, HISD will open the six new HILZ academies in time for the 2012-2013 school year. In addition to taking the standard core courses required of all high school students, HILZ students will take courses taught by college professors using a blend of face-to-face and online instruction. Each HILZ school will offer a technology-rich college atmosphere. In addition, these schools will aggressively pursue partnerships with businesses that match their instructional themes. “Students shouldn’t have to choose between the Career and Technology Education track and the college track,” Grier said. “HILZ graduates will leave HISD ready to pursue any interest they desire.” Message from our Director

The Houston Innovative Learning Zone (HILZ) campuses will present a tremendous opportunity for students and goes a long way towards addressing critical needs within our community. We are currently gearing up to open the six HILZ schools in August. Houston Independent School District

The six HILZ schools are: • The School of Electronic Engineering at Furr • The School for Process Technology at Kashmere • The School for Pharmacy Technology at Long • The School for Network & Computer Administration at Scarborough • The School of Logistics and Global Supply at Sterling • The School of Manufacturing Engineering at Washington Reprinted from HISD News For More Information and Applications, please visit: In this issue, we will continue our emphasis on specific career pathways that we offer. Our focus in this issue will cover Architecture, Construction, Manufacturing, STEM, Automotive, and Aviation. We will highlight some of the many success stories around

the district from our teachers and students.

Rosena Garcia

• • April 2012  

2012 Board of Education

Inside This Issue… Table of Contents Mobile Learning Showcase Page 2 Engineering Partners & Mentor Page 3 Apprenticeships Page 4

Michael Lunceford, President Anna Eastman, First Vice President Juliet Stipeche, Second Vice President Rhonda Skillern-Jones, Secretary Greg Meyers, Assistant Secretary Paula Harris Lawrence Marshall Harvin C. Moore Manuel Rodriguez, Jr. Terry B. Grier, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

IPAA PetroChallenge Page 4 CREW Partners at Jordan Page 5 Rice mentor Chavez Engineering Students Page 6 Practical Engineering at Davis Page 6 Mechanical Engineering at Hogg MS Page 7 Robotics & Engnieering at Jones Page 7 Automotive Program News Page 8 Aviation & Maritime Program News Page 9

Mobile Learning Showcased at Austin HS

Engineering Program News Page 10 -11

Catherine Smith


CTEHonorRoll A newsletter of the Career and Technical Education Department Editor: Rufus Chaney Contact: 713-556-6994 email:

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tudents enrolled in Business Information Management for dual credit under Catherine Smith were recently showcased at Houston Community College’s (HCC) Mobile Learning Symposium. Smith and her group have continued to pioneer new ways of integrating technology into the classroom that drives learning and retention. Ms. Smith introduced mobile learning through the Apple iPad to her students last year and has built a set of customized instructional podcasts around mastering Microsoft Office. This year their iPads have access to a full version of the latest Microsoft Office software suite via HCC’s cloud computing environment. In combination with the Microsoft Mobile Instructional Apps, the enhancement to classroom instruction has been a great success. The students are engaged, grades have improved, and many have been successful at becoming Microsoft Certified Associates. At the Mobile Learning Symposium, Ms. Smith gave a presentation on the

implementation of her initiatives at Austin which included CTE Curriculum integration of mobile learning and core content for differentiated instruction. Video of the presentation was produced by Carlos Aguilar, Austin HS Video Technology Instructor and his student film crew and may be accessed below.


• Houston Independent School District •

CTE Community Partners Engineering Partners


artnerships are a key element of effective STEM education. The CTE Department collaborates with business and industry, higher education, and a range of community-based organizations to provide students with unique opportunities to see STEM in action and experiences that help them understand that learning about STEM is interesting, relevant, and achievable. Partners, school leaders and teachers collaborate to shape experiences within and outside of the classroom, providing exposure to and experiences with STEM applications, STEMfocused careers, and the skills necessary to succeed in the future. Members from the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering serve on the CTE Advisory Board and continue to work with HISD on many opportunities. Their Trailblazer is a 40-foot exhibit trailer that houses a variety of engineering and science exhibits targeted at students in grades 3 to 7. The Trailblazer is the only interactive science and engineering museum-on-wheels in Texas. As it travels across the state, the Trailblazer engages students, teachers and parents through hands-on activities and exhibits that highlight fundamental concepts in science and engineering. Trained volunteers provide explanations and demonstrations of all the exhibits. Since all the exhibits are mapped to specific science TEKS for grades 3 to 7, teachers can easily incorporate the exhibits into their lesson plans and provide students with an opportunity to go on an in-school field trip. Take-away material is provided for both teachers and students to sustain students’ interest in science and engineering after the Trailblazer visits. Most recently, the group visited Young Men’s College Preparatory Academy at E. O. Smith. Young Men’s College Prep Academy students won seven awards at the regional

Science, Engineering, Communication and Math Enhancement (SECME) contest held at Revere MS on Feb. 25, including first and third place in the Mousetrap Car competition and second place in the banner design contest. The school will now represent HISD at the national competition in June. SECME works with HISD to help improve student achievement and postsecondary access to industry partners or college. Each year SECME identifies science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities to improve minority student performance and outcomes in the form of competitions with a special emphasis on engineering design concepts. SECME assigns a Master Mentor to each teacher that continues contact and support throughout the school year. Participating HISD campuses are Energized for Stem Academy West, Stevenson Middle School, Clifton Middle School, Holland Middle School, Young Men’s College Prep School, Ryan Middle school, Attucks Middle school, Paul Revere Middle School, Worthing High School, East Early College, Jordan High School, Waltrip High School, DeVry Advantage Academy, and Scarborough High School. Lori Dunklin, science teacher at DeVry Advantage Academy is the HISD SECME District Coordinator. They have held three competitive events this semester. • January 28 – Bottle Rocket, Bridge, Egg Drop and Rocket Car • February 25 – GCTAME Math/Science Competition and Career Day, Mousetrap Car, Banner, and Essay • March 31 – Lego and Vex Robotics

Houston Independent School District

Mentoring Students


CE Houston is working with groups of engineering students from East Early College, Wheatley, Eastwood Academy, Stephen F. Austin, and YES Prep High Schools to give them the opportunity to experience real-world engineering projects. The photo at the bottom is of some of the students from Wheatley involved in an egg drop activity, where they worked as a team to create a device that would slow an egg dropped from a certain height enough so that it didn’t break the egg. The students were divided into six groups and each group worked on a different project that they received as a proposal. They went through the rigorous interview process in order to be awarded the project for their firm. The projects include a sustainable parking garage, a waterfront park, a bed and breakfast, an inn for families of sick children located in the medical center, an art car museum, and an Apple store. The students created floor plans and elevations of their buildings, a site plan, construction schedule and budget, engineering framing plans and an interior layout of at least one room in the building. There are mentors from several architectural, engineering, and construction firms near the downtown area. The group meets every other Wednesday at 5pm in the Walter P Moore office. ACE Houston is a group of Houston-area professionals who are interested in sharing what it means to work in the fields of architecture, construction, and engineering.

• • April 2012 CTEHonorRoll   3 

CTE Community Partners Apprenticeships Building Strong Work Skills TIKI CHENIER, CTE Staff


pprenticeships, internships, and other employment opportunities continue to be an important area of instruction and career development for our students. It is one of the oldest methods of career preparation. We work to build the bridge with employers towards developing opportunities for students. Additionally, employers tell us about skill sets required for entry-level careers options and further advancement. It is a means by which employers address current and projected employment needs. Currently, students have an array of opportunities that will assist them with practicing the skill sets needed for the world of employment. Our business partners include Genesys Works Houston, ACE Mentorship, area automotive dealers and independents and local trade unions. The work is progressive, in that the goal is to have an employer available for every student in their eleventh and twelfth grade year.

Students on assignment with Genesys Works have opportunities in the engineering drafting area that include utilizing AutoCAD, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to assist with pipelines, adding new or missing pipelines to schematics, plot and sort drawings, as well as create and manage layouts, viewports, and page setups. The ACE Mentoring program assigns students to architectural, construction, and engineering firms such as Bechtel and Turner Construction. This school year, students assigned to Turner Construction are working on projects ranging from the revitalization of a community park to the Renovation of the Astrodome. Jason Ponce, one of the project managers at Turner Construction, stated that the students have been working on the drawings, surveying, and wall structure. Students participating in the ACE Houston have a culmination project at the end of the school year and also have the opportunity to compete for scholarships.

Jessica Martinez


essica Martinez, a 2011 graduate of Scarborough’s Architecture Program, received a $1,000 scholarship from ACE Houston last spring. She joined the program as a junior and continued through her senior year. Because of her dedication and hard work, she also received an internship with one of the top construction companies in Texas (Turner Construction Company). She is now attending the University of Houston majoring in architecture and Turner Construction Company has agreed to reimburse her for all tuition fees once she comes on board full-time with the company. Jessica chose Scarborough because of its architectural magnet program and it truly paid off. She graduated fourth in her class and received several scholarships.

Students become Oil & Gas Explorers at IPAA/HISD PetroChallenge


estside Petroleum Academy student Malik Willis admits he was a little overwhelmed during the first day of competition at the IPAA PetroChallenge. However, once he and his two teammates got acclimated, it was full steam ahead. “It was a team challenge, so we had to get to know each other first and discover each other’s strengths and abilities,” Willis said. The high school sophomore and his teammates ended up taking first place at the fourth annual competition, which was held at Westside High School Jan. 18–20. The culmination of the three-day event was a computer simulation exercise in which teams of Petroleum Academy students from Westside, Milby, and Lamar high schools competed to form oil and gas companies. This year, students from Forth Worth ISD’s Southwest High School were added to the mix. “We scrambled the teams up so it was a fabulous opportunity for students to work with others they had never met before,” said Anne Ford, Associate Director for the Independent

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Petroleum Association of America (IPPA). “We wanted it to be just like the real world where you have to work collaboratively with people from other backgrounds and other disciplines.” First place team shown at right: Westside HS students Malik Willis (left) and Taylor Gladney (right) placed first at the 2012 PetroChallenge with the help of teammate Taahir Shaikh, who hails from Southwest HS in Fort Worth ISD.

Portions reprinted from HISD News

(L-R) - Anthony Bonett(Westide HS), Kayce Coomer (Southwest), Jonathan Brown(Southwest), Celina Mejia(Milby HS) at a break-point in the contest.

• Houston Independent School District •

CREW Houston Partners with Barbara Jordan to Kick-start Girls’ Career Paths and Become ‘Developers for a Day’


ommercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Houston partnered with Barbara Jordan High School for Careers to provide girls a half day of hands-on real estate development experience. The February 3 program was a part of the CREW Careers initiative to expose girls between 14 and 18 years old to careers in commercial real estate. The event included 82 female students, 40 CREW Houston members and several teachers. CREW Houston members first talked with the girls about the different career paths and job descriptions in commercial real estate. The girls then split into eight groups to plan the redevelopment of a Buffalo Bayou Partnership site east of downtown, off N. York Street near Tony Marron Park. CREW Houston members advised each team on all issues a developer must consider, such as regulatory requirements, financing, demographics, design and construction, and leasing. Each group then presented their proposal to a team of judges representing different CREW entities and Buffalo Bayou Partnership. “Events like this have a profound impact on our students,” noted BJHS Principal Andria Schur. “Our students don’t get many opportunities to interact with working professionals on ‘real life’ projects. The students aren’t aware of the immense number of potential career paths. Many of the girls who attended this event don’t have accomplished women in their lives, and will be first generation college students. The CREW event showed them what is possible with the right skill set.” Buffalo Bayou Partnership eagerly awaited the redevelopment proposals for its site along Buffalo Bayou, east of downtown. Each prospective development team presented solid presentations outlining their recommended

uses, demographic considerations, income producing potential, environmental concerns, and applicable legal restrictions. The winning proposal was from Team Innovation for a mixed-use development with multifamily, retail, a clinic and a park, and it was submitted by high school students from HISD Barbara Jordan High School for Careers. Judges reviewed each team on their consideration of physical site features in the mock development, incorporation of real estate knowledge into the plan and presentation, effective responses to questions, professionalism in presentation, and overall teamwork. Judges ranked the winning team high for proficiently speaking on each topic, clear project graphics, and proper use of real estate terminology. The event not only gave the high school students a hands-on learning opportunity, it also brought the CREW mission full circle. “It was exciting to see the girls’ presentations come together – their enthusiasm, knowledge, interest – when working within their individual teams and when the other teams presented. I believe the girls were excited, too, and I think they learned something from the experience,” according to Cortney Cole, CREW Houston President. “CREW is a unique networking organization; our members represent all disciplines of design and development, so we are able to complete a real estate transaction from start to finish within our membership. CREW Careers is the epitome of this.” CREW Careers Program Partner Perkins Coie sponsored the event. CREW Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the national CREW Network, also donated financial support. The 40 CREW members at the event each volunteered a half day of their time to lead the small group planning sessions. The winning team (below) demonstrated creativity in their proposed development and a unified team presentation.

Houston Independent School District

Developing Architects at Scarborough


efore ever touching their computers, Krystal Holmes explains that she requires incoming students with no experience to first draw up a floor plan by hand, to visualize the space on paper. After learning the fundamentals and drawing the visual space, the students are then asked to create clay models of their projects. On some projects, the materials used also include balsa wood. In the advanced classes, the students are required to work with industry-leading software tools such as AutoCAD to render their projects as glorious 3D models.

Holmes working with freshman Luis Sepulveda on refining his drawings.

Joshua Baldwin, a junior, is shown working with his model in AutoCAD. He was brought into the program when a teacher observed him drawing a house plant and encouraged his interest. On the day that I visited the campus, the students were working in AutoCAD on designs for a series dormitory buildings to house incoming students.

A model in balsa wood

• • April 2012 CTEHonorRoll   5 

STEM Program News Chavez Engineering Students Receive Guidance From Rice Engineering Majors PATRICK KURP, Rice News


n true engineering style, Jesus Villanova and his teammates in “Blades of Jesus” started with dowels, folded paper and tape, and after building four prototypes, scrapped them all and turned to a plastic coffee cup. Their problem-solving spirit landed them in second place in the model wind-turbine competition among teams from Chavez High School. The contest, held Thursday at Rice University, was sponsored by DREAM (Designing with Rice Engineers — for Achievement through Mentorship). “I’m interested in flight,” said Villanova, a freshman at Chavez. “A wind turbine works in the same way. It’s about aerodynamics. Someday I’d like to work for NASA, which would be awesome.” DREAM was founded in 2007 to help increase the number of underrepresented minority students earning undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This year, more than 50 Rice engineering undergraduates have worked with students from Chavez, KIPP Academy and Austin High School. Juan (Tony) Castilleja Jr. co-founded DREAM as an undergraduate at Rice with other students and Brent C. Houchens,

assistant professor of mechanical engineering. “These kids are learning by doing,” Castilleja said. “The Rice mentors guide them along the way, answer their questions and give them encouragement, but the kids themselves do the work.” Castilleja earned his bachelor’s degree in 2009 and his master’s this year, both in mechanical engineering at Rice. He worked as an intern at the Boeing Co. in Houston as an undergraduate and now works full time for the company as a commercial crew development rotation engineer. “Boeing is proud to encourage young people to enter the fields of science and engineering and to strive for excellence. Villanova and his teammates Jose Rios, Andres Aguirre and Vu Nguyen worked for eight weeks with their mentor William Martin, a junior in mechanical engineering. Their engineering design teacher at Chavez, James Moore said, “It’s like these mentors turn on a light for the kids. They make it so the students want to succeed. They want to be all that they can be.” When Castilleja accepted the checks and a ceremonial cup from Boeing, he told the Chavez students, “You see what can happen? You see what you can do? Go to college. It’s your ticket.”

Tony Castilleja guides Chavez students Ashley Dominguez and Alejandra Moz as they work on their engineering challenge.

A team of Chavez students discusses its entry in a model wind-turbine competition sponsored by DREAM. L-R: Jessica Magdaleno, Raymundo Salas, Tien Ho, Juan Ibarra

Students Learning Practical Engineering Designs at Davis High School Maria Garner


aria Garner and the Davis High School Engineering students have been working on several projects to help improve the campus and their community in an environmentally sustainable way. As a part of the projects, the students have been asked to document and share their progress through the use of an online Wiki for Davis Engineering students. Shown at right are two team projects; the first being a community rest bench and the second focused on learning the engineering of bike design.

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• Houston Independent School District •

Students Learn the Mechanics of Mechanical Engineering at Hogg Middle School Ashley Odom


tudents enrolled in STEM programs at Hogg Middle School have tackled a number of projects this year. The campus is taking part in a new innovative curriculum that includes an online learning management system and a package of high impact industry software tools. The “Long Distance Flyer” Project allowed the students to learn about aviation from its beginning stages with inventors such as the Wright Brothers and pilots such as Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. The goal of the project was that students would learn important aircraft design considerations and how engineers must iterate their designs to achieve success. The sixth graders learned of lighter than air vehicles and seventh graders worked on rocketry. Additionally, the students learned of the forces that act upon the mechanics of flight and were able to perform tasks such as measuring distances, sketching and drawing conclusion from those forces that impacted the models. The eighth graders focused on mechanical engineering used during the Middle Ages. The group’s methodology was to reverse engineer the siege machines, catapults and trebuchets used as weapons by medieval Europe. Students created and constructed their own design of weapons while working in groups using everyday household items. After each launch, students were able to make modifications to their design with the intention of making their catapult launch farther than it had before. Students also engaged in a competition among each other to see which catapult would be the most successful. After working with catapults, students were responsible for making miniature trebuchets. Each group divided up the tasks that would have to be executed to make their device. Once the trebuchets were created, students were able to formulate hypotheses of how the projectile and trajectory of their trebuchets would be affected by having different size loads. Students were also able to interpret the data that was gained from each groups’ launches which tied into the mathematics portion of STEM. Photos of students working on their projects are shown at right.

Houston Independent School District

Robotics at Jones HS Ivory Montgomery


ike Hogg MS, the first-year engineering students at Jones High School are also participating in a new innovative curriculum from the STEM Academy. The class robotics project required that each team of students be able to assemble and disassemble their robots to ensure understanding. The students’ efforts produced devices with a wide range of capabilities from forward/ reverse motion, sensor recognition and reaction, to voice-control. The Lego robotics enable students to discover STEM in a fun, engaging, hands-on way. It allows the students the opportunity to learn by a set of instructions as well as explore personal imagination and expand the boundaries of their minds. The devices created for the project contain a series of sensors which operate on battery and solar energy. The innovative projects expose the students to software programming, the proper method for inventory, roles and responsibilities, and problem-solving.   The STEM Academy is a comprehensive, turnkey program featuring a strong instructor training program. Teachers and students use the same tools utilized by industry professionals in engineering design, civil engineering and architecture, robotics, electronics, material science and bio-technology.

(l-r) Lorena Zuniga, Mayra Villeda-Gonzales, Lamone Knight

(l-r) Estefania Silva, Xavier Villareal, Victoria Orosco

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Automotive Program News Reagan Automotive Technology Students Finding Inspiration in Design Alan Hughes


utoRama, the world of custom wheels was held at the George R Brown Convention Center in November. Alan Hughes and Leonard Preston took their automotive students and their parents to the event. The event was sponsored by the Painthouse Paint and Body Shop. Car owners presented an introductory show on the experiences of building a few of the most fantastic cars in the Houston area. The School for Automotive Machinists introduced the students to the world of NASCAR and NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) and the lucrative fields of employment available such as machinists, pit crew members, transport drivers, research and development, parts managers, and broadcaster. There is a high demand for knowledgeable, trained and dedicated employees, with clean records and there are not enough workers to fill the demand. In February, the students took a field trip to UTI Technical Automotive School as a part of their introduction to post-secondary options. They toured the entire facility: automotive mechanical repair, collision repair and paint, diesel repair, engine performance and hot rod. They were able to see the Grave Digger Monster truck and visit with the driver. Students are able to command a much higher salary with additional post-secondary training. Leonard Preston recently attended the graduation of one of their students, Omar Saldana, from UTI Automotive School. In March, the students were taken to the drag races at the Royal Purple Race Track in Baytown. The US Army sponsored the event. Special speakers from the Army, the drivers, and the race track talked to the students about following their dreams, career goals and taking the important steps to make them happen. Students were able to go down into the pits, sit in the cars, and talk with the drivers. They also had the opportunity to see the dragsters being worked on and prepared for the races. Photos from the trips are shown at right. 8  CTE HonorRoll

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Mr. Hughes reports that 34 of students have received their NATEF Brake Certification and 9 have received their NATEF Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Certification.

Advanced Automotive Technology in Session at Sam Houston Breaking down an engine block during class

Family Night at Westbury for Automotive Students Robert Lyle


n December, the Westbury High School Transportation Department held its annual Family night. Sponsors and business partners in attendance included Momentum BMW, Classic Chevrolet, Automotive Youth Education Service (AYES), and more. Robert Lyle and his partners had face-time with parents and students over dinner to discuss their

interest in automotives. Mr. Lyle also did a presentation regarding expectations of the students.

• Houston Independent School District •

Aviation & Maritime Program News Sterling Students Flying High

George Smith, solo flight

Jesse Soto, solo flight

Samica Knight, ABC13, KTRK-TV


ake to the skies with the Flying Tigers. They’re students at Sterling High School. This year’s program has put out the largest number of high school solo pilots ever. It’s the only program of its kind in the state, and for these students, it’s life changing. At 17 years old, high schoolers George Smith, James Bunch and Christian Moreno are flying high and living a dream. They are among 40 other students who are a part of Sterling High School’s Aviation Sciences Magnet Program, which trains future pilots and others in the aviation industry. But those three students, and another two, are -let’s just say -- flying above the rest, as they have now taken to the skies, solo. “Everything was racing through my head, everything. My parents were crying, my instructor was proud,” Bunch said. “It was just like a dream come true, it was a very exhilarating moment,” Smith said.

Diajine Woodford, solo flight

“I felt like I am capable of doing everything,” Moreno said. Not to worry, because by the time they reach the cockpit of the Grumman Cheetah single-engine plane, they’ve had hours upon hours of classroom training, intense math and science from instructors at Flying Tigers Flight School. “A great deal of science is involved with aerodynamics and with the systems on the plane,” flight instructor Warren Benson said. The training usually costs thousands. “Generally to get a private pilot license is going to cost between $6,000 and $8,000,” Benson said. For Sterling students, it is free of charge. For these students it’s about much more than flying solo; it’s about an opportunity that has already changed their lives. “No matter what obstacle that lies ahead of you, between getting from point A to point B in aviation, just stick with it and push hard for it,” Smith said. Many of the students begin their training

James Bunch, solo flight

in the ninth grade. For many of the students, like Smith, by the time they finish the program, they will likely have their private pilot’s license. George took his first solo flight in November and received his pilot license in January. “Flying is expensive,” Smith said. “When I was looking for an aviation program and I found Sterling, I was like wow! When you get free flight training, that’s just great. There are many who are disadvantaged and can’t pay $8000 for flight training.” Another advantage, Smith said is the ability to study aviation while in high school, allowing students to go straight into their choice of career. But he warned that before you can fly, you must go through tough training and studies. Student Solo Flights: • George Smith • Diajine Woodford • James Bunch • Jesse Soto Related article:

Maritime Teachers Complete Rigorous Industry Certification


ichael McGrath, Cameron Yarberry (Austin HS) and Linda Clary (Yates HS) completed the rigorous industry certification of Certified Logistics Associate (CLA). They were also able to complete the mid-level Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) Certification. The credentials enable them to develop the same skills in their students and act proctors in the administration of the certification exams when the students are ready.

(l-r) In the team effort, Michael and Cameron (Austin HS) are joined by LaRue Ellis and Tiki Chenier, Curriculum Specialists. Linda Clary (Yates HS) not shown.

Houston Independent School District

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Engineering Program News Games Robots Play

Robotics at Washington HS

Stephanie Witherspoon


n November 12, 2011, 15 HISD schools brought together 36 teams of students to participate in the 2nd Games Robots Play Educational Robotics Challenge. The challenge took place at Hamilton Middle School and comprised grades 4 through 8. This is an original robotics challenge created by Hamilton Middle School robotics instructor, Stephanie “Spoony” Witherspoon, and her robotics students. Games Robots Play is a new concept that Hamilton is calling a real time robotics challenge. Students arrived on the day of the challenge with their supplies for building and programming their robots. After registration there was a mission briefing where the teams were given the rules of each game for the first time; teams were given some hints prior to the day of the challenge but were not given the rules until the day of the challenge. After the briefing, the teams had three hours to build and program their robots to autonomously play each of the four games. This is a great challenge for busy teachers and robotics coaches because there is no preparation before the challenge; just bring your materials and let the games begin. This year’s games included a maze, golf, fishing, and T-ball; the games change each year to keep the challenge fresh and the teams guessing. After lunch the teams ran their robots in two rounds of competition where their robots were judged on their ability to score points, the top teams in each game earned certificates at the end of the day. Throughout the challenge, special awards judges walked about observing and talking to teams. The judges were looking for traits that make a great robotics student or team and at the end of the day they gave out many awards. One of the unique aspects of the Games Robots Play challenge is that teams are encouraged to ask for help and suggestions. A spring replay is planned for this year’s games. For additional information, please contact Stephanie Witherspoon at swithers@

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Washington HS has also implemented the new innovation curriculum from The STEM Academy this year. Below are images from Siu Yeung’s Engineering classes.

Siu Yeung working with his students on mechanical designs.

12th grade Magnet students

(l-r) Mikel Williams, Allyssa Ginger and Keilyn Fernandez Paz

• Houston Independent School District •

Engineering Best Professional Learning Communities (PLC) Practices at Waltrip HS iki Chenier has fostered a collaborative culture within the career clusters that is focused


Richard Lipham


ichard Lipham, engineering and robotics instructor at Waltrip High School, recently teamed with the MATE Center to introduce other teachers and students to the MATE ROV Engineering Competitions and to share ‘best practices’ related to engineering robotics. Each participant received several hundred dollars worth of equipment and supplies. During the workshop they were able to build a tether and base ROV. This proved to be a very productive team effort. The Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center coordinates an international student ROV competition and a network of 20 regional ROV contests throughout the year. In addition to being fun and educational, these competitions connect students and educators with employers and working professionals from marine industries, highlight marine-related career opportunities, and promote the development of technical, problem solving, critical thinking, and teamwork skills. See » Workshop Photo Page

on and committed to the learning of each student. I have observed a number of meetings throughout the year that have been focused on best practices and improving teacher effectiveness.

Teachers from the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics PLC discussing curriculum and best practices. Above (l-r) are Alan Hughes and Preston Smith (Reagan Automotive team), E L Jenkins (Davis Automotive), Robert Smith III (Sterling Aviation), and Tiki Chenier. Shown below are combined PLCs from STEM and Architecture. Krystal Holmes, Architecture instructor at Scarborough HS is delivering training to her peers on the use of AutoCAD software in classroom instruction.

• Advanced Welding and Cabinet Making at Lee HS Alberto Urbina


tudents from the Advanced Welding and Cabinet making classes did well at the BEST (boosting engineering, science, and technology) Robotics Competitions held at Reagan High School. The students’ hard work, dedication, and imaginative design really impressed the engineering judges. The team from Lee High School was awarded the Best Engineered Design Robot. The experience of designing and constructing the robot enabled the students to better understand how their math and advance technical classes are applied in real-life applications. In January the students also competed in a welding contest and tour of Wharton County Jr. College. The students placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, with one student winning his own welding machine. In February the team scored more wins at competitions held at San Jacinto

Houston Independent School District

College-North Campus. The Houston area is one of the most competitive and rewarding areas for the welding industry because of the local demand (petro-chemical) for qualified skilled workers.

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Presorted First-Class Mail US Postage PAID Houston, TX Permit No. 5113

Houston Independent School District 4400 West 18th Street Houston, Texas 77092

Science, Technology, focuses on careers in design- involves planning and managing Engineering, Mathematics Aritecture & Construction


ing, planning, managing, building and maintaining the built environment.

the processing of materials into intermediate or final products and related professional and technical support activities such as production planning and control, maintenance and manufacturing/ process engineering.

Schools where offered Austin, Furr, Lamar, Lee, Sam Houston, Scarborough,

Schools where offered Lee, Madison, Milby

involves planning, managing, and providing scientific research and professional and technical services (e.g., physical science, social science, engineering) including laboratory and testing services, and research and development services.

Schools where offered Austin, Chavez, Davis, Furr, Jones, Jordan, Lamar, Madison, Milby, Washington, Waltrip, Westbury, Westside, Wheatley

Tiki Chenier, Curriculum Specialist

Transportation, Distribution, Logistics focuses on careers in the planning, management, and movement of people, materials, and goods by road, pipeline, air, rail, and water and related professional and technical support services such as transportation infrastructure planning and management, logistics services, mobile equipment and facility maintenance.

Schools where offered Austin, Bellaire, Davis, Jordan, Madison, Reagan, Sam Houston, Sterling, Waltrip, Westbury, Wheatley, Yates

March 2011 CTE Honor Roll  

Hoston CTE Newsletter for March 2012

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