The Antelope Valley Union High School District (AVUHSD) is proud to see continued growth in its STEM-focused Career Technical Education (CTE) programs across all high schools in the district. These programs provide students skills that can be transferred across any industry sector.
Among several new programs begun in the AVUHSD this year, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has chartered “SWENext” clubs at Antelope Valley and Highland High Schools, which involve young women in STEM workshops with female engineer mentors. Many students within the district and region overall were also able to attend the SWE Convention in Anaheim in early November to gain further college and career direction.
Additionally, Chapter 661 of the Medical Explorers, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, continues to thrive, with numerous students at Eastside High and other sites. Exploring is a career education program for students between 14 and 20-years-old. Kaiser’s Antelope Valley physicians and employees volunteer their time to provide real-world career experiences for the explorers and help them gain practical knowledge in the medical field through a variety of activities. As a youth-led program, students organize monthly meetings including hands-on learning presentations, a tour of the Kaiser Permanente Antelope Valley Medical Offices and Kaiser Permanente Regional Lab, community service projects, CPR training, and a final educational field trip.
Ten student teams from Antelope Valley, Eastside, Lancaster, Palmdale, Quartz Hill and Knight High Schools, plus Eagle Robotics Team 399, are slated to compete in the Aerospace Robotics Competition in the spring of 2020, hosted by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Palmdale. The goal of this year-long, mentored design-build activity is to “create a relevant, challenging, and exciting high school competition . . . involving autonomous and semi-autonomous drones (quadcopters), . . . utilizing basic aerospace principles in a hands-on flight environment.” (Lockheed Martin ARC Briefing) Drone and robotics courses offered at school sites across the AVUHSD will support this effort.
Academies of the Antelope Valley’s online high school component, the Virtual Academy, in its Information Technology pathway, has embarked upon efforts to support the national initiative for a secure nation by increasing awareness and opportunities in cybersecurity. New courses leading to industry certifications in the CompTIA A+ (computer repair) and CompTIA Network+ (network administrator) are offered to students with the potential for hire into IT careers out of high school, as well as more advanced training in the field (Security+ will be offered in 2020-2021 school year). In addition, working as a partnership with Antelope Valley College and the Air Force Research Lab at Edwards Air Force Base, the AV CyberHub was created as a centralized location for the greater Antelope Valley where students will be exposed monthly to all things cybersecurity from training, courses, competitions, professional mentors, and field trips. These efforts have resulted in an increased Antelope Valley presence in CyberPatriot competitions.
The Academies of the Antelope Valley has also been selected as one of only 25 schools nationally as a Fellow for the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) to develop and implement competitive video games as the next tool for academic and STEM learning. The pilot will be implemented within the Academy Prep Junior High Schools at SOAR Prep and Palmdale Prep through a grant from the Air Force Research Lab’s ENSIPRE program. NASEF partners with UC Irvine; there are over 20 colleges nationally with eSports scholarship programs, and eSports has a global audience estimated to be larger than that of the Super Bowl.
Ninth grade future engineers at Antelope Valley High School’s Engineering Academy built scale models of collapsible green houses to be sent to Mars. The premise is that, in order to inhabit the Red Planet sometime in the future, there needs to be a food source to feed the inhabitants. This project required to students to ”think outside the box” and innovate ideas for food sources from another planet.
The Eastside High School Biomedical Science Academy was only one of 12 schools in the nation to achieve Gold Certification status from the Linked Learning Alliance. Linked Learning is an approach to educational reform that combines rigorous academics, demanding career and technical education, realworld experience, and integrated student supports. Currently, there are more than 600 registered Linked Learning pathways nationwide, that serve over 250, 000, and Eastside is proud to be Gold Certified. The Biomedical Science Academy students are able to take certification exams in various areas of the health field while in high school. Many of the students become CPR certified and get to work on the field during sports games as part of the Sports Medicine program. The Academy’s short-term goal for the near future is to continue to grow the Sports Medicine program, and maintain the premier goal of preparing students for success in both college and career.
Similarly, Lancaster High School’s Multimedia and Engineering Academy is the other Antelope Valley school, again of only 12 schools in the nation, to receive Linked Learning Gold Certification. This is the highest level of certification available to Linked Learning programs. The outstanding accomplishment of these two AVUHSD academies was celebrated at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in October, attended by numerous civic and community leaders.
Likewise, at the Multimedia and Engineering Academy, students are working collaboratively with others for realworld solutions to real-world problems. These collaborative efforts are not only of students within a single classroom, but also of students from other classrooms working with teachers across the campus. This experience echoes current workforce situations where teams work together to achieve common goals, and reinforces the AVUHSD’s district-wide focus of preparing students for college, career and life. For the second year, 12th grade students provided evidence of their learning through Senior Defense presentations, with panels of teachers and community members presiding and providing feedback.
In October, teams from Knight High School traveled to Queensland, Australia for their sixth visit to the UAV Challenge. Teams use an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to deliver an Epipen with a monitor to measure impact pressure as close as possible to “Outback Joe” (a simulated lost hiker, suffering a medical emergency) to treat his anaphylaxis immediately while medical aid travels to reach him. The competition also includes a technical report and an oral presentation, followed by questioning from industry judges. Once again, students from Knight High School took first place in this competition, making them the top team in three of the last four years. This year’s winning team, The Mojave Hawks, piloted and engineered by Oscar Orellano and Matt Soto, both KHS seniors, earned the exciting victory by a margin of only half a point. Students from Palmdale High School, SOAR High School, Littlerock High School, and Lancaster High School also competed in this year’s Challenge.
Knight High is also home to the first-ever high school composites lab, which had a ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening in August. Courses offered in this facility continue to supply students with foundational skills feeding into local postsecondary training and industry jobs.
Over the last year there have been several changes and positive growth within the Sustainable Agriculture Academy at Littlerock High School. Celebrating 30 years of service to agriculture students and the community last spring, students travelled to competitions and FFA events from Anaheim to Half Moon Bay, including competing in Forestry, Public Speaking, Creed, Job Interview and Leadership Development. The Littlerock Chapter of FFA was again recognized as a 2-Star National FFA chapter by the National Organization, a recognition that goes to less than 5% of chapters nationally. Junior Maria Corona was elected to serve on the High Desert Section FFA officer team.
Finally, Quartz Hill, along with Eastside High School, have added new Linked Learning academies on their campuses. In the QHTV Academy at Quartz Hill High School, students learn to utilize a myriad of technologies and numerous industrial disciplines, working together to achieve a greater goal of full, professional quality productions, along with their core education. Following the Linked Learning approach, the academy emphasizes leadership and teamwork in a multicultural, multi-disciplinary atmosphere.
The Antelope Valley Union High School District’s vision is that every student who graduates will be prepared to pursue college and any career to which he or she aspires. For more information on our programs and activities, visit AVDistrict.org