AET Arrives at Tuscarora

AET Arrives at Tuscarora

By Anya Sczerzenie

A new STEM program, known as the Academy of Engineering and Technology, has established itself at Tuscarora for the 2016-2017 school year. This program, which is usually abbreviated as AET, is similar to the Academy of Science (AOS) in that students from various schools in the county apply in eighth grade; starting the program in their freshman year. Application to AET is selective; out of 700 students who applied for AOS, only 150 were accepted. Since the program is brand-new, all of the 150 students this year are freshmen.

The students spend every other day at AET, which is headquartered in the L400 wing of Tuscarora, following one of three educational pathways: Information Technology, Engineering, or Entrepreneurship. AET students must commit to at least 2 years of study in the program as a freshman and sophomore. After these two years are completed, an AET student can choose whether or not to remain in the program and pursue additional pathways.

Students in AET are educated in subjects related the track they select– all three of which are equally popular within the program. Their classes are taught through mostly project-based learning; from science labs for those on the engineering track to coding projects for the IT students. “Each of the different pathways will have an overarching project that will be ‘due’ at the end of the year,” said Dr. Gregory Gallagher, the teacher of AET’s Integrated Science 1 course.

Although students in the AET program also learn regular subjects such as physics, chemistry, and math, the way they are taught is different than in an ordinary classroom. “This program is a little different from AOS because it’s geared towards business” said Mr. John Chapin, who teaches information technology and math to AET students. “AOS trains students to be researchers, and AET tries to mimic the work world as much as possible. What we do is less about telling students how to do something, and more about giving them the tools they need to get where they want to go.”