SystemsGo Training - News Release 2018

 PRESS RELEASE (featuring one of Birdville's own)

 

For Release August 20, 2018

Contact: SystemsGo • 830 997 3567 • info@systemsgo.org

 

36 teachers complete training for high school rocketry program 

Thirty-six teachers in four states completed training this summer for various levels of the SystemsGo rocketry program, according to Rebekah Hyatt, Program Director. Training sessions were held in Roswell NM, Richardson TX, and Fredericksburg TX. Connor Gorman from Birdville Center of Technology attending the training in Richardson. Mr. Gorman has stepped into a thriving Rocketry program at Birdville Independent School District that successfully launched seven Oberth and Tsiolkovsky level rockets in April of 2018.

 

The training was offered to accommodate the rapid growth in the SystemsGo program this year, which added 22 schools and expanded classes within existing schools. SystemsGo is now active in more than 72 high schools in Texas, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah.

 

The training covered all levels of the innovative project-based curriculum that uses rocketry to teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and workplace skills. Some teachers were new to SystemsGo, and some were being trained to teach different levels. The goal is to guide them in “acting like a probe rather than a shovel.”

 

“We introduce them to the teaching philosophy of SystemsGo, then model the stages of learning their students will experience,” said Hyatt. “There is a huge shift in pedagogy. Using Socratic Method of questioning as opposed to giving answers to student questions is quite different for many teachers. Seeing the value of ‘failure’ as a learning opportunity is also quite different. It is best for teachers to experience this first hand so they get a deeper understanding of how it increases accountability and ownership.”

 

The shift in approach is challenging for teachers using it for the first time, said Hyatt, who taught the program for 10 years at Midlothian ISD and Maypearl ISD before joining SystemsGo in 2016. But they embrace it.

 

“After the training, teachers said this was the best and most productive professional development they had ever attended,” Hyatt said. “Several said their teaching philosophies were going to change in all the classes they teach because of this week of training.”

 

With a grant from The Boeing Company, Hyatt has begun revising and updating the curriculum. Over the summer, she brought in current SystemsGo teachers to help revise the Tsiolkovsky Level course, which is being rolled out to schools this fall.

 

SystemsGo was developed at Fredericksburg High School (TX) by Brett Williams in 1996. Using project-based instruction, students’ progress from drafting, CAD, and engineering design, to building and launching rockets. The goal at the Tsiolkovsky Level is for rockets to loft a one-pound payload one mile high. The goal at the Oberth Level is to design and build a vehicle that reaches the speed of sound. Advanced students travel to White Sands Missile Range to attempt to reach 100,000 feet while carrying a scientific payload.

 

Career-wise, a high percentage of SystemsGo students go on to study STEM related fields in college and end up working for organizations such as NASA, the Department of Defense, SpaceX, and other private sector aerospace and engineering firms.

 

Fredericksburg training and curriculum review was supported in part by a grant from The Boeing Company and hosted by the Admiral Nimitz Foundation. Additional teacher training sessions were hosted by Berkner High School in Richardson, TX; Eastern New Mexico University Roswell, Roswell, NM; and Milby High School, Houston, TX.

 

Information on starting a program or supporting the nonprofit organization is available at www.systemsgo.org, 830-997-3567, info@systemsgo.org.

 

PHOTO: Connor Gorman

Connor Gorman