The Palmdale Aerospace Academy opened its doors to the public Aug. 10 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and will open with a total of 540 students on Sept. 5 for grades seventh to ninth.
The charter school is a project-based learning environment and a joint venture between the City of Palmdale, Palmdale School District and AERO Institute.
Headmaster Dr. Laura Herman welcomed guests, aerospace leaders, expectant students and dignitaries as they listened under the shade of a PSOMAS solar panel. James Hankla and Tracy Kwiker of PSOMAS also presented the academy with a $40,000 donation.
“Without the collaboration of generous companies, community leaders, parents, students and volunteers, this could never happen,” said Herman.
With the Antelope Valley’s rich heritage of flight research, historic firsts and fresh explorers, the academy is right at home. “Challenging projects, hands-on activities and collaborative learning will engage student interest and foster student learning,” stated Palmdale School District Superintendent Roger Gallizzi.
Palmdale Mayor and President of the Board of Directors of Aerospace Academy, Jim Ledford said the school will launch students for the rest of their lives.
“I think it is an awesome example of what we can do when we work together.” With the high-tech, very desirable industry that is indigenous to the community,” he said. “Some communities would do whatever they were asked to have the partnership that we have with Edwards Air Force Base and Plant 42.”
Ledford asked that the community participate and find ways to continue to build a partner base that is second to none. “People around the world are in awe of what we do here every day.” Ledford also thanked Kevin Peterson, Steve Miller and Kim Shaw for their innovation in building the academy.
Northrop Grumman donated three models to the academy.
“We are hoping these models will inspire students,” said Mike Jones, Northrop Grumman deputy site manager at Palmdale. With large, new aerospace projects in the workings, Jones said young engineers could spend their entire career on one program.
“Along with the Air Force we are here for the long run and very proactive in promoting education,” said Mike O’Keefe, Northrop Grumman site manager for Manufacturing and Engineering.
Students will explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics in creative ways to learn real-world relevance to education while sparking their imagination.
The Palmdale Aerospace Academy is at 38060 20th Street East, Palmdale, CA 93550. For more information, call (661) 273-3680.