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Higley classes spark student interest in engineering

CTE student working with robotics
Higley High School’s engineering program, a satellite program of the East Valley Institute of Technology, offers students the opportunity to gain invaluable hands-on experience.

Students can take three different classes as they move through the program. Honors Introduction to Engineering Design is the first course. It introduces students to engineering design development processes and technological systems. Honors Principal of Engineering is the second course and familiarizes students with the engineering field. Honors Digital Electronics focuses students on electronic circuits and how they control digital signals.

“I think the program is an excellent thing,” Career and Technical Education Coordinator Annette Schmidt said. “This opportunity catches the kids’ interest and creates a passion for learning.”

Honors Digital Electronics teacher Robert Frederick said students have access to tools – such as a wind turbine and a 3-printer, as well as advanced software - that are used in the industry to optimize their learning opportunities. They also develop problem-solving skills that enhance their abilities to innovate and approach problems from different perspectives.  

"Students progress from completing structured activities to solving open-ended projects and problems that require them to use higher-order thinking," Mr. Frederick said.

The engineering program allows students to graduate with a STEM diploma if they complete three years of engineering classes, as well as hold an internship during their senior year.  Additionally, seeking that diploma must take advanced math and science classes.

Students gain vast industry knowledge and are able to practice the applications they learn.