Tango Flight, a high school program in which students build and fly an aircraft, is looking to expand to more high schools this year, and the Greene Technology Center could be one of the new sites.
“Yes, we build a real airplane,” Tango Flight President Daniel Weyant told the Joint Board of Education, which includes members of both the Greene County and Greeneville City school boards to oversee the technology center, during its meeting Thursday evening.
Weyant attended Thursday’s meeting to give a presentation on the program.
“We are an educational nonprofit company created to inspire the next engineers, pilots, aviation mechanics and technicians,” Weyant told the board.
Weyant and co-founder Randy Rossi started Tango Flight in 2016 in Georgetown, Texas. The aviation program at the Greene Technology Center in the fall of 2020.
Tango Flight is currently available in 10 schools across the country, and Weyant said it is looking to add 10 more schools. Weyant said he is particularly interested in bringing the program to Greene County because he and his wife own land in the area and plan to retire locally.
Discussing the benefits of the program to students, Weyant said there is demand for the skills taught in the program, which includes a STEM-focused curriculum.
“There is a monstrous demand for pilots. It’s a good career whether they are military or civilian,” Weyant said.
Tango Flight offers a dual credit curriculum developed with Wichita State University in Kansas that conforms to common core standards.
“It can be tailored by the teacher to the specific needs of the local school,” Weyant said. “There is a year and a half’s worth of curriculum, so the teacher can choose what to cover.”
The curriculum also allows students to pursue elements they are most interested in.
“We leave it open throughout the program so they can see what entices them and what is most interesting to them,” Weyant said. “I think we’ve found something that truly can serve any kid who wants to do this and wants to be involved.”
Community members may become mentors through the program to share their aviation and engineering experience.
“A lot of them want to give back to the community but may not know how, and this allows them to share their skills,” Weyant said.
Perkins grant funding may be used toward the $11,500 annual cost of the program. There is also a one-time deposit of $75,000 that is later refunded, Weyant said.
The plane would belong to Tango Flight.
Weyant said there is time to decide, but for the program to begin locally this fall, the materials will need to be ordered in time, and order times are still impacted by COVID-19.
“We’ve got time, but not a huge amount. We would want to have the materials here before school starts in August,” Weyant said.
Greene Technology Center Assistant Principal Marsha Hybarger also addressed the board with a report.
Hybarger said the center has received a restructured Perkins Reserve Grant in the amount of $44,500.
“It will be used to enhance and develop instructional processes by working with middle school students, parents and families, ensuring the appropriate pathway to CTE programs,” Hybarger said.
Hybarger also told the board the center recently invested in iCEV, “an interactive online curriculum platform that is changing the way career and technical education programs prepare students for the workplace.”
There are 300 seats for the 2020-21 school year across the culinary arts, criminal justice, health science nursing, health science medical services and sports medicine, welding, cosmetology, and industrial electricity programs.
Culinary arts students are able to earn three additional industry certifications through the American Meat Science Association (AMSA). Those include selection and cookery, food safety and science, and meat evaluation.
Hybarger also reported dual enrollment participation is down due to grant money forfeiture.
“Students earning less than 80% in a previous dual enrollment course are ineligible for grant funding,” Hybarger explained.
She said 70 students earned dual enrollment in the fall semester, but the goal for the spring is 50 students.
Hybarger also told the board that the machine tool technology program has received a $10,000 grant from the Gene Haas foundation for National Incident Management System (NIMS) certification testing.
“This funding will prevent the testing cost from becoming a burden to the student or the system,” Hybarger said.