Brookfield will be one of at least six Trumbull County schools whose students will participate in drone building, flying and racing this school year.
Brookfield High School Principal Kristen Foster told the Education Council this week staff in six districts will receive training through the Trumbull County Education Services Center on teaching drones and the drone racing program.
She said the students would spend the winter months learning how to assemble and fly drones and then next spring compete in racing competitions at Youngstown Air Reserve Station.
Superintendent Toby Gibson has said the schools will compete in a drone racing league. He said that as part of the program, students will be doing presentations like in robotics.
Foster said plans call for an elective class in the 2022-2023 school year to teach drones.
âThis could be a highly sought after elective courseâ¦ Students will learn how to take a drone apart and reassemble it. They will learn how to make it go faster. Some drones can go very fast. You get FAA certification, âFoster said.
She said she practices outdoor events, then competitions are scheduled for spring.
Ed Mackiewicz, program / instruction supervisor at TCESC, said the center will provide drones to schools and cover start-up costs.
Mackiewicz said that in addition to Brookfiled, McDonald’s, Lordstown and
âThis will be our first first year. We’ll see how it goes, âhe said, noting that they hope to have more schools for the year 2022-2023.
Mackiewicz said he oversees the professional development of teachers and advisers on how to build drones and learn to fly them.
He said the TCESC has partnered with Drones in School for the program by following all drone flight rules and regulations.
He said he wanted to launch the program two years ago, but COVID-19 changed the plans.
He said outdoor training could take place in late February or March and competitions in March or April, weather permitting. He said the competitions will involve drones performing tasks and overcoming obstacles.
âIt’s like robotics competitions. The students will create portfolios and video presentations of what they did to build their drones and fly them, âsaid Mackiewicz.
âThis is an incredible opportunity,â said Sarah Kurpe, Chair of the Education Council.
In other cases, council members have said they will consider community responses and residents’ comments on a community learning center in the future.
Kurpe said the state and other finance and business partnerships will need to be considered for a project of this size.
Teacher Mary Arp, who came up with the idea for the center, said surveys were still being received from the community on the idea.
Resident Valerie Kokor said she was happy the schools were at least getting the ball rolling for a potential center.
Board member Melissa Sydlowski said while the center is something everyone wants to see happen, it has been tough with the pandemic.
âFor our community to have it, it will take time for it to be operational. We’ve talked about it and we’ll move on eventually. It is important to find grants and partnerships to make this possible, âsaid Sydlowksi.
Gibson suggested that a committee look at the center and also review the data before a final decision is made.