Southwest ISD’s drone program teaches STEM, gets students job ready

Curriculum helps prepare them to pass drone pilot certification test

SAN ANTONIO – Students at Southwest ISD are reaching new heights thanks to a school drone program. The program has been around for a couple years and allows for students to earn high-level certification.

And now, thanks in part to the Dee Howard Foundation, the program is growing.

Students in the program learn STEM skills, earn certificates all while also getting workforce ready.

“There’s the STEM part of it, where they can bring in math and English and other subjects and they can learn those subjects in a fun way,” Rodolfo Urby, aviation teacher at Southwest High School said.

The program is interactive and sets students up for high paying jobs right after graduation.

“The curriculum that they’re using here prepares them to pass the FAA Part 107 commercial drone pilot certification test, which makes them able to go and get jobs. It’s an industry certification for this school,” Christina Martinez, with the Dee Howard Foundation said.

The curriculum readies the students for a variety of drone-related industries.

“It can be either a backup or I can use it my 107 license for it to actually get a job. And like right here in the drone simulator here it’s like showing like a job, like scenario,” Leonardo Fernandez, a senior at Southwest High School said.

The program is a game changer for many families. The drone curriculum is set to scale up to 20 more schools next year.

“I think for kids, the biggest thing for families here, especially in our district, is going to be opportunity. You know, exposing them to all sorts of different things they may not have been exposed to,” Urby said.

As for Leo, he wants to go to Hallmark University next year and says the sky is the limit.

“So drones in general, they’re fun. They’re fun to play with. Fun to raise, fun to do tricks with,” Fernandez said. “I want to work on aircrafts.”

You can learn more about the Dee Howard Foundation, by clicking here.

About the Authors:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.