Embry Riddle Aeronautical Dual Enrollment Program
Baldwin Middle-High School, part of the Duval County School District, is dedicated to providing high-quality educational opportunities for all students. The school is a place where every member is inspired and equipped for success in post-secondary education, a career, and in life.
Former Principal Dr. Denise Hall, a 33-year veteran of education, indicated that there were very few honors academy programs offering aeronautics curriculum throughout the nation. So, when the opportunity arose to create a dual enrollment program with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University located in Daytona Beach, she seized the opportunity. After hiring local teacher Mr. John Wells, the program developed into its existing structure. Mr. Wells has taught the program for 7 years. In that time, Wells has seen students take what they learned in class and create a career pathway in aviation and aerospace.
Baldwin students enrolled in the Embry Riddle Aeronautical Dual Enrollment Program can take 6 college classes to earn up to 18 college credits. They can also exit the classroom with two certifications: Unmanned Drone and Small Pilots license.
Foundational work begins in Middle School with preparation via math and science courses such as pre-algebra, algebra and computer science. “I actively try to recruit students. Robotics is another way to engage students,” says Wells.
Students entering the Embry Riddle Aeronautical Dual Enrollment Program take a series of courses preparing them for certification. For example, as freshmen, students engage in robotics and science. As sophomores, they take a semester of Principles of Aerospace Science and a semester of Unmanned Vehicles. Juniors take a course in Unmanned Aircraft Systems and an Intro to Health, Occupational and Transportation Safety course. Ultimately, seniors study Introduction to Aerospace Safety and Principles of Management.
Wells encourages his students to seek out internships to supplement their learning. “Internships at NAS JAX are available. Employment is great because students are sent to school to learn a trade and then guaranteed a job upon completing a program.”
Students are pursuing this pathway further after high school graduation. Wells said, “Several Boeing employees have come from the class. Two obtained a pilot’s license. One female student is entering Embry Riddle with another female student completing this year.”
Students wishing to pursue the pathway can continue schooling at Embry Riddle which offers Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science, Aeronautics, Aerospace & Occupational Safety, Aerospace Engineering, Aerospace Physiology and Air Traffic Management, and Astronomy & Astrophysics. Students can complete an Aircraft Dispatcher certificate program or pursue masters and PhD programs.
Student success springs from earning aviation certifications even if a student chooses another pathway. For example, one Baldwin Middle-High School graduate obtained an accounting job at Jacksonville University because of the certification. While unrelated to the job duties, the aeronautical certifications on that individual’s resume distinguished him to the hiring manager.
Wells indicated that, “As an instructor, the goal is to have student complete the courses and obtain an industry certification as well as the college credits. But, it is rewarding to see them grow from middle through high school and all they can accomplish.”
One such student, Ashlyn Moment emphasized how much the program set her up for success at Embry Riddle. “Mr. Wells is one of the reasons why I am who I am today. He not only cares about what goes on in his classroom but who we are when we step out of that door. If it wasn't for him and this program, I would have never known what Embry-Riddle was or even applied.”
Ashlyn is now in her fourth year at Embry-Riddle majoring in Spaceflight Operations with two minors in Human Factors and Aviation Safety. She is the President of a collegiate chapter of a national organization on our campus, The Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals.
Ashlyn’s goal is to graduate in the Spring of 2023 and enter the Air Force to become a Space Operations Officer. With taking this career path, she will formulate space operation policies and activities and establishing training requirements and performance standards.
Ultimately, dual enrollment courses led to a solid career pathway choice.