Jon Reinhard brings engineering academy to high school

The director of the Academy of Engineering has chosen Burton High School in San Francisco as one of 13 pilot schools for a program starting this fall.

How many students will be in the Burton academy, and how will they be chosen?

Typically, the cohort is about 100 for each grade level, and we start in the ninth-grade. It’ll be a true small learning community, a school within a school.

How does the school within a school work?

They’ll be in similar classes throughout the day; we’re asking teachers to really connect the learning for students all day long.

Why was Burton High School chosen?

We’re looking for high schools that have higher percentages of underrepresented minorities. The other goal is to get more females involved with engineering as well; 80 percent of the engineering work force are white males.

What’s the inspiration behind the Academy of Engineering schools?

We don’t have enough kids, period, who have the proper math and science background in order to qualify to get into engineering schools in the U.S.

How does that problem affect the future of the country and its economy?

It's a competitive work force issue. National defense companies can’t hire foreign nationals after 9/11, and … they can’t find enough qualified U.S. citizens to do the contract work.

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