When you walk into Tony Anselmo’s Core Plus Aerospace class at Shadle Park High School in Spokane you’ll see students learning how to use power tools and heavy machinery and read blueprints. What you may not see at first is students are learning skills like team work and responsibility that will help them in whatever pathway they chose after graduation.
“I always tell my students that the skills they learn in class are transferable,” Tony said. “If you are doing something in class today you will be able to use that skill in the future.”
Tony has been a teacher for 20 years. He enjoyed taking stuff apart and putting it back together and decided to combine that with his love of working with students to become a teacher. Tony’s industrial education class uses the Core Plus Aerospace curriculum.
Core Plus Aerospace is a two-year program with the first year consisting of foundational courses that are common across all manufacturing industries (e.g. shop safety, materials science, and the use of hand/power tools). The second year consists of industry-specific courses, such as in aerospace, which allows students to further develop their skills in those areas.
“Core Plus Aerospace students are going to learn some theory in the classroom then we are going into the lab and apply some of those theories in a hands-on environment,” Tony said. “It’s really about giving students some basic skills at the high school level that they carry to postsecondary, an apprenticeship or straight into the job market.”
Tony added that Core Plus Aerospace gives students a baseline of what to expect in the workforce. He said that field trips to industrial partners’ facilities are amazing opportunities to see what they learned in class in action.
Tony’s students have also completed some paid internships with manufacturing partners, earned college and high school credit, and received job offers while in high school that they can take advantage of after graduation.
“The future for my students is wide open,” Tony said. “Companies are offering students competitive benefits and the opportunity to go back to college to further their education. Learning doesn’t end at high school, students can be life long learners. They can always grow and expand their skill set.”
What Tony loves about teaching is seeing a student develop a lifelong passion for learning hands-on skills, the skills he loved learning about when he was a student. “Whether they go into manufacturing or not, hopefully I’ve instilled in them skills that they want to continue working with outside of high school.”