BHS to expand aviation class offerings

Tom Koop of North Point Aviation (right) tells the Brainerd School Board about the new aviation class to be offered next year at Brainerd High School. Also pictured is Tim Murtha, director of teaching and learning. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

A new elective will fly into the Brainerd High School curriculum next fall.

Aviation 817: Private Pilot Ground School, with a curriculum provided by North Point Aviation and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, will include videos, lecture and class discussion intended to prepare students for success on the FAA written test for a private pilot license.

The course, which will be offered to juniors and seniors beginning in spring 2020, is a continuation of Fundamentals of Aviation, a course offered for the last six years and taught by Tom Koop of North Point Aviation for the last five.

Koop told Brainerd School Board members Monday, Oct. 14, his fundamentals class has averaged about seven to 15 students at a time. Two students, he said, have gone on to fly in the military, while two others have gone on to college flight programs.

The fundamentals class, which will continue to be offered next fall, focuses on exposing students to aviation careers. Koop said the new course, which will be offered in the spring, will dig even deeper for students who are serious about pursuing aviation.


Koop noted a significant developing pilot shortage in the aviation field, from airlines to corporate pilots, as one reason for the class addition. He added some high schools are developing a four-year aviation curriculum.

“So we thought this would be a very good process to try offering a full year,” he said.

The second class will cover aircraft performance, airplane systems, aviation weather, aviation regulations, flight operations and flight planning.

Those who take the fundamentals course are not required to continue on the second course. Likewise, the fundamentals class is not a prerequisite for the new course. Koop said someone who is very interested in flying but might not have been able to fit the fundamentals class into their fall schedule can jump right into the spring course.

“It’s just another way that we’re able to get (ISD) 181 students some opportunities that you just really won’t see most of the time,” Koop said.

Board members unanimously approved the creation of the class.

In other business Monday, the board:

Hired Allen Balsley as a long-term substitute counselor at Brainerd High School.


Accepted resignations and retirements: Jodi Buersken, food service at BHS, resignation; Linda Carlson, special education paraprofessional at Riverside, resignation; Preston Cogger, Fun ‘N Friends, resignation; Deisy Hebert, food service at BHS South Campus, resignation; Melody Schulte, English teacher at BHS, retirement; Bridget Surma, currently on leave of absence, retirement; Paige Wroolie, food service at Washington Educational Services Building, resignation.

Approved the addition of two behavioral management specialists to work eight hours a week.

Approved a field trip request for Spanish students to travel to Peru in June 2021.

Approved a letter of support for an application to the Minnesota State High School League for a grant to offset student activity fees.

Appointed Activities Director Charlie Campbell as the school district’s Title IX coordinator.

Authorized the listing of the BHS trades program home with Edina Realty.

Accepted donations to the district: $1,200 from Nisswa Parent Teacher Organization for student lunch and snack needs at Nisswa Elementary; $1,000 from Kids Against Hunger for student snack needs at Nisswa; a Terrence Fogarty print from the Minnesota State High School League as a memento of the district’s participation in the 2018 State Hockey Tournament; a frame for the Terrence Fogarty print from Edie Peterson; $210 from Daniel Brodin for student activities at Garfield Elementary; $200 from Chris and David Quisberg of Cub Foods and Holiday Gas Station for the healthy snack program at Riverside Elementary; Sschool supplies from Lakes Area Presbyterian Church for students in need in the district; school supplies from Daggett Brook 4-H for students in need at Harrison Elementary; $200 from Lions Club of Garrison and $500 from Stephen Long for milk at Harrison; school supplies from the Brainerd Dispatch, Tom Harrigan and BNI for students in need at Harrison; hats and scarves from Harrigan Family and Knitting Club for students in need at Harrison; $1,000 from Dorcas for milk at Harrison; $1,000 from Dorcas for the food pantry at BHS.

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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