The @MATEC Archives

Volume 1, Number3 Electronics industry solidly supports K-12 education
@matec.gif (37291 bytes)  

Five years ago I began teaching electronics at Metro Tech High School in Phoenix. I found that I was in for a few surprises. It was my first time teaching high school; previously I had taught only post secondary.

With all the new experiences I encountered at the high school, one very pleasant surprise was the tremendous amount of support from industry. When I started, Metro Tech already had an established partnership with Honeywell Flight Systems Group. The company pays for a retired line supervisor, Don Ward, to work in my class every day teaching soldering and assembly skills. During their senior year, students have the opportunity to work part time for Honeywell and then be hired full time after graduation. Since the partnership began there have been about sixty students placed at Honeywell. Now, several former students have graduated from college and are in management positions, hiring and supervising the students from my class.

Three years ago, Louis Baca at Intel approached me about forming a partnership with the Metro Tech Electronics class. Louis is Intel’s Arizona K-12 coordinator. Intel paid for a trip to Oregon to meet with David Hata (Portland Community College) and observe the partnership he had started at Hillsboro High School. Louis then worked with me to develop articulation agreements with local community colleges so students could get college credit for the class. In the summer I found myself working for Intel as a faculty intern. This gave me a chance to become much more familiar with semiconductor manufacturing. Intel bought computers and test equipment for my class and also paid for a laboratory assistant. At the same time, Louis was duplicating these efforts with Rich Smith from the East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa, Arizona.

The following summer, Rich and I were back working at Intel again, this time along with a group of five other teachers from local area high schools to develop electronics curriculum for their new Intel partnerships. John Zanazzi from Marcos de Niza H.S. in Tempe; Michael Drobitsky and Marty Sehl from Mountain View H.S. in Mesa, Richard A. Smith from Hamilton H.S. in Chandler, and Steve Bailey with McClintock H.S. in Tempe. Students will be able to attend these schools for their junior year and then Rich’s or my class during the senior year, a very powerful recruitment tool. Meanwhile Intel is forming other similar partnerships across the country and is making the curriculum materials developed over these two summers available to other partnership schools.

With the combination of the Intel and Honeywell partnerships, Metro Tech’s electronics curriculum has evolved into a comprehensive program that places students on a very clear path to successfully arrive in the electronics industry. The program is first and foremost rigorous. The class meets two and one half hours a day, five days a week for two years. Students are introduced to a broad range of topics from DC/AC circuit theory up through digital electronics and semiconductor manufacturing. Math and science skills are constantly reinforced along with good communication and teamwork.

This summer, I’m once again working for Intel supporting the group of teachers I started with last summer to further develop their curriculum. In addition, I’m working at MATEC with Robin Hori, Ira Crawford, Risa Gepner and Julia Watson on semiconductor modules for use in high school physics and chemistry classes. I’m also part of a panel of educator and electronic industry representatives revising the Arizona State competencies for high school electronics education.