GeoTEd-UAS Supports High School Educators to Complete UAS Training and Obtain Remote Pilot Certificate

Two educators from Hampton City Schools were provided funding from GeoTEd-UAS to complete the Unmanned Systems Remote Pilot Ground School (UMS-107) course offered by Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC). The educators were also supported to take the FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate exam. Possessing a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate is required to legally fly small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS). Sherry Hildebrandt, Transportation Academy Coach for Bethel High School, and Alex Minter, Social Studies Teacher and soon to be GIS and UAS instructor, both successfully completed the UMS 107 course and obtained their Remote Pilot Certificate. The UMS 107 course was developed through the GeoTEd-UAS project and has served as a model for other colleges and high schools in the Commonwealth.


When asked about her opportunity, Hildebrandt said “I am so excited that I took this course because it prepared me for my Part 107 remote pilot certificate exam. The course was awesome—knowledgeable, fun, and engaging! In obtaining the certificate, I can now assist teachers in all of the academies at Bethel High School-the Transportation, Analytics, Information, and Logistics Academy, the Law and Public Safety Academy, the Media Arts and Design Academy, and the Governor’s Health Science Academy. I can expose students to various academic concepts through an industrial and drone technology lens.”


When discussing the program in her school, she said “By having this [remote pilot] certificate, teachers at Bethel High School can now actively engage students using drones. For example, while Mr. Minter is integrating Geospatial and Unmanned Technologies into his curricula using GIS and drones, his students can be studying towards earning their Part 107 certificate.”


Hildebrandt continued, “I will have the opportunity to supervise flights in our math, science, English, and social studies classrooms and engage learning through a different type of lens, that of a drone lens! How exciting is this! Imagine, learning about basic trigonometry concepts by recording points on a drone’s flight, calculating distances, reading graphs, analyzing geographical variations, gaining new perspectives for writing prompts, the list is endless. I cannot wait for our students to return! And of course, none of this would be possible without funding from GeoTEd-UAS and the training from TNCC allowing us to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to take back into our classrooms! This course was awesome!”


“We anticipate our support of these teachers will impact hundreds of students who will now get hands-on exposure to drones,” said VSGC Technical Programs Coordinator who coordinates the Commonwealth STEM Industry Internship Program (CSIIP, “I look forward to helping these students get paid internships in the future,” said Bellows. “We will also facilitate dual-enrollment partnerships between Hampton City Schools and Thomas Nelson Community College so these students can earn college credit toward a Career Studies Certificate while in high school. This will be a great investment by the GeoTEd-UAS project,” stated Chris Carter, VSGC Deputy Director.