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Newport News Shipbuilding’ Apprentice School gets OK to issue college degrees

Apprentice shipfitter Aaron Doswell, right, and Chadwick Albert learn to cut steel at Northrop Grumman’s Apprentice School in Newport News on Tuesday. The two split their days between the classroom and the shipyard as part of the program, in which they earn a salary and benefits. (Steve Earley | The Virginian-Pilot)

One of the most selective schools in the nation, Newport News Shipbuilding’s Apprentice School, has won the right to issue college degrees in its own name.

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia this month formally approved the Apprentice School’s request to operate as a postsecondary institution.

The school plans to grant associates of applied science degrees in maritime technology in 26 disciplines, including maintenance electrician, marine designer, nuclear test technician and modeling and simulation program analyst.

It expects final approval of the degree programs from the Council of Occupational Education to come later this year.

“This is an historic milestone for The Apprentice School,” said Xavier Beale, Newport News Shipbuilding’s vice president of trades.

“Our ability to offer academic degrees deepens our commitment to workforce development and will open new opportunities for our company to help to meet the ever-growing demand for skilled workers in our region.”

The Apprentice School, founded in 1919, offers four- to eight-year, tuition-free apprenticeships in 19 trades and nine optional advanced programs.

Apprentices work a 40-hour week and are paid for all work, including time spent in academic classes.

They can earn associate degrees in business administration, engineering and engineering technology and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical or electrical engineering through the school’s partnerships with Thomas Nelson Community College, Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University.

The new certification now gives the school the ability to grant and confer degrees on its own and comes after a yearlong review that looked at students’ success and that considered the program’s impact on the economies of Hampton Roads and Virginia.

The Apprentice School established its first certificate program in 2019, awarding maritime studies certificates to apprentices who successfully complete the World Class Shipbuilding Curriculum.

Dave Ress, 757-247-4535, dress@dailypress.com

Skrappy Obtained a Library Card and checked out his first two books on Robotic Design

November 16, 132 members of the Skrappy Nation participated in the first of a unique joint STEM marketing promotion with the staff of Clarksville Virginia Burnett Library and Learning Center and Bluestone High School.  A young member of the Skrappy Nation assisted the Library Staff in issuing a Library Card and checking out two books on advanced robotic designs.

This first of a kind signature event was scheduled from 11 AM to 1:30 PM but did not conclude until 2:00 PM, the normal closing time for the Library  Skrappy team members from left to right in the first photograph are Ethan Arnold, Layne Jones and Tristan Adams.  The Library Staff are Eileen Barbieri, Joyce Thomas and Vickie Powell.

One family with three home schooled children did not realize they can be a member of the Bluestone High School Club. When they learned that within the last three years, one home schooled female member of the team was the Captain of the Team …. For this family, the joint Stem promotion with the Library helped the Skrappy Nation recruit future members for the Mecklenburg County STEM programs.

Although the opportunity to play catch with Skrappy was very exciting, it is amazing how the Children were interested in a repair (adjusting the chain tensioner) that the drive team effected during this event. 

Welcoming the newest Members of the Skrappy Nation

Name Interests

Kaylin Garrett Web Page Design, Communications & Advertising

T’Kira Tucker (TT) Business & Programming

SKRAPPY gets a Library Card

Come to the Clarksville Public Library on November 16, 2019 to meet Bluestone High School’s robot Skrappy. In April Skrappy finished last season’s FIRST ROBOTS COMPETITION Destination Deep Space at the District Championship at George Mason University in Fairfax VA. This year’s competition Infinite Recharge commences in January. While Skrappy excels at hatch pickup and installation to seal the openings to a Rocket or Cargo ship, and then delivering cargo to both, Infinite Recharge may require a new set of skills.

Skrappy recently visited the South Central Fair and now, to further prepare for this new challenge Skrappy decided to visit the library to find books that can help develop new skills. As any other patron, Skrappy will need a Library Card. Since Skrappy has never been to the library some assistance may be required.

If you’d like to help Skrappy get a Library Card and find a book (or even get a Card for yourself!), you are invited to come to the Clarksville Public Library from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM on Saturday, November 16, 2019. Skrappy’s Teammates will be present to show you how Skrappy works and maybe play a game of catch with you. There will also be refreshments available. We look forward to seeing you there to assist Skrappy in this quest.

Inspiring generations of global citizens and helping them realize their power to build a better future

As we work as a community to prepare young people for a STEM future, FIRST aims to ensure its programs are having a lasting, positive impact on participants across all demographic groups. Our rigorous multi-year longitudinal study, conducted by Brandeis University Center for Youth and Communities, provides strong evidence that participation in FIRST does just that. Even with just one year of FIRST participation, study participants are 23xs more likely to have gains in STEM outcomes than a comparison group of peers not participating in FIRST.

Global Reach Our Partnership with Brandeis University Research proves FIRST ® drives STEM engagement and outcomes Powered by a mission-driven global robotics community and evidence-based programs designed to ignite curiosity and encourage exploration, FIRST® prepares young people for the future. Supported by adult coaches, mentors, educators, volunteers, sponsors, and alumni, FIRST offers a progressive series of team robotics challenges for students aged 6-18. FIRST programs are designed with hands-on, real-world experiences known to increase interest and engagement in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and inspire today’s kids to build tomorrow’s leaders. Research shows FIRST is advancing its mission to increase the number of students interested in STEM — and that interest is influencing their educational and career choices. Since 1989, FIRST programs have had a global reach with profound impacts on students of all ages around the world. FIRST is partnering with Brandeis University to conduct a multi-year longitudinal study measuring STEM-related impacts. Ages 6-10 (Grades K-4) Ages 9-16* (Grades 4-8) Ages 12-18 (Grades 7-12) Ages 14-18 (Grades 9-12) *Ages vary by country IN 2019…
Impact of First Programs, a Study conducted by Brandeis University Center for Youth and Communities

• Over 575,000 students reached.
• Over 300,000 mentors, coaches, judges, and volunteers.
• Over 20 million volunteer hours.
• 51,000 robots created.
• Over 80 million dollars in scholarships available. The study included 822 FIRST students and 451 comparison group students. The comparison group included students who did not participate in FIRST programs, but were enrolled in science and technology classes at the same schools. All students received a baseline survey and follow-up surveys each year. OVERALL, 79% OF STUDENTS REMAINED IN THE STUDY AT YEAR FIVE.

Skrappy off to a hot Start to 2020 Season

Pictured are Bluestone Robotics team members and mentors, from left to right, Ethan Sweet, Tracy Ellis, Brandon Campbell, Ethan Arnold, Ethan Jones, Ethan Nipper, Tristan Adams, Reagan Elliott, Sharon Harris, Leonard Passmore and Marsh Passmore.  

Tristan Adams and Gavin Foster show off the robotics fair exhibit they designed. The Skrappy drive team is offering live demonstrations to the public from 4-6 p.m. at the South Central Fair in Chase City on Saturday, Oct. 12, in the Education Building.

Drive team to perform at South Central Fair

As it trains a new drive team for the 2020 season, the Bluestone High School First Robotics team and its robot, Skrappy, participated in the Blue Ridge Brawl preseason competition in Salem, Va., over the weekend.  

The competition at this event was top-notch, with 15 of the 17 teams having qualified for the world championship in Detroit, Mich., earlier this year. Nevertheless, Skrappy finished in ninth place in this competition. 

“We took seven members from the team, which provided the opportunity for 12 matches as we rotated the team through different combinations of coach, driver, human player, assistant driver and technician,” said Leonard Passmore, one of the Bluestone team’s mentors.” Of the 17 teams, 15 were sponsored by teams that qualified for the world competition last spring, making this an excellent measure of the Skrappy team for the 2020 season.”

Skrappy finished ahead of at least six teams that qualified for world competition last season.

The Skrappy drive team is offering live demonstrations to the public from 4-6 p.m. at the South Central Fair in Chase City on Saturday, Oct. 12, in the Education Building.

The game for the 2020 First Robotics competition season will be released on Jan. 4, 2020. The theme is based on the Star Wars movies, with this teaser announcement on the First Robotics website: “Throughout history, great civilizations have risen, then fallen. Now it’s our turn to rise — building and bolstering our own planetary metropolis. This 2019-2020 season, FIRST RISE SM, powered by Star Wars: Force for Change, is setting out to inspire citizens of the galaxy to work together, strengthening and protecting the force that binds us and creating a place where collaboration and collective wisdom can elevate new ideas and foster growth.”

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