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Friday, 03 January 2020 17:24

New Colorado Charter School Thinks Outside the Classroom

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AIST is the brainchild of former mechanic Anthony and his wife Deb Williams, who is the new school’s principal.  AIST is the brainchild of former mechanic Anthony and his wife Deb Williams, who is the new school’s principal. AIST


Most of us went to a school where you sat in the classroom most of the day.

Every once in a while, you would get a break and they would show you a film and there might be a field trip now and then. But, most of the time you were tethered to your desk in a classroom that was likely crowded, and learning things that didn’t inspire or motivate you.


Now, schools are developing programs where there are no formal classes (they call them “projects”) that give their students skills they can use to build successful and productive careers.


This fall, the new Automotive Institute of Science and Technology (AIST) will open its doors in Colorado Springs, CO, in a temporary 30,000 sq. ft. facility with an unique approach to teaching. This six-year public charter high school will use the P-TECH model (Pathways in Technology Early College High School), which is designed to provide students the foundation they need to be successful in the automotive aftermarket industry when they graduate. AIST is initially enrolling 100 students, but its ultimate goal is to have 500 students once they move into its permanent location in 2022.


Students at AIST can choose to pursue either a four or six-year program, starting their freshman year of high school through their second year of college—all publicly funded. At the end of their senior year, students may graduate or continue taking concurrent enrollment classes at AIST for two additional years. Students will have the opportunity to graduate with an associate degree or equivalent and participate in internships at no cost to the student.


The school is the brainchild of Anthony Williams, a former mechanic and auto tech instructor and its principal Deb Williams, Anthony’s wife. Together with an impressive board that includes names such as Senior Director of Customer Training at Advance Auto Parts Chris Chesney and well-known motorcycle and bicycle designer Mike Vidovich, they are ready to change the world one student at a time.

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