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Frequently Asked Questions and Application Process

Application Process - FAQs

What is the STEM Academy of Aviation and Aerospace?

West Cabarrus STEM AoAA is a career academy for students who want to attend post-secondary school or begin a career right after high school.  STEM AoAA provides a smaller learning community in which a cohort of students have core and aviation classes together. Academy teachers share the cohort students and work together to integrate technology into their curricula as well as develop interdisciplinary projects.

Who is it for?

Cabarrus County Schools will have open enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year, so any incoming freshman that lives in the Cabarrus County Schools district will have school of choice as long as they are enrolled in an academy.   We will be offering seats to 75 students for each 9th grade cohort. 

Does my student need to be experienced in aviation or aerospace?

No. Students will learn skills in various areas needed in their courses over four years. Students should enjoy learning about aviation and aerospace.

Is STEM Aviation and Aerospace only for students interested in aviation or aerospace careers?

No. While many academy students are interested in aviation and aerospace careers, the skills students will learn are transferable to most any career choice.

How are students admitted?

A lottery is used to fill the maximum number of spots per student cohort. If more than the allotted number of students per cohort apply, the lottery is used to determine the order of the wait-list. Students may be brought in from the wait-list over the summer before 9th grade if a spot opens.

Why is a lottery used?

A career academy should be homogeneous to the school’s student population. A lottery is the most equitable method to achieve this. Interest in aviation/aerospace and grades are NOT a factor in admittance.

Can my student take honors or AP classes?

Yes. In core classes, such as English, Social Studies, Math, and Science, students will be in combined classes of academic and honors depending on what level they are recommended. Teachers will differentiate assessments for the academic and honors levels.  In 10th, 11th and 12th grades, students may take AP courses but they will not be academy cohort classes. 

Can my student take other elective courses?

Yes. While academy courses are required in the four years, students still have the opportunity to take many other elective courses. STEM Aviation and Aerospace courses (CTE) do meet the graduation requirement.

Are academy courses more difficult?

No. All courses follow the NC standard course of study. Work-based learning and 21st Century Skills are also included in academy courses. Academy students will have many projects that involve working in teams and giving presentations.

Can an academy student still participate in athletics or clubs?

Yes. Academy students may participate in athletics and/or clubs that are after the school day.

Students will be given the opportunity to participate in technical student organizations as well.

Are there any costs or fees?

The Academy is free of charge. Students will have an option to purchase an academy shirt (approximately $28) in 9th grade.  We take advantage of work-based learning opportunities, so there may be costs for trips taken for transportation and/or registration for the events.  The inability to pay any expense will not have any impact on student participation in the academy. Funding is available for these situations.

Can my student drop out of the academy?

We expect to have a wait-list for enrolling in the STEM Aviation and Aerospace Program. As a result, we expect students and their parents/guardians to seriously consider their decision to enroll because we expect a four-year commitment to the program’s responsibilities and requirements.

Most of the time, conflicts with a student’s obligations can be worked out to allow students to meet their goals and stay in the academy. If the conflict cannot be resolved, then the student must meet with the academy coordinator and counselor to discuss withdrawal and the student and parent must complete a form to withdraw from the program. The decision to drop will be made on a case-by-case basis.