Newest required class at Gladstone High teaches tech, workplace soft skills

Gladstone High School freshmen are getting a hands-on introduction to engineering, science, digital media, trades, and robotics thanks to a new class called GATES: Gladstone Arts, Technology and Engineering School. The 12-week course is taught by a team of three, with each student rotating through a four-week session with each instructor.

Science engineering instructor Kevin Zerzan teaches students about electricity as they build and test a generator and a wind turbine. Design and build teacher Mike Leone introduces computer-aided design, 3D printing and robotics as students try their hand at woodcraft and programming.

Digital multimedia teacher Brenden Thwing teaches digital design as students master the technology behind wood engraving and creating vinyl stickers.

"Using tools is a new experience for me. It's pretty fun," said freshman William Cooper. "I like the opportunity to build things. Now I'm thinking about taking construction tech."

COURTESY PHOTO - Gladstone High School freshman Jasmine Morris-White tests a wind turbine she constructed in a new class designed to give students a broad foundation in technology skills.Besides hands-on technology learning, students also are building the soft skills needed to succeed in the workplace: adaptability, collaboration, communication and problem solving.

"We hope students will gain exposure to career fields they may not know about, as well as exposure to the variety of course offerings we have in Gladstone High's growing career-technical departments," Zerzan said. "I also hope students leave GHS with the skills employers want so our graduates have as many options open to them in the future as possible."

"We want education to feel real, so we are giving our students real-world problems to solve," Thwing said. "I try to make each day meaningful for our students so they have a sense of pride and accomplishment with their academics."

The new class introducing technology careers is a requirement for all freshmen and is expected to continue for next year's Gladstone freshmen.

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