The Alabama Aerospace and Aviation High School (AAHS) finalized its contract with the Alabama Public Charter School Commission on Nov. 5, 2021. The progress since has allowed the AAHS to begin open enrollment for students and hire teachers for the west Jefferson County facility.

According to AAHS Founder and now Chief Executive Officer Ruben Morris, the charter flight school is well on its way to being open and running later this year.

“We’re on track to open in August 2022,” said Morris. “We’ve officially opened enrollment and are hiring teachers. We also have a rendering of our future home. Things are moving along smoothly and we’re extremely excited."

The aviation-focused school will attempt to offer an immersive education for an “intentionally diverse” student populous and seeks to prepare students for a potential career in aerospace and aviation.

“If you are a current eighth grader, you can now enroll in our founding class of AAHS students,” said Morris. “The school is actively hiring teachers and staff right now and available positions are posted on the school’s website as well.”

AAHS will be a free public charter school. The school will be for students grades 9-10 in Bessemer and surrounding areas. AAHS will enroll an initial freshman class of approximately 130-150 students and add freshman classes each year until it reaches its proposed capacity of roughly 500 students.

According to Morris, aviation and aerospace will not be the only focus of the school. AHSS will offer multiple STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) related pathways and a college preparatory curriculum.

AHSS also partners with Delta Tech Ops and Alabama’s historically black colleges and universities, including Tuskegee University, Miles College, Alabama State University, and Alabama A&M University. AAHS is also teaming up with the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Auburn Aviation to provide aerospace and computer science pathways for its students.

The school will function out of a temporary space in a church at Foundation of Life Church in Bessemer, but Morris said that a permanent space at the Bessemer airport is in the school’s future.

“We are still negotiating the ground lease at the airport,” Morris said. “We are making progress and I’m confident we’ll break ground on the new building this year.”

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