Overton County CTE is Recognized in TN CTE Educator Update Newsletter

Livingston Academy of Overton County Schools recently received a Perkins Grant exceeding $199,000 in funding that provided an expansion of existing programs aligned to Strengthening Career and Technical Education in Tennessee.

Growing Opportunities in the Upper Cumberland with Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) is an initiative that focuses on college and career readiness of students in rural counties in programs of study that prepare students for careers/jobs in the region, and specifically targets student groups traditionally underserved, both economically disadvantaged and students with disabilities. Growing Opportunities in the Upper Cumberland with (UAS) is a regional collaboration between Overton, Clay, Jackson, and Pickett Counties in the Upper Cumberland area.

The Growing Opportunities in the Upper Cumberland includes a (UAS) laboratory with equipment that is housed in the Overton County School System. Career and Technical Education (CTE) students from Clay, Jackson, and Pickett Counties access the laboratory to prepare for the corresponding industry certification test and gain access to Level 4 courses previously unavailable in the Agriculture cluster. CTE students in all four collaborating counties receive instruction from a certified commercial pilot and CTE teacher in the Overton County School System via a distance learning classroom.
According to Teresa Johnson, Overton County CTE Director, “We are very fortunate to have this opportunity for all students with our lead teacher Jason Copeland who is a current experienced pilot and classroom teacher. He is doing a fantastic job getting our students ready for future jobs in the workforce that include aviation and unmanned aircraft systems.” Mr. Copeland has already made a great impact at Livingston Academy with his influence on aviation. Currently, three of his former students are successfully working on their degrees in aviation at MTSU.
Purchased equipment includes a full-size two-person simulator with multiple screens, foot pedals, and a throttle. The simulator displays various type of terrain for students to practice flying over. Students experience what it's like to fly using this FMX machine in their classroom with a real-life pilot guiding them. “It’s exciting to see our students thriving in such a unique classroom experience that will lead them to more opportunities,” states Director of Schools, Dr. Donnie Holman.  
When questioned about how these classes have impacted their career options, students responded with the following: opportunities to get college credit, preparation for future job options, exposure to a broader range of job opportunities. After speaking with participating students, it is apparent that these classes are fun, engaging, practical, and provide student with life skills and hands-on experiences that they can use in their future career paths along with day-to-day life.
Currently, according to Mr. Copeland, his students are “learning and practicing on some technical equipment,” and he is “excited seeing everything they do […] it’s nice that people are taking notice.”