Educator: Amir Abo-Shaeer
School/District: Dos Pueblos High School
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Amir Abo-Shaeer launched the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy to address students' inability to transfer their knowledge to solve real-world engineering problems. Currently, the program enrolls over 400 students per year and 50 percent of them are girls. Curriculum is integrated and students synthesize content from different disciplines including art, computer science, physics, design and manufacturing to complete sophisticated, long-term projects.
Amir became a high school physics teacher because he knew from first-hand experience working as a mechanical engineer that traditional science and engineering curriculum does not give students the opportunity to practice solving real-world problems in an authentic way. He set out to transform education at his own alma mater, Dos Pueblos High School.
With the Engineering Academy, Amir has launched a program that truly empowers students to develop not only their own solutions, but their own challenges as well. Students learn in an environment that is more workspace than school and they are equipped with specialized materials, equipment and industry mentorship to ensure their success. Their projects go from drawing board to market, steering clear of traditional engineering projects like toy cars and egg drop challenges. The focus instead is on problem-solving skills and entrepreneurial know-how that will prepare students for life, not tests.