CISD starts new drone certification program


Lt. Col. Chris McMartin

A drone operated by AFJROTC took this photo of the updated Willig Field last month.

A new drone certification program is now a part of course offerings for seniors, in partnership with Lone Star College. Students who successfully finish the program will receive the FAA drone license by the end of the year. Students take Aviation classes at Lone Star along with English, Economics and Government classes

Seniors ​from five different CISD high schools (who take the course) will be attending more than half the day during their senior year at The Lone Star Conroe campus. There is no extra cost for the program as all fees are covered by CISD for coursework and drone flying, including all fees for ​academic dual credit courses.

Senior Ryder Brady found out about the program from a district email over the summer. Brady has had several photography classes at TWHS and is interested in photography. ​After initially registering for the class, Ryder and other interested seniors met with Conroe ISD CTE to discuss the course and how the program fits into each student’s needs.

“We created this program to meet the diverse needs of four types of students,” said Laura Willard, CISD Coordinator of College Readiness. “The year-long curriculum prepares students for a career in aeronautical or mechanical engineering; the credits can be applied towards a pilot’s license or the pursuit of military enlistment as a pilot; or the certification itself in a high-demand field allows the students direct work readiness.”

“Having that license will help me create media as a photographer,” Brady said.

The drone licensing provides many opportunities for different careers including photography, and the program also provides many opportunities to meet new people.

“I’ve enjoyed making new friends from all the schools in our district – there are kids from The Woodlands, Conroe, College Park, Oak Ridge and Grand Oaks,” Brady said.
“CISD plans to create more programs in the Lone Star Conroe Center joint venture. Now that Auto Tech and Drones are booming, we are now adding options for welding, cosmetology, and transportation logistics,” Willard said.

Juniors will be able to talk with their counselors about the drone program and other upcoming collaborations as a part of the registration process in the spring. ​