BUENA PARK, CA – Buena Park School District students demonstrated new and exciting teaching techniques such as using Apple apps to design video games and learning geometry and architecture by programming Cue robots to draw two-dimensional houses during the District’s second annual Innovation Showcase, held April 6 at Buena Park Middle School.

The Innovation Showcase is designed to show the progress students are making as they expand their knowledge and creative skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects. It also allows teachers to explore what innovations are taking place throughout other schools in the District. The showcase highlighted various educational innovations across the district.

Beatty Middle School showcased how its aviation students use Lockheed Martin STEM Pilot flight simulators to enhance their knowledge of geography, topography and fuel usage. The simulators give students multiple views of the aircraft, including the control panel, front and side views, and landscapes, allowing them to complete an entire mission and even change planes mid-flight.

“Students can start a flight in a Cessna 172 out of LaGuardia Airport and end it in a de Havilland Beaver pontoon to land on the water in front of the Statue of Liberty,” Beatty aviation/STEM teacher John Kopaczewski said. “We have nine simulated missions that the students can fly, depending on their skill level, including the ‘Miracle on the Hudson.’ It is a lot of fun for the kids.”

Buena Park Middle School sixth grader Jessalyn D. used a variety of Apple apps, including Keynote, Clips, iMovie and GarageBand to create a video essay project on boxer Muhammad Ali, as well as a video book report on the Navy Seals. Jessalyn D. found that using the apps was an intuitive process that helped her in a variety of school subjects.

“I like the way the apps help you to organize your assignment. They guide you through all the steps needed to complete your projects,” Jessalyn D. said. “The apps are easy to work with and I can use them in other classes, like math. I like being able to create my own projects.”

Apple technology coaches work with students at the two middle schools, as part of a District partnership that also helps to train middle school teachers to be proficient in Apple applications and software.

The coaches also participate in the District’s Innovation Vanguard, which brings together a group of tech-forward teachers who meet each month to discuss exciting new projects and curriculum that the teachers then share with their school sites. The Innovation Showcase is the culminating event for the Innovation Vanguard.

“When students are given the tools to succeed and encouragement to explore their creativity, the result is innovation,” Interim superintendent Dr. Yvette Cantu said. “And look what happens. Our students are learning, and they are teaching us as well. There are no boundaries for success.”


INNOVATION1: Buena Park Middle School student Caleb M. prepares to fly a simulated air mission using a Lockheed Martin STEM Pilot flight simulator during the District’s annual Innovation Showcase, held April 6. The flight simulators, part of Beatty Middle School’s aviation elective, help teach students about geography, topography and fuel usage.

INNOVATION2: A pair of Emery School students program Cue robots to draw two-dimensional houses during the District’s second annual Innovation Showcase, held April 6 at Buena Park Middle School.