Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)
Captain Barrington Irving became the youngest person (and first African American) to fly solo around the world in a single-engine plane at the age of 23. He builds hope for the future and enthusiasm for learning in the children he meets at schools around the country. Thanks to the efforts of Kilby ESOL teacher and science lead teacher Sarah Plumitallo, Irving was the featured speaker at Kilby Elementary School recently. Students showcased some of the projects completed in Tiger21, Kilby’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC). Students’ families also came to learn more about how Irving’s Flying Classroom is being implemented in the center this year.
Plumitallo is Tiger21’s CCLC grant writer and the site’s coordinator. The center provides academic support and enrichment after school and during the summer for some Kilby students on reading, math, and science, and provides enrichment in technology arts, fitness and wellness, arts, language and literacy. Flying Classroom is a K-8 integrative STEM+ curriculum that provides lessons and activities aligned to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). It also correlates activities to geography, informational literacy, writing, art, and social studies.
Hearing a famous person like Irving share how he turned down the NFL to become a pilot is sure to get the attention of every sports enthusiast and pro-ball hopeful in the room. Follow that with descriptions and videos of fantastic and impressive worldwide adventures, and you have a perfect atmosphere for learning. The impetus for his Flying Classroom is Irving’s commitment to connecting school subjects to real life experiences. The program follows Irving on learning adventures on seven continents as teachers and students worldwide interact virtually and learn with him.
Students and their families, School Board Chairman At-Large Dr. Babur Lateef and School Board member Loree Williams (Woodbridge District) were among the audience who watched as Irving related exciting stories and videos from some of his expeditions. One was about a visit to the small island of Koror, Palau in the North Pacific, where he captured a sea snake and milked its fangs for the venom used in blood pressure medicine.
“I’m excited about our next Tiger21 adventure, which is a teacher expedition arranged by the Flying Classroom folks and planned for November at a surprise location,” said Plumitallo. “It is an in-the-field professional development on the engineering design process and what it means to be truly invested in STEM+. These opportunities are great for teachers and help us to provide high-quality instruction for our students!”