ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - It's official title is the Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics, and Science Academy, or better known at SAMS.
From the outside, it's like any other school, but inside the education is in a world all its own.
"We're one of five schools in the nation that actually offer kids the opportunity to learn how to fly airplanes," says Scott Glasrud, SAMS Academy administrator.
Of course, before students jump in the plane, they learn the basics here in the classroom at the Academy.
As part of the Southwest Learning Centers Charter Schools, the SAMS Academy teaches these kids both in the classroom and online. The schools have already established a record of success with some of the highest test scores in the state.
"...we've tied that in with our industry, the aviation industry and trying to ask them, work really closely with the industry of what do you need our kids to know and be able to do when they get out of here so they can have these high paying high tech jobs that are coming to New Mexico within the aviation industry," adds Glasrud.
At it's heart, the SAMS Academy is still a school with regular classes like physical education, but students say it's also preparing them for life.
"It's really cool," adds SAMS Academy senior William May. "I've wanted to fly planes ever since I was little. My grandfather was a structural engineer and he helped design planes."
"It was very inspiring," says 8th grade student Sebastian Haughney. "Especially when I was in smart lab because it allows you to go your own way and figure out things."
School administrators say this formula of learning is working because the parents are more involved in the student's education and kids are working in teams in what they call smart lab. They say that will better prepare them for their ultimate goal which is to fly.
"It's something that I'm not able to do at any other school in New Mexico," says Carina Sicola, a junior at the SAMS Academy. "... so it kind of helps because it's preparing me for futures that will be so far above other people."
As you can imagine, the SAMS Academy is extremely popular with about 4,200 kids on the waiting list for it right now.
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