Fifteen Ivy Preparatory Academy scholars visited the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport recently to observe the importance of effective communications in the offices of a federal air traffic control tower.
The field trip to the Federal Aviation Administration ended an enrichment unit on the dynamics of good communication
that gave students tips on expressing themselves whether they are interviewing for a job, speaking in a classroom, or
working in a group. Scholars who excelled in the lessons were invited to the airport for a behind-the-scenes look at
communications on the job for air traffic controllers.
“When we thought about a place where effective communication is key and critical, we decided to take them
to see the airportʼs air traffic control tower,” said Joy Treadwell, principal of Ivy Prep Gwinnett. “These are life-
saving jobs. Air traffic controllers communicate with pilots and help them to take off and land safely. We talked about the communication tools and the language they use.”
Scholars toured the tower, which is the largest in North America. From their view nearly 400 feet above the airport,
they could see the Atlanta skyline, planes flying, and luggage moving on carts.
“The view was stunning,” said Jedidah Titus, a seventh grader at Ivy Prep. “You could see so many airplanes. We learned that communication was extremely vital for the safety of planes and their passengers. When pilots fly to a destination, they talk to air traffic control in every city on the way to that destination.”
Scholars observed the work of air traffic controllers and talked to employees about their jobs, including a female manager.
“They got to see that very few women work as air traffic controllers,” Treadwell said. “They asked the women that were
there what it is like working in a male-dominated career.”
The experience made seventh grader Asia Aaron begin to rethink her decision to be a veterinarian.
“It was awesome,” she said. “I loved seeing the planes up close. People were busy talking to pilots. It was exciting. It really made an impact on me.”
Emma Fruge, an eighth grader, said she enjoyed being around the planes so much that she hoped she could “fit it in her career” if possible. Fruge wants to be a fashion designer. “I asked about flight attendants and how much the make,” she said. “They earn about $40,000 and get to fly to great places.”
The enrichment study for all scholars at Ivy Prep Gwinnett will continue with lessons on leadership and civic engagement next. The program is supported by curriculum from Stanford Universityʼs Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (YELL), which trains students to become community leaders.
“This enrichment program is a personal passion of mine,” Treadwell said. “It allows us to create a shared vision of what leadership looks like and to also focus on values.”