Principal Stephen Rochelle of Orville Wright Middle School in Westchester was honored at the annual Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) President’s Luncheon and Installation of New Officers at the Proud Bird restaurant in Westchester, with over 100 people in attendance.

Rochelle received the Outstanding Administrator of the Year Award for his creative vision behind the school’s flight simulation program that helps students apply rigorous math, science and English language arts skills to real-world applications, PTSA officials said.

In the program, middle school students map career pathways in the aviation industry by developing skills, knowledge and relationships with industry mentors to help make learning relevant and fun, according to the PTSA. As a result, several students have completed their ground school training and have logged flight hours in a real plane.

Rochelle has also helped create partnerships with the Los Angeles mayor’s office, the city Department of Recreation and Parks and architectural design firms to create a curriculum for art students with the goal of designing a pocket park on campus, PTSA officials said.

Parent groups have raised money and have started the first phase of the student project with the help of Loyola Marymount University (LMU) students and community members on Super Sunday.

Orville Wright’s API (Academic Progress Index) has improved for three consecutive years, school officials said.

Rochelle managed and oversaw the major upgrading of Orville Wright Middle School Improvement projects, including interior and exterior painting, air-conditioning installation, new auditorium sound and lighting, new computer lab, paving project, new furniture, Web site, replacement of damaged arcades, $20,000 in new library books, school-wide networking and Internet access, and creation of two learning labs for special education students.

Rochelle chose to be a part of a Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent David Brewer team created to travel to other parts of the country to seek out innovative successful programs and strategies that might be able to be implemented in Los Angeles schools.

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