(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The nonprofit Space Foundation is partnering with Colorado Springs School District 11 (D11) to expand its Space Foundation Leadership Academy to additional middle and high schools.

The Space Foundation Leadership Academy provides students in grades five to 12 with hands-on learning experiences and opportunities to expand their science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) knowledge for a potential career in the space ecosystem according to the Space Foundation.

Bobby Gagnon, Space Foundation director of education said. “By fostering innovation and igniting the passion for space exploration in young minds, we aim to empower the next generation of leaders who will boldly reach for the stars and shape the future of our universe.”

In the Spring of 2024, D11 will fund a yearlong Junior Space Entrepreneur Program (JSEP) for Coronado High School and a Cadet Space Explorer Program (CSEP) for Swigert Middle School. In addition to Odyssey High School’s participation in JSEP that will continue.

The Space Foundation said that students participating in the Leadership Academy through Career and Technical Education will be able to earn college credit through Pikes Peak State College.

“This partnership with Space Foundation and implementation of the Leadership Academy will allow D11 middle and high school students to expand their educational experience beyond the classroom walls. We are thrilled our students will get the opportunity to explore STEAM concepts on a leadership level and look forward to the success these students will inevitably experience in this program,” said Duane Roberson, director of career and technical education, Colorado Springs School District 11.