Since 1997, the award-winning Adopt-A-Pilot program has paired fifth grade classes with Southwest® Pilots across the nation to help students discover their dreams.
Each spring, Pilots volunteer their time visiting classrooms and mentoring students, while students track their "adopted" Pilot's journey during the time that the Pilot is "on the road." Not only does the program educate students on popular topics such as “how does an airplane fly?”, but our Leaders also emphasize the importance of education and personal goal setting.
“Adopted” Pilots visit classrooms and support teachers in reinforcing the importance of school and how the power of hard work and commitment are essential to achieving dreams. Pilots lead activities in the Adopt-A-Pilot curriculum by making lessons in science, geography, and math come alive, demonstrating to students how these subjects can be applied outside of the classroom. Pilots visit their assigned classroom once a week (on average) during the four-week-long program.
Along with lessons from the Adopt-A-Pilot curriculum, the program reinforces important messages such as:
- Education is important and to stay in school
- Just like parents and teachers, the community cares about each child
- Learning is fun
- Future goals are possible through planning, hard work, and determination
At no cost to the participating school, we provide all the necessary program supplies. The curriculum can either be obtained online or in hard copy format, and a box of program materials will be shipped to both the teachers’ schools and the Pilots’ homes in early January. Southwest also honors each participating Pilot with a custom-designed tie to wear as a uniform piece throughout the year.
The program suggests one hour-long class visit per week for four weeks. Pilots donate additional time by way of scheduling, traveling to/from the school, sending emails, post cards, or other correspondence from the road, and helping with other optional activities, such as field trips.
We suggest that parents speak with their child's teachers about ways to participate in the program, which may include joining the class during the Pilot visits, helping their child complete the course curriculum, or discussing what their child has learned in the career-based activities.
If a Pilot has already approached you about participating in the program, they will complete the online registration and you will be notified through email. If you have not already been "adopted" by a Pilot, please complete the teacher registration. We will do our best to find a Pilot, but unfortunately there is no guarantee we’ll have an available Pilot in your community.
Teacher registration is available exclusively online and runs in late summer and early fall each year. Check out the Adopt-A-Pilot registration page for more details.