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Can our school use the ACE Program as an after-school program (if no teachers are using the ACE Program during the school day)?

This situation was field-tested during the testing phase of the ACE Program, and it did not yield desirable results. Since ACE is designed as a grade-specific program, it was somewhat challenging to coordinate and provide appropriate ACE lessons to groups of students made up of multiple grade levels, which is common in after-school arrangements. It was reported that after-school program attendance was inconsistent, which negatively impacted the cost-effectiveness of our program. Additionally, after-school teachers reported that students’ attention during formal learning experiences waned after their 7- to 8-hour school day. After-school educators reported that students wanted to get their homework done and play rather than engage in structured lessons, even though our lessons included hands-on activities. But, if the circumstances are such that all students could receive the required 10 lessons, this is not prohibited.

Based on these results, CAP’s AEX Program is better suited for after-school programs. More information about the Aerospace Education Excellence (AEX) Award Program is available at by clicking “AEX” located in the blue AEM column.  AEX is more flexible than the ACE Program in part because it is not grade-specific and has more lenient requirements. Additionally, the aerospace activities presented as part of AEX can be shorter in length and less structured than ACE lessons.

In the event you select the AEX Program for your after-school program, you can still use ACE lesson plans, if you desire, to help satisfy some or all of the lesson requirements for AEX. If other teachers at your school decide to participate in ACE, please check with them first, though, to avoid duplicating ACE lessons. If classroom teachers at your school decide to participate in the ACE Program, you may wish to coordinate with them to conduct ACE enrichment/extension activities with some of the students after school. To view the ACE teacher guides online, log into eServices at, and then click “AE Downloads.”

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