When you’re learning a hands-on subject, it can be challenging to practice your skills online. Carpentry students who have mastered the use of power drills, nail guns, and table saws can’t build a bookshelf, birdhouse, or garden shed with a keyboard.
That’s why seniors enrolled in Carpentry 2 returned to school November 30 for in-person construction technology classes. In order for Carpentry 2 students to earn marketable industry credentials, they are required to complete a certain number of hours of hands-on carpentry work. Six scholars participated in the first in-person Carpentry 2 class of the school year: Jaysun Smith, Deontae’ Roach, Darius Franks, Calandra Queen, Dianshe Robinson, and William Ellerbe.
“We kicked it off by having kids set up their tool bags,” explained Carpentry instructor Ian Milne. “IDEA purchased a speed square, measuring tape, utility knife, gloves, eye protection, and construction pencils for each student. That way no one will be sharing frequently used equipment, and the tool bags and tools will be theirs to keep after graduation.”
Scholars and staff are following all CDC and DC Health COVID-19 protocols to ensure their health and safety. Class will primarily be held in the 10’ x 100’ heated tent on the concrete pad outside of the gym. On Mondays only, scholars will arrive at 10am for Carpentry class. Afterward they will safely participate in their regular online Zoom classes in an IDEA classroom.
During the first in-person class, Mr. Milne and the students gathered scrap lumber to construct tool stands for their new workspace. The next project will be building elevated garden beds using lumber left over from the previous school year. Mr. Milne will solicit ideas from scholars for other future projects. The class will also work toward completing their Carpentry 1 certifications, as that process was halted last year when school shut down because of COVID-19.