IDEA Public Charter School

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1027 45th St. NE, Washington, DC 20019 Phone: 202-399-4750
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Academy of Construction & Design

Director           Shelly Karriem
Instructors      Dennis Chestnut, Ian Milne 
The Academy of Construction and Design offers IDEA scholars more paths to gain postsecondary credentials, training, and education for career success. To learn more, contact Director Shelly Karriem at 202-399-4750 or
IDEA scholars in the Academy of Construction and Design progress from introductory core classes through specialized instruction and hands-on training. ACAD students in grades 10 through 12 can specialize in career and technical education pathways. Courses are taught in Construction Technology and Renewable Energy classrooms and training labs that support studies in math, design technology, sustainable building, blueprint reading, construction planning, and more.
Bright Futures Boot Camp

ACAD offers this writing, career, and life skills workshop series throughout the school year to help students build a college and career portfolio, including resume, college admission and scholarship essays; interviewing and business networking skills; email etiquette, and more. These skills set IDEA scholars apart as they compete for internships, college admission, and employment opportunities.

ABC National Mentorship Program Helps ACAD Students Dream Big

ACAD's 2017 collaboration with the ABC [Associated Builders and Contractors] National Mentorship Program launched on January 27. ABC started last year at IDEA with freshmen enrolled in the Introduction to the Academy of Construction and Design class. The ABC team will mentor and follow these students through to graduation.
The kick-off event provided scholars with a preview of this year's monthly sessions and a motivational talk by Associated Builders and Contractors CEO Mike Bellaman. Mr. Bellaman spoke to the scholars on the freedom to choose, self-awareness, will power, and imagination. The scholars watched a video called "Carry Your Own Weather" about the freedom to choose.
On February 10, ABC staff led scholars in a discussion about their dream jobs. Following the discussion, students created vision boards of their dream jobs.
Upcoming discussions will include public speaking tips, skills needed for specific construction jobs, how to write resumes and cover letters, and mock interviews. 
´╗┐Tiny House and Future ACAD Home Building Featured on Curbed Washington, DC
December 15, 2016--Curbed Washington, DC highlighted the Academy of Construction and Design's previous work constructing a tiny house that is now on the market and ACAD's plans to build another micro house and a single-family home.
DC Department of Energy & Environment Awards RiverSmart Schools Grant to IDEA 

December 15, 2016--IDEA will grow even greener in 2017, thanks to a recent RiverSmart Schools grant from the DC Department of Energy and Environment. Funding from the grant will enable IDEA to transform the asphalt parking lot and alley into an eco-friendly area, including green space where we can plant more kitchen gardens and fruit trees. 

DC Students Construction Trade Foundation partners have agreed to demolish the asphalt at no cost to IDEA, and we will replace some of the surface with permeable tiles that prevent stormwater run-off that damages the Anacostia River. 

Casey Trees, which has collaborated before with IDEA's Green Club, has agreed to donate and help plant trees in the new green space.

Benefits of the grant will multiply for the school and community, as the new projects will improve the school environment, involve students in designing and building the new space, decrease the amount of IDEA's water bill so that money can be used for student projects, and ultimately help protect the Anacostia Watershed. 

Click here to learn more about the RiverSmart Schools initiative.
ACAD Students Install New Cistern on Handmade Base to Collect Rainwater to Irrigate Gardens

December 15, 2016--After building the base in construction class, Academy of Construction and Design students installed a 1,500-gallon cistern outside the school building to collect rainwater. The cistern will serve two purposes: use the rainwater to irrigate the gardens that students have created and maintain to feed students and the community, and divert stormwater run-off that pollutes the Anacostia River. 
Students Demonstrate Tiny House Features at Catalogue for Philanthropy Event

The DC Students Construction Trade Foundation, which sponsors IDEA's Academy of Construction and Design, was honored to be included in this year's Greater Washington Catalogue for Philanthropy, an annual listing of outstanding small to medium sized nonprofit organizations in our region. The Catalogue for Philanthropy celebrated its 2016 organizations at Inspiration to Action, held at Sidney Harman Hall on December 5. Several featured organizations made presentations, gave performances, or offered demonstrations. 

ACAD students marked off a section of the building to replicate the size of the tiny house that they and their predecessors had built, and indicated where various appliances and facets of the house were placed, explaining to event attendees how the house works. To learn more about the Greater Washington Catalogue for Philanthropy, visit 
Two Construction and Design Students Headed to Jamaica in February to Help Build a School

In February 2017, junior Kayla Fleming and sophomore Kyeon Ford will spend four days building a school in Portland Cottage, Jamaica. Fleming and Ford are students in IDEA's Academy of Construction and Design who were selected for the trip based on their dedication in their construction classes and their overall academic and personal achievements.
The trip is sponsored by John McMahon of Miller and Long Concrete Construction, who also serves as chairman of the DC Students Construction Trades Foundation, which sponsors the Academy of Construction and Design, and Craig Ruppert of Ruppert Landscape, in conjunction with nonprofit organization Food for the Poor. 
Construction Students Shop for Shed Supplies at Community Forklift
Ian Milne's construction students recently received a $350 grant to Community Forklift, an organization that accepts donations of gently used scrap construction materials and resells them to the community. Today they went shopping, looking for siding, roofing, doors, and windows for a shed they plan to build next to the kitchen garden behind IDEA.