COULEE DAM - As part of their summer school project, working in the Lake Roosevelt High School woodshop, Colville tribal members Elijah Palmanteer and Aidan Palmateer have worked to build a 16-foot skiff.
It’s been fun, said Elijah Palmanteer, who said the most challenging part was making sure measurements have been correct.
The most enjoyable? “Seeing it come together,” said Elijah Palmanteer.
The Grand Coulee Dam School District and the state of Washington require students to have two full Career Technical Education Credits, which would include woodshop, metals shop, autoshop, computers, and business classes amongst other classes.
“In a typical classroom when I taught wood and autoshop, we had five to 10 minutes talking about what we are going to do. We set up, got tools out, got going, and then we had10 minutes at the end of class to talk about what we did. You might have 40 minutes of work time in a standard class,” said Lake Roosevelt High School CTE instructor Mark Herndon. “In summer school, this class is a four hour class. It’s the same classroom. They go off to get lunch. We take breaks at a natural time with the work. If the bell rang and we are in the middle of setting fiber glass, these kids have the chance to finish it.”
The 20-day summer school session results in 80 hours of instruction, comparable to a full semester, which allows 90 hours to earn a credit, said Herndon.
“Really we have more time of instruction and hands on work in 20 days of summer school than we have in a 90-day semester,” said Herndon.
“If you came into Mr. Largent’s regular woodshop or my regular shop we’d spend the first two weeks on safety, then we might work out way into a cutting board and finish with a birdhouse,” said Herndon. “This is a significant project... People don’t get the chance to do this. We’re hoping this establishes a lifetime set of skills and these boys can reflect on this. It’s a big project, but there are a lot small pieces.”
The students have used a number of different tools in the shop and when a new tool is needed Largent and Herndon provide an overview of the tool and a safety briefing on the tool before the class use it.
“This is multifaceted and something like this allows the students to learn project management,” said Herndon.
The most important tool? A tape measurer, said Elijah Palmanteer, and a pencil, said Herndon.
“Reading the plans is huge,” said teacher Lee Largent. “Everything we do in high school shop might have a page of plans. This is complex.”
“We are learning all these different skills one piece at a time,” said Herndon.