Focus on Shafter High School - Nov. 21, 2019
Teaching students a trade: Woodshop; 'Build something and be proud of it'
November 21, 2019 | View PDF
Produced by SHS and coordinated by English teacher Larissa Davis
Shafter High School strives to teach students not just academics but skills they can take into the world. Many of the courses on campus focus on vocational skills that teach students a trade that can lead them to a career after high school. Shafter High is one of five schools in the high school district that proudly offers woodshop as a vocational Career Technical Education class.
The last few years, Shafter High School has revamped the Woodshop program to better serve students. Justin Verrell, the woodshop teacher, was hired in the fall of 2017 and brought a fresh perspective to the program. The program consists of three courses that build on each other: Industrial Arts, Wood 1, and Wood 2. Industrial Arts is the introductory course that teaches students drafting, woodworking and cold metals. The course focuses on basic use of measurements, drawings and equipment. The students have the opportunity to make small projects, such as a picture frame, jewelry box, dust pan, tool box and an outdoor water hose holder.
Wood 1 builds upon the skills learned from Industrial Arts to work on bigger projects in cabinetry, such as a nightstand.
The goal of Wood 1 is to give students multiple opportunities to learn and relearn construction methods throughout the course so they can succeed in the final project. Finally, Wood 2 continues to build on the skills learned in the program to work on even bigger projects. Students complete a bookcase, adirondack chair and entertainment center during this capstone course.
The past four years, Shafter High School has partnered with Bakersfield College to offer students in the woodshop program college credit for the coursework they do in the high school classroom. The students do the same projects at Shafter as they do at BC. This opportunity allows students to not repeat courses at the collegiate level, enter college with credits making them ahead of graduation pace, and ultimately save money.
Justin Verrell got into teaching woodshop by watching his father teach the same subject for over 30 years in the high school district. His "biggest goal for this class is not to have 30 kids enter carpentry. [He] want[s] 30 kids to build something and be proud of it." Justin believes that being proud of something "develops a character that few students have. This character can be taken into their life moving forward." Justin is excited for the growth of the program and looks forward to seeing what his students can achieve each year.