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    Interagency Academy Students Give Back to the Community at Madrona Elementary
    Posted on 10/05/2018
    Students work together to build garden boxes

    Interagency Academy Students Give Back to the Community at Madrona Elementary

    Visitors to the Madrona Elementary School garden will now see five new garden boxes lined up against the wall. The juniper garden boxes were a result of a collaborative effort between Interagency Academy CTE (Career and Technical Education) students and Madrona Elementary School fifth graders. The level of effort, planning, and teamwork that went into the boxes may not entirely be seen until one has a conversation with Jay Connolly, the CTE teacher from Interagency Academy.

    The inspiration for the project came from the students enrolled in the manufacturing technology class at Interagency Academy.

    “My students wanted to work with children as part of their volunteer service work,” said Jay Connolly, CTE Instructor. “We were approached by the Madrona PTA with building materials and supplies.”

    The community that backed these efforts also made a $500 donation to the Interagency Academy manufacturing technology class for future projects.

    Connolly said that the garden project was very similar to what students could expect out in the workplace if they decided to pursue careers in building trades or construction.

    “My students initially did a CAD drafting and sent it to PTA for approval, and we also provided the PTA with a list of items we needed to build the boxes. Madrona essentially was our customer.” CAD (computer-aided design) is a widely used software program in the engineering and architectural fields.

    The core of the class is focused on preparing students for the workplace. Therefore, there is a huge emphasis on modeling real-life career setting for students.

    “Students are organized into production teams, and a project manager is assigned. Rodriguez 'BJ' Green was the manager for the Madrona project. He planned production timelines and was responsible for materials handling and quality control. When a student couldn’t show up, they needed to let BJ know,” said Connolly.

    Students were also exposed to the academic tie in. Math and English Language Arts are critical components when it comes to drafting quotes, writing business emails, and creating layouts. Connolly mentioned that the broader goal of CTE is to expose students to various industries and to provide students and their families with opportunities for economic stability.

    A rewarding aspect of teaching the course is seeing students becoming more confident and developing a growth mindset to their learning. Connolly stated, “I see them with more open minds and positive attitudes, and they push themselves as there are tangible results to their work.”

    Michael, a fourth-grade student from Madrona Elementary said his favorite part of the day was learning how to drill. The younger students were paired with older peers under Connolly’s guidance. Antonaya and Allayah, students at Interagency, liked being able to give back to the community by creating something that had lasting significance.

    Come spring, expect to see the harvest from the garden at the Columbia City Farmer’s Market. Students from the Interagency Columbia School’s Garden Program will be selling salad greens and produce. Be sure to come out, support the students, and say hello!