ShareThis Page

Derry High teaches public service

| Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
John Baum, one of the instructors for Derry Area High School’s new Transitional Technologies program, helps student Annie Goubron with a woodworking project.
John Baum, one of the instructors for Derry Area High School’s new Transitional Technologies program, helps student Annie Goubron with a woodworking project.

Educators and administrators at Derry Area High School have developed a win-win situation with the school's new Transitional Technologies program.

Students get hands-on instruction and experience in multiple subject areas such as woodworking, masonry, carpentry and electrical work while helping the district maintain and improve its facilities. Students also garner advice on entering the job market and crafting attractive resumés.

Technology educator John Baum and learning support teacher David McCleary teach the group of roughly 15 mostly upperclassmen for two periods per day.

“The way it was before, just having a couple learning support kids in with 20 other kids, they weren't getting the attention that they really needed,” Baum said. “Now we can really focus on the kids that really need the extra help because there's two of us in the classroom together.”

So far, students have repaired and refinished benches along the walking path near the school and fixed playground equipment at Grandview Elementary School.

“We're doing a lot of public service-type activities here,” Baum said. “We're repairing the benches we have along the walking path and over around the lake. We helped fix a playground up at Grandview for the elementary kids. We're going to be doing the roofs for the dugouts, both the baseball and softball dugouts. We're going to be replacing the roofs on those buildings.

“We've done some woodworking here. We're learning how to operate the machines in the wood shop,” Baum said. “The kids have operated all the machines. They've taken all the safety tests. They've also built a couple projects already. We're going to be moving on to some electrical. We're going to do some concrete work. We're going to do some plumbing.”

In addition to useful technical skills, the program helps students prepare to enter the job market.

“A lot of them are learning support students working toward their transitional goals. Our mission here is to develop skills for these kids, so when they get out in the job market, they're marketable,” Baum said. “We're going to try to help them with job placement.”

Baum said he expects interest in the program to increase next school year. Because the class was devised after student scheduling took place for the school year, guidance counselors helped interested students adjust their schedules to participate.

“This year, when we start scheduling in January, it will be on the sheet when they pick their classes for next year,” Baum said. “I definitely think we're going to get more kids. Word's getting out about some of the things we're doing, and I think kids are definitely on board with this.”

Derry Area Superintendent David Welling spoke to the class earlier in the school year about how to present themselves when interviewing for a job, and Baum said other speakers and field trips are lined up for the class.

“We're all kind of working together as a team here,” Baum said. “It truly is a win-win situation for everybody involved, but mainly for the kids.”

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913, or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.