A hands on cooperative approach to learning lets students practice math and help community organizations at the same time.
The smell of pizza wafted through the air at the Hinesburg Police Station, into which staff moved just weeks earlier.
It wasn’t pig-out day for the officers, instead they were celebrating with students from the Hinesburg Community School’s Essential Skills class in Vermont.
Essential Skills provides support to students in need of a boost in certain areas.
Eighth graders Tyler St. Hilaire, Kyle Rivers and Corey Marshall visited the station to put the finishing touches on shelving units they had crafted. Through Essential Skills they were learning about math and using a hands-on approach.
Hinesburg Community Police Chief Frank Koss was looking to install shelving units into his department’s new office. When pricing out pigeon hole-style shelves, he was surprised to learn about the expense, more than $560.
After speaking with Essential Skills instructor Len Schmidt, a partnership seemed appropriate.
For a fraction of the cost – about $140, for materials – Schmidt’s students build the shelves, including a large area for police resource materials, and a storage unit for officer’s equipment.
“It was a good deal,” Koss explained. The station received wonderfully crafted shelves and the students could feel proud of a job well done.
The collaboration occurred through excellent timing, Koss said. If the department was still in its former station, there wouldn’t have been a need for the shelves. Luckily it moved into its new building, located right next door, Feb. 1, and the pupils were able to get to work.
In addition to its snazzy new shelves, the department spans 3,500 square feet, with room for its six full-time-equivalent officers and other staff, an interview and conference room complete with audio/visual recording equipment, and a Datamaster machine, meaning those brought into the station for suspicion of DUI could be tested in-house rather than being transported to Shelburne as had previously been the case, Koss noted.
Upstairs offered 800 square feet of open space, giving the department room to grow, and an attached garage can house four vehicles so officers can spend less time scraping ice and respond quickly to calls.
St. Hilaire, Rivers and Marshall used tools to screw in the last screws and add the finishing accents to their work, wrapping up the 2-3 weeklong project. They explained how the course helps their overall school career. They needed to put fractions to work, figuring out how to turn plywood into shelves, St. Hilaire explained.
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