Delaware high school celebrates six years with ICC’s HSTTP
Bob Bogdziewicz, engineering design technology instructor for Polytech High School in Kent County, Del., shares some updates about the International Code Council’s High School Technical Training Program (HSTTP) and praise from a variety of students.
Polytech High School in Kent County, Del., has offered students in the engineering design technology shop the opportunity to earn certification through the Code Council’s HSTTP for a sixth year. The certification was originally offered to seniors in the computer aided drafting and design shop for the class of 2014; four students were successful at achieving their certificate. Since then, the shop has transitioned into an engineering shop using Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum. I initially thought the program was in jeopardy of ending. As things evolved, the HSTTP course was able to be built into the civil engineering and architecture course prescribed by PLTW during the student’s junior year.
The PLTW civil engineering and architecture course already touched on the importance of residential building codes as it led students through a project-based learning activity to design a house that met Habitat for Humanity guidelines in its residential design unit.
In order to keep the program alive, Code Wednesday was established. Once the student gets to the point where the PLTW curriculum begins covering foundations, floors, walls etc., the appropriate International Residential Code (IRC) Study Companion chapters are reviewed mid-week for nine weeks straight and students prepare for the certification test. Students work collaboratively in small groups to find the answers to the questions provided in the chapters and highlight them in their copy of the code book. Another two Wednesday’s are spent in review on how to efficiently develop strategies to navigate the 2015 IRC before students are ready for testing. Most students are successful at meeting the scoring criteria the first time the test is taken. This year, two students were able to answer all 30 questions correctly within the one-hour time frame. A few persisted and were successful on the retest.
I believe the experience with using the vocabulary and reviewing the contents of the code is very valuable to the student’s overall understanding of architectural design. It is tough for many of the students to appreciate the complexity of the language, the need to sometimes cross-reference tables, and look out for exceptions at first, but it becomes very refreshing when I start to hear them use the language of the code in their conversations with each other. They put the fact that they are familiar with the IRC and have a certificate on their resume. The course provides good talking points when it becomes job interview time.
Current students shared the following thoughts:
The IRC High School Technical Training Program was very informational and a great learning experience for me. In the process of learning how to navigate the IRC book, I learned a lot of information about residential building that really put things into perspective. I can definitely say that after receiving my IRC certification I was a lot more aware of the true depth of residential building. — Jebreah Hull, class of 2020
The IRC certification and its program are very beneficial for anyone who wants to set themselves up for a bright future. This program taught very important skills and values when dealing with residential code and how to navigate. This experience has helped me to understand how to build a house that is beneficial for everyone and why a house is the way it is. Furthermore, the program will show colleges that I am dedicated to learning and will put me a step ahead of others in the future. — Stone Seip, class of 2020
Throughout our time working within the International Residential Code book, we were able to learn valuable skills and more importantly understand what part of the field of residential design is like. We were able to get a whole new perspective on the topic that we could have never had without the program. Having the certification will also show to employers and colleges that we are truly interested in a career in engineering. — Colby Lyon, class of 2020
The IRC High School Technical Training Program was a very good learning experience. While I learned the process of navigating the IRC book, I also learned about residential building. I encourage students who want to be in the engineering field to learn this curriculum to better their future opportunities. — Kiaurice Lockett, class of 2020