- Cherry Creek School District No. 5
Learning and construction continues in CCIC’s tiny homes project
At the beginning of the school year, students in the Infrastructure Engineering Pathway at the Cherry Creek Innovation Campus (CCIC) learned that they would be building tiny homes to be donated to the Colorado Village Collaborative to combat homelessness.
However, when the global outbreak of COVID-19 led to the transition to remote learning, teachers at the CCIC decided that they could not waste the opportunity to model the value of giving back. They wanted to finish what was started. After consulting with the school’s industry partners to understand the guidelines currently being used in construction, teachers developed a safety plan to finish building the houses. Teachers worked on the houses at the CCIC while filming videos to show to students learning at home.
“We felt like we were so invested in this project and wanted to do whatever it took to get it done,” said math teacher Mike Degitis, who has been part of the construction process since the beginning. When the six housing units are done, they will be going to the Beloved Village to help support women who are experiencing homelessness.
Cole Chandler, director of the Colorado Village Collaborative, expressed gratitude to the CCIC staff for their partnership and commitment to completing this project in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This health crisis reveals how completely critical these housing units are to keep people safe and healthy, and we're grateful that these homes will be ready to deliver to our new village very soon,” Cole said.
Jordan Yoakam, a junior in the Infrastructure Engineering Pathway, shared that he missed being at the CCIC because the school community feels like a second family. Everyone at the CCIC cares about each other and acts with dignity and respect. He is grateful to his teachers, who have helped him through inspiration and connection.
“Our teachers inspire us to keep going, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have seen my teachers stay true to themselves during isolation and motivate us to learn,” Yoakam said.
Maddie Paulison, also a junior in the pathway, shared that she misses the work and learning new things about the construction industry.
“I learned how to use specific tools and to use the correct tool for the correct job,” Paulison said. “I also learned about determination and perseverance. I am someone who likes to keep working until the job is done, but this pathway has helped me understand that sometimes you need to step back and see what you have done in order to keep moving forward.”
The CCIC, which includes seven career pathways for students, has prided itself since opening in August, 2019 on providing hands-on learning for students. With learning now taking place at students’ homes, educators have provided webinars, online demonstrations and other ways to meet student needs so they can work toward earning their certificates.
Degitis praised his students, who worked hard to get the tiny homes to about 75% completion.
“The hardest part is not having the kids here,” Degitis said. “We miss you and wish you were here. Remember, this is your project and it wouldn’t be possible without all your hard work.”
Tributes to teachers and school nurses
Acknowledge teachers and school nurses with a tax deductible donation to the Cherry Creek Schools Emergency Relief Fund. The Foundation will email them your personalized message of appreciation. Make a donation of any amount in your honoree’s name, and CCSF takes care of the rest, https://bit.ly/CCSDRelief.