During the 2023 International Builders Show hosted by the National Association of Home Builders, Roxbury High School was recognized with the NAHB/Builders Mutual Insurance Company Safety Award for Excellence (SAFE) for a student chapter.
Roxbury High School’s Structural Design & Fabrication (SDF) Teacher, Frank Caccavale, was in Las Vegas to accept the award and was joined by members of the Metropolitan Builders and Contractors Association of New Jersey, our local chapter of NAHB.
Roxbury High School is the only student chapter of NAHB in the state of New Jersey.
RHS and Frank Caccavale were recognized for their commitment to student safety in the school technology and engineering education courses.
Students enrolled in SDF begin their program by earning their OSHA 10-hour in Construction card, a certification that Caccavale has become an authorized outreach trainer in.
Safety is infused throughout the entire course. Caccavale explained, “I believe that a high school’s two greatest responsibilities are to ensure student safety, and to help prepare them for life after high school, in that order! Our program’s safety curriculum and plan accomplish both of these goals simultaneously. Our class begins each year with a rigorous safety curriculum that leads to OSHA 10-Hour certification in construction, and safety remains a core tenant of the curriculum throughout the entire course.”
Caccavale has served as a reviewer and a presenter on critical student safety documents and resources created by the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association.
Roxbury’s SDF program is now in its fourth year. It officially began in September 2019 as part of Roxbury Reimagine, where the district took 2,500 square feet of space and rededicated it back as a learning environment at Roxbury High School. This area once housed the school’s auto shop and later was used for district storage.
Roxbury High School’s SDF course lays a strong foundation for college and career success by teaching students fundamentals in the field. Students learn how to work safely in the shop and construction environments and develop skills that will give them a true competitive advantage in their careers. Students have the opportunity to work both individually and in teams to design and build projects.
One of Caccavale’s favorite projects included building a modular home in partnership with Morris Habitat for Humanity.
“Throughout the course, students gain experience and knowledge in all aspects of home building through the completion of a modular home in the school parking lot. Throughout this project, students gain skills in reading an architectural plan, framing, siding, roofing, plumbing, electrical, insulation, drywall, and more.”
“This project is done in partnership with Morris Habitat for Humanity and at the completion of the project at the school, our home gets moved by crane to a site in town, where the home is completed and a family in need moves into the home and our community.”
“This past summer, we finished our first home, and students this year have already begun the second student-built Habitat for Humanity home. In fact, our entire community rallied around our first project, and again on the second. We’ve seen members of our community donate their time to work with our students, donate products and funds to help complete the projects, and become our biggest cheerleaders and supporters, helping to elevate our students studying the skilled trades into our towns’ rockstars!”
Upon completion of the SDF pathway, students can enter the Carpenters Apprenticeship Training program through the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. Through coursework and career guidance, students earn a competitive advantage in the job market. Whether students choose to go into a career related to the skilled trades, engineering, construction, or architecture, or just use these skills when they become homeowners, the experiences and lessons learned in SDF will stick with students for life.
“Students leave this course with not only a thorough understanding of safety and experience in residential construction but also with the confidence that they can set a goal and complete a task, whether it’s a small goal that took them just a class period to do or a large goal like building a home. Through our course, students get real world practice in skills such as work ethic, decision making, and teamwork that will prepare them for any direction life takes them after high school,” shared Caccavale.
Photo courtesy of Roxbury High School