SHERWOOD, Ore. — When Sherwood High School students start hybrid learning next week, they'll attend an entirely new school that was just finished at the end of last year. Teachers are using the new construction as an opportunity to get more students involved in trade careers.
Agriculture and welding teacher Allison Meadows has an upgraded classroom. She wants to expose the students to careers they might not have thought about.
"I think we are trying to transform the stigma trades students versus the college track," Meadows said. "I think it's been really successful here at Sherwood, our career and technical education programs have been. I feel like the stigma will fizzle with a little bit of leg work from our teachers."
The new Sherwood High School is 350,000 square feet and has a skybridge and four-story classroom wing with 110 rooms.
"We've added a lot more technology," Meadows said. "We've advanced a lot of our machinery so we can offer more things to students."
Meadows and another teacher worked together to develop a nine-week virtual program for students interested in the trades. Part of the class is learning from construction workers who built the new school and professionals from other industries.
"We've been bringing in professionals in steam fitting, welding, electricians, exteriors, dry wall, concrete, a lot of different varieties," Meadows said.
On the first day of the program last November, only three out of 180 students were interested in careers in trades. By the end, around half were interested. Meadows said it's all about giving kids options.
"If you want to go into construction, great, but it's not going to hurt if you take a welding class to understand the process of welding," Meadows said. "That's a life-long skill."