Shed-ucation with the HS Home Improvement Course


At the high school, the 20 students participating in the brand-new home improvement program recently built a fully functional shed from scratch, learning all of the necessary construction techniques under the direction of teacher John Abeltin. While becoming familiarized with tools and materials, the students are mastering valuable skills such as basic wiring, including outlets and switches; painting plumbing; framing; designing with a hypotenuse; and cutting rafters.

They did a fabulous job, and are totally engaged in learning the basics of construction,” said Abeltin, who has 30 years of experience as a contractor under his belt. He taught middle school with Deer Park for a quarter-century, but moved up to the high school specifically to imbue the home improvement course with his deep knowledge of construction.

“This home improvement course is a great addition to our technology offerings in Deer Park,” said David Knuffke, the district’s curriculum associate for science and technology. “The kinds of hands-on, practical skills that the students learned when building the shed will help prepare them for life beyond the walls of our high school. Courses like this also help align our technology program with the types of engineering practices that New York State is moving towards with its recent adoption of new science learning standards, which put an emphasis on practical problem solving and designed engineering solutions. We’re fortunate to have Mr. Abeltin on staff to develop the course. He’s a master carpenter, and the students respect his knowledge and enjoy the opportunity to work with him. I’m excited to see where the program goes from here.”