While the Winston-Salem Forsyth County School (WSFCS) Board of Education modified the high school student reentry plan during an emergency meeting on January 21, select Career Technical Education (CTE) classes were allowed to return for in-person learning starting the week of January 25. At Reynolds this primarily includes drafting class, a CTE course taught by Andrew Biles.
The CTE curriculum encompasses drafting as a career and technical course because it includes applications to the real world that are significant for a multitude of reasons.
“Drafting is communication through technical drawing, it is how one communicates the engineering intent of a design or product,” drafting teacher Andrew Biles said. “Everything that is manufactured is drawn before it is produced or made. This is where drafting comes in the picture [when] we create those drawings.”
Drafting covers various industries and academic interests such as architecture, manufacturing, engineering, science, and mathematics. The class utilizes hands-on learning methods for credential attainment as well as software to create template drawings, multi-view drawings, isometrics, floor plans and 3-D models. This makes it critical for students to return in-person to both master the content and receive course credits.
“Eighty percent of my Drafting curriculum is based on the software we use in class,” Biles said. “Most students do not have access to this software at home. I am excited about students returning to school, especially for my classes as the software is essential for students to learn my curriculum.”
For this reason, students in drafting were given personalized schedules if they opted to return in person, with requirements to follow safety protocols.
“I know a lot of people have concerns about in-person and those concerns are real,” Biles said. “The school has done a great job preparing for students to return.”
The school has implemented a number of precautions to ensure the safety of those who return to Reynolds, making it a safe learning environment for everyone.
“Hallways are marked with directional arrows, stairwells are designated up or down and desks are spaced and marked for student use,” Biles said. “The custodians have worked very hard to ensure the building, desks, and computers are cleaned and sanitized every day.”
Teachers such as Biles have had to adjust their teaching style to accommodate both the students learning virtually through Zoom and those who are back in the building.
“I will be teaching the software to my in-person students while my remote students will be working on assignments in Canvas,” Biles said. “It will take some back-and-forth and patience for me and my students to get in the groove. It will be a challenge, but I think we will be up to the task.”
These students are some of the first to return in-person to Reynolds this year and will likely be a demonstration for the Board of Education and Interim Superintendent Tricia McManus on the ability for the school systems to provide a safe reentry schedule.
For the remaining students not in select CTE classes, the Board decided to delay the ‘B Plan’ cohort style schedule for another four weeks, pushing back the return of ninth graders to February 1 and ten through twelfth graders to February 22.
Amidst so much uncertainty this year, with numerous changes to student schedules and the plans for returning, we can be thankful for teachers like Andrew Biles who remain committed to his students.
“We as teachers want the best for our students,” Biles said. “We will work hard to get them the best education possible whether that is in-person or online.”