Our House #4, Q’s +A’s, July 5, 2016

In response to some questions about who is going to participate in the Our House project here is a document that you will be seeing and discussing:


Q: What is the Our House?

A: The “Our House” is a collaborative project involving many partners including: New Frontiers School board, Habitat for Humanity, Municipality of Ormstown, EcoHabitation (LEED), and many other groups, businesses and individuals too numerous to mention here.

In a nutshell, the Carpentry Program at CVCEC will be constructing 2 semi-detached, LEED certified homes in the village of Ormstown to be “sold” to select, disadvantaged families through the Habitat for Humanity selection procedure. The houses will be constructed here at the Centre in “units” (or “modules”) and then delivered to the designated lot and assembled there.

Q: When will the project start?

A: As soon as possible after the School Board shut down – early August.

Q: Do I have to work on this project?

A: No. No one is obliged to spend any time working on the project. Your participation will be totally on a volunteer basis.

Q: How will working on the house affect my hours of school?

A: School will continue and classes will function as normal regardless of what stage the Our House is in. If you volunteer and are selected on any give day, you will leave your class and work with the teachers assigned to the project and your attendance will not be affected.

Q: What are the benefits of working on the project?

A: You will have the chance to work on a permanent building that will last for generations of owners. You will be able to apply techniques and concepts you have already learned and learn new ones. You will be working in small groups with an assigned teacher so the hands-on time will be focused and intense. You will participate in a project that you can use as part of your work experience history (we will design a “certificate of participation” as proof of your hours). You will learn about energy efficiency and environmental design. You will learn about modular construction and the specific techniques required. You will be a member of the first Carpentry Vocational Education Program in the province to participate in a project to build a LEED certified home with Habitat for Humanity.

Q: How many students will be on the project at any given time?

A: Although the details have yet to be worked out, the goal is to have between 2 and 8 students per day on the teams.

Q: How will students be chosen to participate?

A: Every student who wishes will have the chance to work on the project, but students who have the best attendance, who have accomplished the work assigned in their classes, who participate in their class’s work assignments most fully will have priority in the selection process.

Students will be asked to sign up to indicate their willingness to participate, and the team of the day will be selected by the assigned teacher(s) with the team changing in whole or in part every day. Every eligible student will have a chance to participate.

Q: What are the expectations of the students working on the project?

A: The Our House will be less like school and more like the “real” job site. Of course teaching and explanations will happen and quality learning is of utmost importance. Having said that, working on this project will be a privilege and not a right, so showing up on time at the beginning of the day and after breaks and lunch is expected. Hard work and dedicated effort is also key to being asked to return to the build. Likewise inappropriate cell phone use is strongly discouraged. A student may be asked to leave if the spirit of these guidelines is not respected.

Q: Can I choose the times I want to work on the project?

A: You can request, but the assigned teacher will select the members of the team of the day and have final say. Selection may happen the day before or the morning of – depending on the task at hand and the number of students needed.

Q: What if I have an exam and cannot participate?

A: School and success in the program comes first, although participation in the build may act as an alternative where appropriate.

Q: Is there anything else I should know?

A: This is a work in progress, so the terms and conditions of the build and your participation in it will have to adapt to the realities and needs of the Centre. Rest assured that all questions and comments will be addressed in your classes by the teaching team. Further questions and requests for clarification are welcome and will be answered as they arise.

So that is the core of the discussion we will be having….we will be having a meeting with all the groups to start the conversation….probably on Thursday this week after morning break. Be there is you want more info, have more questions or have comments!

See you there,




About jhcarpentry

I am a teacher in the Construction Carpentry Program at the Chateauguay Valley Career Education Centre (CVCEC) for the New Frontiers School board. This blog is a way for me to connect with my students.
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