After two years of convening virtually, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools was thrilled to bring together 45 prizewinning teachers in Colorado July 6-10. The gathering called “Let’s Build It” is designed to produce inventive ideas to lift-up skilled trades students, educators, and their communities.
While the prize shines a light on these excellent skilled trades teachers annually, the energy and collaboration when these remarkable educators from around the country come together is palpable. They participated in a packed, three-day agenda including visits to two prizewinning teacher’s high schools in the Denver area, project and leadership development facilitated by the Drucker Institute from Claremont Graduate University, and outdoor activities to build teamwork and enjoy the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
The theme of Let’s Build It 2022 was “Better Together – Soaring to New Heights.” The main objective of the convening is to produce creative ideas that could dramatically improve and ripple through skilled trades teaching, learning and promotion of excellence nationally. Some of these ideas turn into pilot projects funded by Harbor Freight Tools for Schools. Pilot projects are teacher-led projects that start small, a “minimum viable product,” and through invention and learning, could grow and spread to lift-up skilled trades education.
Staci Sievert, prizewinning industrial technology teacher from Seymour Community High School in Wisconsin, shared a bit about her experience in Colorado. “The best and most surprising part about Let’s Build It is how energizing it is. I guess I should have expected it, but you put over 40 prizewinning teachers together who are motivated and are all sharing ideas and are so excited to learn from each other. That’s the best part!”