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High School, Elementary Students Build Homes for Birds

High school students from Islip Academic Center walked into the cafeteria at Tecumseh Elementary School, bearing 20 birdhouses they made for the grade school students. The two groups of students came together and painted the birdhouses so they could be brought home. Islip Academic Center (IAC) and Tecumseh Elementary School (TES) are both Eastern Suffolk BOCES schools. IAC provides support and services to high school-aged students with special needs, and TES provides special education series to students from kindergarten to sixth grade.

The students at IAC built and painted the birdhouses with white primer during their woodshop class. When they visited the students at TES, they brought colorful paint, stickers, glitter, glue, and other art supplies so the grade school students could decorate the birdhouses as they saw fit. During the visit, the older students from IAC helped the elementary school students in a variety of ways. Some students brainstormed ideas that could be painted on the birdhouses, while another used his artistic ability to draw an outline that his younger partner could color in.

The opportunity to work with students from another school was beneficial to the high school students from IAC. “A lot of our students don’t have siblings at home,” said David Rosman, teacher of Carpentry at IAC. “This gives them an opportunity to provide mentorship to someone that they could see as a younger brother or sister. It’s a way for them to give back, and see how much more there is outside of high school.”



 two students work together to paint the back panel of William’s birdhouse.

IAC Student Jason, left, Northport – East Northport UFSD, and TES student William, right, Connetquot CSD, work together to paint the back panel of William’s birdhouse.

 A student paints caricatures on the roof of his birdhouse.

William, Patchogue-Medford UFSD, paints caricatures on the roof of his birdhouse.

One student helps his younger friend by drawing an outline on the top of his birdhouse

Left, IAC student Sam, Levittown UFSD, helps TES student Alex, Central Islip UFSD, by drawing a cartoon character on Alex’s birdhouse.

 Two students work together to paint the roof of a birdhouse

Dawood, Connetquot CSD, decorates the roof of his birdhouse as Lenny, Copiague UFSD, looks on, offering advice.