World Cafe Builds Strong Communities and Educator Experiences in Wake County

Written by Rachel Fleming (Gilbane Building Company)

\"GilbaneGilbane Building Company is proud to be a WakeEd partner in fostering educational opportunities for both students and educators.

This year was our first year participating in World Cafe, which was a very inspiring event, as a room full of industry professionals volunteered their time to support various projects and initiatives.  Following World Cafe, we had the pleasure of visiting Brooks Elementary School, where we engaged with almost 100 bright third graders about the design and construction process and explained how their classroom math unit on area and perimeter is used every day in our industry.  The best part of the morning was seeing the students working in groups to measure the area and perimeter of chairs, tables, and other objects in the room.

During World Cafe, we were also partnered with A. B. Combs Magnet Elementary School. We had the privilege of meeting Principal of the Year Muriel Summers and seeing her passion for her students’ growth and development.  We partner with WakeEd for the opportunity to support the vision of leaders like Ms. Summers and to strengthen our community.  A. B. Combs students of all ages participated in their Chicken Coop project and we helped along the way by creating a cost estimate template for the project and by judging the presentations of the various coop components to determine the final design.

Gilbane is currently building the new Hortons Creek Elementary School for WCPSS. In a few weeks, we will have a group of WCPSS educators visit the construction site for an educator immersion experience, which provides them with authentic contexts and problems from which they can develop interdisciplinary project-based learning units.  These units create dynamic environments in which students learn core content in an applied setting and develop essential problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills.  While at our Hortons Creek Elementary job site the educators will tour the construction project while hearing about site preparation and design challenges to gain a better understanding of the skills, knowledge, and experiences that will best prepare their students for career paths in the construction industry.

Our school construction projects also provide an exciting real-world classroom for students to see, experience, and understand all that goes into building a building.  Students from the Apex Friendship High School Academy of Engineering visited the site during their structural design class project.  Logan Lewis said: \”There is a lot of work that needs to be done for each part of the project.  If each part isn\’t working, it will fail.\” Anthoney Deaton added that, “\”I had never been to a construction site before.  So what surprised me was all the material on the site and how much the crane could lift!\”  It is an incredibly rewarding experience to see students’ faces light up with curiosity and intrigue as they gain a new experience.  Paul Pierron, Gilbane’s Project Engineer at Hortons Creek, shared: “By getting faculty and students on a job site, and continuing visits throughout the projects’ life cycle, it truly allows for a better perspective of the construction, architecture, and engineering industry as a whole.  No longer is a construction project simply a group of workers in hard hats swinging hammers.  It can be seen for the complicated, living and evolving entity that requires cross collaboration by countless experts and professionals from all walks of life.”

We appreciate all the support that Teresa Pierrie and WakeEd have provided to help us bring learning experiences to WCPSS educators and students.  Gilbane is a proud WakeEd partner because we are committed to building stronger communities in which our employees live and their children attend school.


Excited to have @AFHS_Engineers at our @WCPSS Hortons Creek site today! #BuildingMoreThanBuildings

— GilbaneNorthCarolina (@GilbaneNC) September 12, 2016

Congrats @ABCombsES on the Idea Crucible award! We are excited to help your project come to life! #worldcafe2016

— GilbaneNorthCarolina (@GilbaneNC) January 5, 2016

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