New York City has 8,250,000 people and 975,000 buildings.
It also has the only high school program in the country for hands-on masonry preservation, building conservation and green sustainable construction.
This blog offers a glimpse into that program.

The textbook developed from the curriculum and lessons: "Masonry History Integrity An Urban
Conservation Primer" is a free download at this web site:

The recent entries are in the LinkedIn Group: Masonry History Integrity & Urban Conservation.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Being Tested

Final Exam:
A written test with questions pertaining to masonry, history, and preservation taken from ten previous class sessions. After finishing, students reviewed their own tests and I explained all incorrect answers.
This was followed by a practical "hands-on" demonstration of one masonry skill such as laying out various brick bonds, re-pointing brick mortar joints, building and stocking scaffolding, stone patching, stucco work, etc.
After finishing their project I explained correct methods and less-than- stellar masonry procedures.
Of Masonry, History and Integrity:
· Although forewarned at the start of class, one student broke trust by talking during the written test. Asked to change seats to prevent getting an “F” he refused and escalated the situation into an argument that led to his dismissal.
· Although failing the test on merits of integrity, he was allowed to return and continue the written and practical portions of the Final Exam. During the practical part of the test he apologized for his behavior. But the "F" remains.
I concluded this, the last class of the semester, by telling students that my purpose throughout the masonry preservation program was actually not to teach masonry, or history, because those things can be learned on job sites or from books.
It was for them to understand “Integrity.”
· Integrity – To do the right thing. To show up on time and listen, to follow instructions, work as a team and work to the best of one's ability.
Masonry is a tough profession and a good way to learn hard lessons. Fast.
It was through the exploration of masonry and the stories of courageous people that I hoped to teach Integrity.
It was in every session along the way, from the Guilds and Butch O’Hare to cleaning up the work site and feeling the pride of accomplishment.
"And it's something inside yourself, that you have to find for yourself.
Perhaps you didn't realize until now, at the end of the last class, but as you look back you'll see… it was all about Integrity. "

In truth, one of the highlights of teaching this program was seeing as the end of this last class, a light of recognition on every student’s face, an understanding of Integrity.

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