Ventura woodshop program takes home top award!

Balboa Middle School wins Program of the Year for outstanding Woodshop program.

Balboa Middle School’s Woodshop Program, under the direction and talent of Mr. Paul Fredette, was awarded the 2023 California Industrial and Technology Education Association (CITEA) Middle School Program of the Year award. Mr. Greg Hanger, CITEA President, presented Mr. Fredette with the award at the April 18, 2023 VUSD Board of Education meeting. The award is given to a program with outstanding curriculum design and integration, reflecting academic and technical content. In addition, it shows strong connections to the community through local businesses, industries, and an advisory board.

“Mr. Fredette’s woodshop program is where students build, create, and apply their academic skills in hands-on, relevant ways. Our students find success under Mr. Fredette’s patience and kind guidance. One of the assignments given in woodshop is to show their projects to our administrative team. We marvel at the skill and attention our students put into these projects, and the pride in their finished product is evident on their faces. Ventura Unified believes in this digital age, students working with their hands is critical to developing the whole child. We are extremely grateful for Mr. Fredette and his steadfast belief that the woodshop is a place where all students can succeed,” stated Balboa Principal Claudia Caudill.

Mr. Fredette has been teaching since 1989. He taught two years in a rural school district in Wisconsin, one year in El Monte City School District, and the rest of the time at Ventura Unified School District. Two of his shop teachers strongly encouraged him to enter into the teaching profession. His philosophy on teaching is “Learn by doing.” He believes hands-on classes like the one he teaches show students the content of the information that a teacher is trying to get across by having the student walk through the process.

Edison Electric Company, Ventura County Carving Club, Ventura County Woodturning Club, and the Model Aviation Club are just a few of the groups who have joined his class to speak and mentor. Guest speakers have included engineers, welders, and retired shop teachers. He also meets with a group of Industrial Arts teachers from across the county/state via Zoom meetings to collaborate and exchange ideas for use in the classroom. The last workshop they participated in was on integrated construction methods.

“I feel blessed at having the job I have had for all these years. It has been very rewarding,” stated Mr. Fredette. His students feel just as blessed.

“Mr. Fredette makes his classes very interactive and fun. He always has a joke and makes the classroom a healthy environment. He inspired me to pursue woodworking, and I know he will inspire many more students, said 8th-grade student Haley Jourdain.

“I like Mr. Fredette because when you need help, he helps you right away, and I also like it because we play games in his class to learn,” said 6th grader Kendra Sullivan.


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