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Kirkwood Teacher Builds Bandsaw Table for SSD Student

 David Jackson and Josiah Burgard take a photo together on the woodworking shop.

March 8, 2024 - When David Jackson, a Nipher Middle School woodworking teacher in the Kirkwood School District, learned that Josiah Burgard, 7th-grade, was enrolled in his class, one of his top priorities was to make an accessible bandsaw table for him. A bandsaw is used to cut designs in wood. Most of the tabletops in the shop were too tall for Burgard to work with because he uses a wheelchair, so Jackson customized a table for him to match his arm reach and height. 

“When I looked at my roster for the year and saw that I would have Josiah second semester, I wanted to make sure that he was going to be able to enjoy the class and do as much work as possible on his own, so that he would have a sense of accomplishment,” said Jackson. “I calculated some of the measurements as I sat on a stool to check his comfort level and ease of use. I was able to repurpose some materials and it worked perfectly.”

So far, Burgard has used his customized bandsaw table to build a phone stand for one of his class projects. He used the machine to round off some of the edges. 

“It’s been really easy to use,” said Burgard. “It’s the perfect height because it was designed for me and it makes it easier to cut things at specific angles. On the first or second day of class, Mr. Jackson told me that he was going to start working on making a table for me. I thought that was very nice of him. It was completed in about a month and has been very useful.”

The table was also made to fit a drill press on the other end, so Josiah has full access to that machine too. Amy Wassman, special education coordinator, worked with the Kirkwood team on the idea. She says she was moved by Jackson’s dedication to ensure all students are afforded full participation in class. 

“When the assistant principal came to me with the thought, I jumped on the opportunity to collaborate with Kirkwood for Josiah’s benefit,” said Wassman. “I’m glad that Kirkwood and SSD have a seamless relationship that allows us to do cool things like this for our students! I would like to say a huge thank you to David Jackson and Dr. Laura Havener for promoting inclusion and belonging at Nipher.”

Jackson describes Burgard as a great student who wants to be independent and show that he can do really nice work. He says he can’t wait to see Josiah in woodworking II if he decides to join the class next year.