USD 458 board reviews culinary program, other high school developments
The new culinary arts program at Basehor-Linwood High School is already serving up some tasty results, along with some unexpected career turning points for some students.
A group of students catered dinner for the USD 458 Board of Education members prior to their monthly meeting Monday, at which the board discussed several new developments at the high school. During the meeting, the students also presented some key learning points they have already taken away from their class about restaurant and event management. That class has expanded the pallets of the students and has taught them how to prepare new types of food as well as some of the finer points of event planning.
The students said their classes teach hands-on culinary skills, creating meals such as sushi and also a pasta dish where all of the ingredients had to cost less than $5. The class also catered Family Day at BLHS to showcase their skills to a larger audience.
“When I was little, I used to carry around an encyclopedia because I always was learning," said Bevin Coon, BLHS senior. "When I came to high school, I thought I wanted to be an engineer. This class showed me a new perspective.”
Coon said he is now seriously considering a career in culinary arts as a result of his experience at BLHS.
Being part of the culinary arts program has inspired other students to go to culinary school after graduation as well. The class they are currently taking teaches the fundamentals, equipment usage and various cooking techniques.
“That’s what high school is all about,” Superintendent David Howard said. “It helps you find out what you want to do.”
The Family and Consumer Sciences course was taught by Mary Myer for 35 years until her retirement last year; Sara Gormley moved to BLHS from the middle school to take over the course.
In addition to the culinary arts program presentation, the board discussed proposed graduation requirement changes, beginning with the class of 2020, to require a half credit (one semester) of public speaking such as speech, debate or forensics. Discussion among board members is still in the early stages, but board members said they recognize that communication skills are critical to success in the professional world, regardless of trade.
Finally, the results of a survey to district parents regarding the high school's yet-to-be-constructed career and technical education center were discussed.
The following proposed fields of study were ranked as most important to parents participating in the survey: health (81 percent); information technology (68 percent); agriculture and engineering (61 percent); building trades and construction (46 percent); and business and marketing (42 percent). Other areas of study also being considered include alternative energy (49 percent), emergency medical technician (48 percent) and industrial technician (49 percent).