Happy National Ag Day! Ag Day is about recognizing, and celebrating, the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives. When honoring agriculture and it’s contributions – from the clothes we wear to the food we eat – it is important to understand how Career Technical Education (CTE) prepares learners for careers in this vital industry.
Programs of study across the nation in urban, suburban and rural areas are providing learners with rigorous academic coursework, technical skills and hands-on experiences in all aspects of agriculture – from food science to horticulture. An exemplary agriculture program that deserves recognition as we celebrate National Ag Day is Advance CTE’s 2017 Excellence in Action award winner in the Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Career Cluster®, the Culinology® program at Bergen County Technical Schools’ Teterboro High School in Paramus, New Jersey.
Remaining flexible to evolving profiles of students and reinventing traditional CTE programs of study in innovative ways to also meet industry needs is the cornerstone of the Culinology program of study. While Teterboro High School has had a Culinary Arts program for well over twenty years, in the past decade faculty started to see a slight change in their student profile. Increasingly, students were not only interested in culinary arts and the food industry, but were also drawn by a strong intrinsic interest in science. More and more, students demonstrated an interest in obtaining a four-year degree.
Recognizing a need to modify the program to better match their students’ needs, Bergen County partnered with the Rutgers University Departments of Biological Sciences and Food Sciences as well as the the Research Chefs Association to develop a first-of-its-kind high school program blending agriculture, food science, culinary arts and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics – Culinology®. All academic courses are delivered at the honors or AP level and students from the program now go on to some of the most prestigious four-year institutions in the nation.
The program now delivers a curriculum that includes college-credit courses (beyond the AP courses referred to above); rigorous academic and occupational skill requirements in agriculture, mathematics, humanities, culinary arts, and sciences; and an emphasis on critical analysis, problem-solving and employability skills. The program also includes a focus on key industry certifications needed to support success in the workplace. The class of 2016 boasted 100 percent high school completion, 100 percent of students having earned postsecondary credit, and 100 percent of students enrolled in postsecondary education. We should be able to hold all CTE programs to this standard of excellence.
Learn more about the Culinology® program of study at Bergen County Technical Schools’ Teterboro High School and our 2017 award winners.