Good news for culinary arts students
Popular class was on the chopping block for second semester
The new year will ring in good news for culinary arts students at Valdez High School – the popular program will continue into the district’s second semester. Concerned students and parents appeared before the board of education in recent meetings questioning the cancelation of the program’s classes with little notice to students - some graduating seniors who told the board they had based their high school careers around the program.
The program also features competitions that give students chances to win scholarships for higher education and those chances were in jeopardy without a program and instructor in place.
The program will continue as a fully credited online course through the end of the school year according to Dr. Lisa Stroh, superintendent of Valdez City Schools. The announcement was made during a special school board meeting December 18.
“It’s already in line with our curriculum,” said Melissa Reese, the district’s director of education services. “It will be just like the other online classes we offer.”
The instructor for the course has not yet been hired according to Reese, who said the part-time position will be combined with the vacant technology teacher’s position. The district began advertising to fill the position.
“We co-mingled those positions into one,” Reese said in a telephone interview Thursday. “It kind of all came together.”
Last November, Dr. Lisa Stroh told the board of education that the second semester of the program would not continue due to the fact the course instructor, Terry Raidmae, did not have the proper certification needed to teach the class and temporary credentials needed to continue teaching the class were set the expire.
Stroh also said the Valdez High School kitchen lacked commercial equipment and did not meet state educational standards as a culinary arts kitchen; it actually meets the standard of home economics kitchen.
Stroh recommended that the district examine reinstituting the program during an upcoming review of all of the district’s vocational/technical education programs. Stroh said a non-credited after-school program could be instituted for current culinary arts students at the high school, which many program defenders called inadequate.
Boosters of the program argued before the board that the program was already funded through the end of the school year and claimed that the alternative elective classes they were offered in place of culinary arts were inadequate or irrelevant to their high school goals.
Conspicuously absent from the discussion of the program’s future is the former teacher of the class, Terry Raidmae. She declined to comment on her resignation from the position, which took effect December 16 according to the district’s personnel action report dated December 9.