Washougal School District celebrated Career and Technical Education Month®, with a look at how our CTE teachers and programs continued to thrive during remote learning.

For Brenda Hitchins, WHS CTE Instructor of Culinary and Baking, this means incorporating video demonstrations and take-home kits for students to learn cooking techniques and methods. “They are also practicing good sanitation and being organized with ingredients, tools, and workspace,” said Hitchins.

“These home kits were a home run,” she said. “When students started submitting their results, I was excited, and it was great to read their feedback as well as their family members’ feedback on the food items.”

One of the biggest challenges of teaching online for Hitchins has been student engagement. “Students are doing their best but there are many distractions in the home environment,” she explained. “These distractions are out of our control, so a main focus for me is to be fair and equitable in delivering assignments and the number of assignments.”  Her ultimate goals are for students to be successful as they cook and bake at home and understand sanitation and safety.

“The older students especially step up and engage in the class, many completing all assignments,” said Hitchins. An example of the numerous steps that may be required of students to complete assignments was the design and creation of a cookie cutter virtually on the school’s 3D printer.  They had to pick up the finished piece at school along with ingredients to bake and decorate the cookies as best they can. “I have seen some very talented students decorate cookies like a pro using their innovative cookie cutter designs and it was great to see their set up and the tools they used,” she said.

Hitchins’ students develop plenty of 21st Century Skills in her classes.  “My advanced students are now doing a group project that dovetails with the new student-operated CTE food truck project that is just starting to roll,” she explained. Students were required to develop a mission statement and what their truck will stand for, identify a target market and location, come up with a name, logo and color scheme for their truck, develop recipes and more.

“They are learning delegation and accountability related to project management in order to get the project done,” she said. “The students selected as Captains have really stepped up and are leading the teams. The menus they are creating and ideas they are sharing will hopefully be used for our CTE food truck which brings extra meaning to the assignment.”

WSD has a robust offering of project-based classes and programs which facilitate the teaching of relevant skills and knowledge for learning, career and life.  Learn more about them at https://www.washougal.k12.wa.us/cte/