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Students and teachers excited about new classes at CHS

Posted Date: 04/13/2018

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Students and teachers excited about new classes at CHS

Chanute High School students are enrolling in some new classes that will open up this fall - classes they’d told teachers they wanted in a survey of their interests.

Introductory classes for three new career and technical education (CTE) pathways have been created for 2018-2019, in the fields of culinary arts, agricultural science and pre-teaching.

“Culinary Arts was the first one they wanted us to add, then Ag, and then teach and train,” said Family and Consumer Science teacher Leah Hoesli, who will be teaching classes in two of the three new pathways.

More than 100 freshman, sophomores and eighth graders surveyed expressed an interest in culinary arts. Of those, 80 followed through and signed up for culinary arts classes during pre-enrollment this spring - so many that Hoesli needed to add a third section of culinary classes this fall.

That career field is a good option, according to the job market.

“That is a field where there is a lot of job growth, and the students can further their education at a vocational technical college and get a job right away,” Hoesli said.

Sherri Bagshaw, chair of the CTE department, said the majority of Chanute students are thinking “chef” as a career in culinary arts, although there are several interested in the baking and pastry area, Hoesli added.

The Chanute-USD 413 school board adopted many of the state Board of Education’s “Kansas Can” initiatives as part of its most recent strategic planning document.

“An integral part of “Kansas Can” is to improve career and post-secondary options for students,” said Assistant Superintendent Kent Wire. In addition to the new pre-teaching and culinary arts classes that will be taught by existing qualified staff, “a new career and technical education staff member was hired to start Agriculture Education and FFA. We are very excited to add these opportunities for Chanute students."

As chair of the CTE department, Bagshaw has been spearheading the effort to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s and get the paperwork approved at the state level.

“We could not add three pathways in a single spring without the help of a very skilled Career and Tech Ed department, in particular, Sherri Bagshaw who has spent days helping us get everything in place for these new student opportunities,” Wire said.

CTE pathways allow students to explore potential career areas.

“These classes offer students a chance to check their interest by taking some introductory and then practical classes to see if they want to pursue that interest later,” Hoesli explained.

The first class is culinary essentials which is an introduction on how to manage and run a kitchen.  

In culinary arts II, students dive into ordering food for a restaurant or kitchen, different cutting techniques, as well as garnish and plating and napkin folding. Another option is baking and pastries, where students practice making a variety of pastries. They might even branch into gourmet cupcakes.

A capstone course for juniors or seniors is similar to job shadowing, and involves getting hands-on experience at a restaurant or kitchen in the community. The students may also get involved in creating some Take and Bake family meals for the public.

At the April school board meeting, Caitlyn Wedel was hired to build an Agricultural Science pathway “from the ground up.” She is a recent graduate of Kansas State University who is living at Iola.

It will be a comprehensive program covering all the Ag pathways, Bagshaw said. There will be an introductory class open to all freshmen, practical classes in several areas for sophomores through seniors, culminating with an Ag leadership and communications capstone course for juniors and seniors.

“This isn’t about you wanting to become a farmer,” Bagshaw said. “It’s about understanding the rural community you’re living in, the quality of the meat you purchase, the soil and why it’s important” as well as plants and what is available in Neosho County.

In the “teach and train” pathway, students will see what it takes to run a school district from the bottom up. They will observe classrooms, learn how to build lesson plans, as well as see the workings of a school board office.  They may not become teachers, but they may be board of education members someday, Bagshaw said.

“I’m super excited,” Hoesli said about all the new classes she’ll be teaching in the fall.

“Real excited. This is real life stuff and stuff that kids have an interest in,” Bagshaw added.


Story By:  Connie Woodard

FACS teacher


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