Does this sound like a great high school course?
In one recent class session, guest instructor Bonnie Christensen (who doubles as BUSD’s Director of Nutrition Services) guided students in preparing a dish that sounded almost like something from the menu at Chez Panisse: potato-filled ravioli with tomato mint sauce, a dollop of lemon and garlic infused Ricotta, topped with arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette. A gluten-free version was also made with wonton wrappers.
When finished, the students got sit down and enjoy the meal.
That’s just a glimpse of Berkeley High School’s new Public and Community Health course, which is led by teacher Nick Lee and meets at the high school and the Edible Schoolyard kitchen.
The class includes not just hands-on kitchen skills but also learning about nutrition, diet-related diseases, food culture and various issues highlighted in the 2018 Berkeley Health Status Report. Students also learn how to write grant applications in response to RFPs (Requests for Proposals) for such projects as increasing healthy food access and knowledge.
There are internships outside the classroom and kitchen, with students currently working with the Ecology Center, the BUSD Wellness Policy Committee and the Berkeley Food Network.
The class – housed in AMPS (Academy of Medicine and Public Service) – is pioneering a new pathway in our growing Career Technical Education (CTE) program. It was developed in collaboration with the District’s Gardening & Cooking Program and the Edible Schoolyard.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better group of youth to pilot the class with,” Mr. Lee said in a mid-year report to parents of students in the class. “Your students show up every Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday evening eager, hungry, and excited to learn, cook, and make change.”