Board of Education Glimpses Learning Opportunities at Saline High School

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 05/25/2017 - 02:20
A Saline High School culinary arts student shows Board of Education Trustee Dennis Valenti how to bone a chicken.

Those in attendance at the Saline Area Schools Board of Education meeting Tuesday night witnessed a substantial presentation outlining several of the advanced curricular and extra curricular program options at Saline High School.

Principal David Raft introduced students from several groups who have been taking advantage of the forward-thinking offerings to gain skills and knowledge that they will use well beyond graduation.

Individuals from the state-winning and nationally-qualifying culinary arts program were first up, followed by participants in service learning trips to countries such as Haiti and China. Scholars from AP physics showed off the underwater robots and autonomous vehicle they recently submitted for competition, and Raft updated the board on the Hornet Time concept, which is designed to facilitate mental fitness across the student body.

When culinary arts students addressed the trustees, Raft lauded their recent accomplishments

“These are outstanding young chefs,” he said, citing just how excellent the meal was that won them a state championship.

Several culinary students outlined the scope of their daily work, which rises to the level of potentially achieving professional certification in some instances. But the board members didn’t just have to hear about what goes on in the kitchen, because Chef Sam Musto decided to take them there so they could see for themselves.

The entire group in attendance at the meeting was asked to walk over to the culinary arts kitchen, where board members suited up in rubber gloves and aprons for the task of disassembling whole, raw chickens.

Student chefs were teamed up individually with a trustee, and Musto explained the process.

“How many of the board members have done an eight-part cut chicken, remove the breast, and have taken out the oyster?” he asked, to a room full of laughter after not a single affirmative hand was raised. “The student is going to give you a knife, a boning knife, and they’re going to do the first cut, so they'll remove the wings, the legs, the thighs, the breast. After they do one cut, they’re going to give you a knife and you're going to do the other side of the chicken.”

Musto said this kitchen experience was a first for the board of education.

“We’ve done it a lot with the teachers, sometimes when we’re showcasing career and tech,” he said. “The school board, we’ve done other activities with them, but I think the more that they understand the skill level that the students are getting and the challenge of the teaching to get them there the better they can support what we do as teachers.”

Once back in the media center, where Tuesday’s meeting was held, Raft introduced students who had travelled internationally as part of the service leaning initiative.

Participants described how experiences such as seeing the impoverished conditions of third-world classrooms expanded their awareness of what it means to be a “global citizen,” while also strengthening their colle­ctive resolve to continue to work to make things better for all human beings.

Students stressed how their travels are just as much about making strong relationships with people from other backgrounds and cultures as it is rebuilding or creating infrastructure.

Trustee Karen Delhey was obviously touched by what she saw in the presentation, and thanked program head Jennifer Denzin for her dedication to service learning.

“In my couple years of being on the board I’ve seen presentations from the Poured Out kids and I just have to say how amazing the program is,” she said, ”and I commend you on the work you’ve done on this. It seems like it’s changed students’ lives, so thank you for your passion.”

The AP physics students were next to have their moment in the spotlight, showcasing an intricate underwater robot, capable of precise maneuvering in an aquatic environment, that they recently put to the test at a competition in Detroit.

First-year math and physics teacher Corbin Brown introduced some of the things his kids have been working over the past few months, and said the trail and error of adapting innovation into the curriculum has been extremely enriching to him personally, too.

“I think I probably got more out of it, from this year, than what they did,” he said, “but they all had a good experience with it and really enjoyed it.”

Separately Tuesday night, Grace Eberts was recognized for her work as student representative to the board of education over the course of the school year, and board president Tim Austin presented her with a college scholarship as a token of gratitude.

The next regular meeting of the board of education will take place June 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Liberty School.


Steven Howard's picture
Steven Howard
Steven Howard is a veteran community journalist who lives in Saline. He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Reach him at 734-635-7979 or [email protected]

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