As students begin to think about the future, Nutrition Services Culinary Educator Brittany Jones is working to ensure they’re equipped with a key ingredient for success — the basics of cooking.
Chef Jones is one of two educators who teach “Get Growing Houston” classes at Attucks Middle School and Worthing Early College High School. The 10-week classes were piloted at the schools to help students learn the importance of good nutrition and the fundamentals of cooking.
As classes near the end of their trial run, Jones said she hopes the program will continue next school year and expand to other schools.
“It’s a really fabulous program,” Jones said. “I’m excited to see where it will be in the next couple of years.”
Part of the USDA’s Farm to School Program, Get Growing Houston classes consist of a two-part curriculum for both in-person and virtual students.
During the first weeks, Agriculture Educator Marcus Glenn helps students understand where their food comes from, how agriculture is related to STEM principles, and what jobs and careers are in the agriculture industry.
“I believe that agriculture education will continue to be vital as we deal with an increasing population, climate change, and less land to grow on.” Glenn said, noting that he wished he’d had the opportunity to learn about agriculture when he was a student in HISD.
In the final weeks of the curriculum, chef Jones leads lessons with food tastings and cooking demonstrations. Most recently, she taught students at Worthing how to sharpen their knife skills.
At Worthing, Jones also prepared culinary kits packed with ingredients and supplies, such as cutting boards, paring knives, and spatulas. Students use the kits to prepare meals in class or in their home kitchens.
“These classes are very important, especially for students going into adulthood,” Jones said. “We’re giving them a foundation to build upon with basic go-to recipes.”
Jones will teach her last Get Growing pilot class at Attucks on April 29. The final assessment will be a “carnival” type event where students rotate through stations to be assessed on the various topics they’ve learned about through the program.