By Ian Faulkner, Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 —
“Everybody always think they’re going to eat all day every day,” said Kelley Phillips, foods and interior design instructor at Albemarle High School (AHS).
She said it takes a couple weeks to weed out the students who think they are there to eat and those who want to learn.
Phillips has been teaching in her field for 14 years. What was once known as Home Economics courses is now known as Family and Consumer Science. These all used to be considered vocational courses but now fall within the umbrella of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. (February is National Career and Technical Education Month).
She said the purpose of CTE is to prepare students for careers and teach them “good old-fashioned life skills.”
A graduate of Appalachian State University, Phillips was initially interested in interior design and became involved with the home economics program. She received a bachelor of science degree with a concentration in housing and interiors.
She became involved with education as a teaching assistant at Central Elementary, but when a position became available at AHS, she rushed to take it.
With the correct background, Phillips was a lateral entry, meaning she had to attend school again, taking education courses and receive her teaching license.
At the time, Phillips was in school, working at school and raising three teenage daughters who participated in a variety of activities.
“Supermom. Yeah, I guess you could have called me that, then,” Phillips said.
Foods and Nutrition is the primary course Phillips teaches.
“When I told my girls they were like, ‘You’re going to teach people to cook?’ It was an odd thing for them, but it’s all worked out great so far,” Phillips said.
“Foods I consists of basic cooking skills: measuring out ingredients and reading recipes, a little bit of everything. We do simplified baking.
“Nutrition is important, as well. Teaching how to eat and feed your family correctly; life skills to make healthier citizens.
“We build on teamwork. They work in groups of five around the four cooking stations.”
Phillips said the Foods II course is more intricate, it goes further in depth than Foods I.
“Foods II goes more into the entrepeneur aspect,” she said.
“But we also do higher level cooking, working with yeast. We do cake decorating and pie crust making.
“The assumption is if you’re in Foods II you have an interest in a foods career. I have one student who wants to own his own restaurant,” Phillips said.
Sometimes the students in Foods II fix faculty meals.
Another part of the Foods II curriculuum is ServSafe, which is a food and beverage safety pereparation course that offers national certification through the National Restaurant Association.
Students will learn the rules and procedures involved and can take the test to receive their certification if they desire.
“That’s a good thing we do to help teenagers and the work force,” said Phillips on ServSafe.
Recently, AHS was able to add an interior design course to its CTE program.
“We try to offer courses that benefit job seeking skills,” Phillips said.
She has 23 students in her Interior Design class, only seven of which are girls.
“A great deal of chefs are men, and interior design is like construction,” said Phillips, explaining that the gender friendly terms have encouraged more male participation.
Even though they’re not eating all day everyday, Phillips said, “This is the only class where you’re guaranteed to be up cooking and eating 15 times a semester.”