Students always give the best advice on what to teach.
We got this advice at the beginning of this past quarter when we asked students:
What skills do you want to improve? What values are important to you?
Our take aways from this past quarter are more than just the pictures in this post may relate, but these speak so much to what we are practicing in our work simulation classes. You can’t think yourself into improving these skills and holding to these values, you have to practice them. And I wanted to acknowledge them and the hard work of our 3rd quarter students before heading into our 4th and last quarter of the school year. Thank you students! Before we know it, we will be packing up and moving back into our school site and a brand new kitchen! I’m glad that this advice will go with us.
It has been a long time! But we have some exciting news to share as we get deeper into fall and winter:
We are able to cook together again while at John O’Connell’s campus! This is a hybrid version of our regular class(3 days a week we travel down to the kitchen classroom), but being able to get active again is huge! We truly appreciate Chef Dan and the staff at John O’Connell who have helped make this happen. It is making a big difference to our students, to be able to actively cook together again. Pictures soon, just wanted to share our excitement now!
Our Ida B. garden maiden waiting for our return.
Reality: In the rush of requirement, it is hard to keep meaning going in the classroom, particularly with writing. We recently offered journaling in class as a way to give students time to write in an open ended fashion. More than one student stared back at us in disbelief. “What do you mean, just write?”
“Yes, we said, just fill the page.” Some of them got into it. So when we offered blog post writing for some additional credit, several gravitated towards the opportunity. The agreement: entries would be posted unfiltered, unedited and anonymous. As agreed, we’ve started to link them using a very basic tumblr blog. You can read them too. Here is the link, which can also be found on our students page: http://idabstudentswrite.tumblr.com/ I can hear their voices and it means a lot to me that they shared their thoughts. We’re offering this blog posting opportunity again, and will keep updating it as we go along.
Quince is one of those fruits we look forward to all year long. Now you can get your own jar of Quince poached in Vanilla Syrup and help our program raise funds for our new classroom.
Below you’ll find a quick slideshow telling our Quince canning story from last October which wouldn’t have happened without BiRite’s Shakirah Simley, who knew a generous owner of quince tree in the North Bay, a tree that needed serious harvesting. Thank you both so much!
Please stop by BiRite Market one of the next few afternoons and buy some quince from us! We will be out front eager to give you a taste, and hopefully coax you into becoming a fan of quince too. See you there!
Heat of the Kitchen Quince Sale Days:
- BiRight Market: 3639 18th Street location
- Thursday April 9th and Friday April 10th
- 3- 5 or 6pm, until we sell out!
Help keep the rain dance going with us this Monday April 6th at John O’Connell High School 4-7pm! CUESA has worked with the garden at this school for years and here is our chance to bring it back after a year of dormancy. Heat of the Kitchen classes will then continue with the garden until our move back to Ida B. Wells. A great opportunity for us to continue a hands-on connection with work and food!
It may not look that exciting, but our “safety net” map has been a through-line for me this past quarter. We are on break this week, which I hoped would give me a break too, to get a sense of whether the students are getting anything out of our “no cooking” culinary careers classwork. On this map, students circled areas of interest that they want to learn about in the 8 weeks we are together.
Even though you can’t see all the detail that was circled in this picture, I like this map because it proves a point to me. Yes, young people want jobs, they want to be more secure and be able to make choices after high school, not be dealt with, which is how school still feels at this age for many of our students.
We’ve got some exciting projects that we hope will help students feel more prepared, confident, connected (keyword tip offs here: Quince! Garden!). The timing might be right, then again, it might not. It doesn’t change our appreciation for those of you who are jumping in and getting involved. Thank you.
Students notice even when they choose to stay on the sidelines and many of them move one step closer to getting involved as a result of your involvement. The message that comes with every volunteer or industry person who brings an opportunity to our school is that very important “I care even though I don’t know you,” message. This message helps to offset the litany of other messages that inner city youth receive which default, intentionally or unintentionally, to lack of care or inability to care.
The more times our students witness that unconditional “I care” message, the more they can prepare to step outside what is defaulted to them. This picture is one more sign to me that they want to do that. And, as we all send out our caring messages, what keeps me going is looking forward to when young people begin to realize how amazing they really are and get in touch with their own limitless potential. This kind of discovery is awesome, isn’t it? It is why our class is designed for students to be able to cook and eat together at that professional level. it is a catalyst right into opening those deeper discovery doors that too often are shut for our inner city youth. Yes, I can’t wait to start cooking with them in a real kitchen again.