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Has anyone been following the gateway program being implemented in California? California has essentially killed the old CTE approach and has adopted the concept of schools within a school. For example, if culinary students and nurses' aide students both have to learn nutrition, these students take these classes together. A traditional CTE program would have these students taking classes separately within their respective fields of study i.e. culinary arts or health.

Culinary students can take bookkeeping classes with business students. Business students can learn about POS systems by working as cashiers in a student operated restaurant. The overall purpose is to help make the areas of study within a CTE program more relevant and to consolidate teaching resources.

I think it's an interesting concept.

Sadly, I'm in Arizona and we follow the traditional vocational ed style program. CTE in Arizona is essentially the poor relation of education as the primary purpose of high school remains college prep.

My school doesn't even regard me as a CTE instructor. Culinary arts is considered a "fine arts" elective. Of the 46 students I have for level I, II, and III students, none of them have any interest in entering the food service industry.

Are there any other high school culinary arts instructors out there who would like to weigh in about their school or state programs?

I'll take a running start.

I'm the chef instructor of a high school culinary arts department. In addition to a lab with five kitchenette work stations, we have a commercial kitchen and operate a student run restaurant from Tuesday through Friday.

Unlike other CTE programs at my school, my department is cash based. Although my salary and the wages of my two managers as well as our insurance and utilities are all paid for by the school; the cost of all food and non-food supplies is borne by my department.

In otherwords, if our products don't sell, we lose out on recovering our food costs. Since our money for purchasing new uniforms, tools, and equipment largely comes from the generation of a modest net profit, the failure of our restaurant would essentially kill our program.

As it is, our program has been quite successful. Although this is only my second year in the classroom, this is our restaurant's 17th year of operation. My predecessor established this restaurant and built up our revenue slowly but surely through the sale of 80 cent hamburgers and 75 cent burritos.

We've come a long way since this restaurant opened. Prices rose this year to keep pace with the rising cost of supplies. Our gross revenue has also evolved from a paltry $5000 back in 1991 to a current total of just over $84,000. That's not bad for a non-profit. :)

Given our growing revenue, I have been advised by the district business director that state law prohibits us from exceeding $100,000. According to my sales projections, this shouldn't be a problem until the next school year ... and if it does become "a problem," I'll simply use surplus funds to make capital purchases for new equipment.

The timing for this looks as though it would work out well as I have some aging equipment that should be replaced.

So ... I know there are other high school culinary arts instructors out there. I'd like to hear from you.


Chef Dave