District Introduces Culinary Program

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Students with the Cedar Rapids Community School District ProStart Program work on their mother sauce creations.

A new national restaurant management and culinary arts program in the District blends classroom learning with real-life experience. The Cedar Rapids Community Schools District ProStart Program is a two-year curriculum that teaches both culinary and hospitality management skills to high school juniors and seniors. The program is located at Washington High School but enrollment is open to students from all District high schools. The culinary arts classroom itself features commercial hoods, refrigerator, freezer, gas stoves, griddles, dishwasher, washing sinks, and student food preparation tables.

As one of the 18 Iowa high schools participating in the culinary program, District students combine classroom work with mentored experiences at local restaurants. Once students complete all program requirements, they are awarded the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement, giving them access to scholarships and articulation agreements with colleges and universities.

“We are excited that our students will be connected with local industry through ProStart,” explained Joan Stekl, program instructor. “Hands-on experience is an effective way for students to connect academics to real-life situations.”

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