K-State, K-State Olathe and One Health Kansas provide teacher in-service program

July 29, 2010

Kay MehasOLATHE, Kan. - Utilizing scholarship money K-State set aside from its part of the JCERT revenue, K-State Olathe worked with Kansas State University and One Health Kansas to provide 20 Kansas high school teachers a free summer in-service program focused on food safety.

Teachers each received a $2,000 stipend for housing, food and transportation during the program, which also counted as three graduate credit hours. Selected by an application process, the teachers agreed to evaluate the program and to implement food safety into existing secondary food science units or courses during the coming school year.

Johnson County teachers filled four of six spots reserved for them, and the districts represented were Blue Valley, DeSoto, Olathe and Spring Hill. Teachers from throughout Kansas filled the 14 at-large spaces. Targeted teachers included those in family and consumer sciences, agriculture and science.

"We call it a success," said Jan Wissman, professor of curriculum and instruction. "Of course, the real success story will be told through the experiences by high school students in Kansas during this coming year."

The teachers received both laboratory and classroom instruction, with topics ranging from food safety and Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) to how to integrate food safety into curriculum. Also discussed were the chemistry and biochemistry of food and the career pathways in the fields of food science and food safety.

A team of professionals at K-State selected those themes. The team included a food scientist in human nutrition; teacher educators in the College of Education; and food safety experts/consultants.

The program benefited the Kansas education system by increasing teachers' knowledge in food safety, food science and careers in public health, and those teachers will relate that knowledge to their students.

The program used several different curricula as well as presentations by K-State food experts.

Kay Mehas and Sharon Rodgers, educators from Eugene, Oregon, wrote, developed and refined the high school curriculum "Food Science: Biochemistry of Food and Nutrition" over a period of 20 years. Mehas came to K-State during the program to introduce it and was well-received by all the teachers, who called her "awesome."

The program also utilized the "Principles of Food Science" curriculum.

In addition to these published materials, Drs. Doug Powell and Justin Kastner, K-State experts on food safety, presented. In addition to addressing current and future topics related to food safety, they provided valuable resources to the participants.

"Having two food science experts involved in the review of the curriculum and through presentations to the teachers enhanced the program," Wissman said. "These teachers left with a strong knowledge base related to food safety plus lots of dependable resources for teaching food safety in the classrooms."

- By Ashley Dunkak -