Thursday, November 12, 2009

KP Sponsors Chef Jeff

KP Education Systems is proud to sponsor award-winning chef Jeff Henderson as keynote speaker at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) 2009 Conference in Nashville. "Chef Jeff" Henderson is a best selling author and TV personality. His memoir, Cooked (2007), became a New York Times bestseller, and his reality show, "The Chef Jeff Project," in which he provides six at-risk youth an opportunity to train for a culinary career, airs on the Food Network.

Growing up in Southern California, Chef Jeff had his own experience as an at-risk youth . To escape poverty, he turned to drugs and was running a large-scale cocaine operation by the time he was 19. Although Henderson's drug operation was quite lucrative, it eventually led to his arrest and incarceration at age 24, and he spent almost a decade in federal prison. While in prison, he discovered his passion for cooking during kitchen duties, and determined to change his life. Once out of prison, he channeled the same intense ambition that had nearly ruined his life into the cooking skills that earned him the top chef title in some of the best kitchens in the country.

Henderson started his professional career cooking at many influential restaurants, including Gadsy’s, L’Escale, the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Marina Del Rey, Zing and The Good Bar. In 2000, Henderson continued his rise, making history in Las Vegas as the first African-American Chef de Cuisine at Caesar's Palace. In 2001, the American Food and Wine Tasting Federation named Henderson “Las Vegas Chef of the Year.” He has since gone on to become the executive chef at the Bellagio, another first for an African American. Henderson has been honored as one of the top African-American chefs by Black Enterprise magazine. Since that time he has started a successful catering company called Posh Urban Cuisine, which is the training ground for the young participants in "The Chef Jeff Project."

Chef Jeff Henderson’s story will not only inspire career and technical educators to keep challenging their students to succeed, but it will also reinforce the importance of career and technical education in our schools.Chef Jeff's mistakes and accomplishments illustrate how learning opportunities, or lack of them, can impact a life. His experience embodies our philosophy at KP Education Systems that career skills education is the key to unlimited opportunities for all individuals regardless of background, and that is why we endeavor to assist educators in giving students superior instruction using the most up-to-date technology.

Bloom's Taxonomy

KP Education Systems strives to keep up with current practices in education and research-based pedagogy. For this reason, all of the questions in the Sous Chef, including those populating the dynamic test/quiz generator, are organized according to the revised version of Bloom's Taxonomy. If you are not familiar with Bloom's Taxonomy, here is a guide to help you understand the depth of the learning opportunities available to your students in the Sous Chef 7 Curriculum Suite.

Bloom's Taxonomy

Bloom's Taxonomy is a classification of six levels of intellectual skills involved in learning (from the simplest to the most complex) that was developed by a group of educational psychologists headed by Benjamin S. Bloom in the 1950s. According to the taxonomy, the first categories must be mastered before the learner can move on to the higher levels of cognition. Bloom's Taxonomy revolutionized the way educators approached their learning objectives, since Bloom asserted that over 95% of test questions involved only the lowest level of intellectual ability--remembering data. Teachers could improve their teaching methods by applying the course content to the stages of Bloom's; they began to pay more attention to the higher levels of thinking.

A revised version of Bloom's Taxonomy was developed in the 1990s by his former student, Lorin Anderson, and a group of educational psychologists to keep the research up-to-date with contemporary learning theories and standards-based requirements. This updated model makes the objectives of each stage more specific to learner behaviors, which makes learning at each level more observable to the teacher.

Below are explanations of the levels of the revised Bloom's Taxonomy and sample questions from the Sous Chef 7 to illustrate the application of each classification.

Revised Bloom's

Remember: retrieve knowledge from the long term memory that was acquired from the lesson or reading. This first level of questions encompasses basic multiple choice, true/false, oral response, or fill-in-the-blank questions asking only for recall of the studied material (terminology, facts, places, dates and names).

Key Words: define, select, state, recall, label, identify

Example from the Sous Chef:
  1. How many pints are in one gallon?

Understand: understand what the remembered material means and be able to restate it. The student should be able to explain the concepts in his/her own words or interpret their meaning. Questions from this level can be essay, oral response, multiple choice, or true/false.

Key Words: explain, explain why (what is the reason), comprehend, summarize, translate, interpret

Example from the Sous Chef:
  1. Explain what the Model Food Code is and provide examples of its effects on the food service industry.

Apply: take the knowledge and apply it to a situation—it can either be in the form of a written explanation of a hypothetical situation or it can involve having the students execute, implement, apply, or demonstrate a concept from the learning material. These questions/learning activities are usually in the form of a task or demonstration but can also be multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank when applying a concept such as a formula or mathematical equation.

Key Words: applies, computes, constructs, demonstrates, modifies, operates, prepares, produces, shows, solves, uses

Example from the Sous Chef:
  1. Sanitize your workstation using the instructions in the Sanitation video.
  2. Follow the recipe and produce chicken piccata.
Analyze: break the knowledge into its pieces, analyze the relationships, and distinguish between the parts. These questions/activities come in the form of essay, oral response, or a visual project.

Key words: analyze, distinguish, differentiate, compare/contrast

Example from the Sous Chef:
  1. Compare and contrast the Creaming method and the Two Stage mixing method. When would you use one method rather than the other? What would be the effects on the final product?

Evaluate: evaluate a situation and make judgments using the knowledge gained. These questions/activities come in the form of essay, oral response, or a visual project.

Key Words: evaluate, defend, judge, argue, support

Example from the Sous Chef:
  1. Select an image from a cooking magazine of a dessert plate that shows good presentations skills and evaluate the chef's plating techniques using specific examples to support your judgment.

Create: put parts together to form a whole; create something new using the knowledge. At this level, learning activities are fully planned and executed projects in place of or in addition to written work.

Key Words: assemble, create, construct, design, reconstruct, modify, generate, compile

Example from the Sous Chef:
  1. Design a concept and create a proposal for your own television cooking show.

Since the higher level thinking skills often cannot effectively be made into a multiple choice or true/false question, most of the apply, analyze, evaluate, and create questions will be in the form of essay questions, demonstrations, and activities. Since learning objectives for each chapter vary, it is not uncommon for some Bloom's categories to not be represented.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

KP Receives Gold Medal

May 15, Chicago, IL

At the 8th annual Corporate and Executive Chefs' Taste Summit in Chicago, KP Education Systems President Nai Wang was awarded by Chef Jesse Sartain and the American Masters of Taste a gold medal for superior quality for what the Sous Chef's contribution to culinary arts education. The Sous Chef was awarded this prestigious medal by the 10 member judging panel of Chefs in America and Chef Jesse Sartain after a rigorous review period and impact assessment of the product.

“This award means a lot to me for all the hard work and dedication of the countless individuals who have worked on making this product a reality over the past ten years. Our focus and dedication to improving culinary arts education has made a big impact on the industry and I thank Mr. Sartain for the honor of this award,” said President of KP Education Systems Nai Wang.

With the award, KP Education Systems will continue to strive to be the best developer of education products and solutions for career and technical education.
The American Masters of Taste for Chefs in America is an organization made up of executive chefs, who are industry leaders and Grand Masters in the hospitality and tourism industry, representing corporate multi-unit restaurants and food service operations. Chefs in America represents over 10,000 professional chefs around the country.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vegas Schools Bet on Technology

Las Vegas High Schools' Clark County School District: Leaders and innovators in culinary arts education.

Clark County School District (CCSD), located in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada, is a leader in educational innovation. CCSD is answering a question that faces educators today: How do teachers and administrators reach the modern millennial learners in a multimedia driven world? Students today spend most of their time 'plugged in'. They communicate, interact, and learn differently than any other generation. CCSD used this theme as the guideline for redesigning and reinvigorating their high school culinary arts programs.

Las Vegas is home to a booming restaurant industry. The cheap all-you-can-eat buffets on the Vegas strip are being replaced by fine dining establishments that boast renowned chefs and unique cuisine. Just as the change is occurring to the Vegas facade, the educational landscape is undergoing a "makeover" as well. For Clark County, the top priority is designing curricula that will engage today's millennial learners and develop tomorrow's industry professionals.

Led by Nancy Hamilton, CCSD's forward-thinking Career & Technical Education (CTE) Director, CCSD has pioneered the integration of the latest technologies, trends, equipment and methodologies into their culinary arts classroom. With Hamilton's guidance and support, every Clark County culinary arts teacher worked together to create joint lesson plans that would be integrated at a district-wide level. These lessons were built using the same computer-based culinary arts resource.

The process was simple and ingenious. CCSD took the 28 units of study that directly correlate to Nevada’s competencies for the Hospitality and Tourism Career Cluster and distributed them among 24 of their teachers to write a complete lesson plan for their assigned unit. In less than six months, the team had completed the entire process of developing unit plans, lessons, worksheets and activities. Then, they took the information from each teacher and fully integrated them into a culinary arts computer program in less than a week.

Now CCSD has a cohesive and unified culinary curriculum. Every teacher is on the same page and is teaching the same material. Furthermore, by fully utilizing a computer-based educational framework, teachers in CCSD schools now access all of their tools and materials from one convenient location. The software integration has fostered a media-rich curriculum that is ideal for administrators, teachers, and students:
  • For administrators, CCSD is presently realizing the benefits and measuring the results of a successful program.
  • For teachers, the transition is a dream come true, and it has never been easier to train culinary arts professionals from a high school classroom.
  • For students, the CTE classroom has never been more dynamic, enjoyable, and relevant to the needs of the food service industry.
Technology and education change as rapidly as the Las Vegas skyline. As the culture of the city, its students, and its industries evolve, it is clear that CCSD will continue to lead the charge.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Transition to Standards Based Curriculum

It is an exciting time in our country for Career and Technical Education (CTE).

Our transition to a service-based economy over the past few decades has had both its ups and downs. However, as we move forward in a time of economic uncertainty, it is clear that both as individuals and as communities, Americans are going to have get back to creating and innovating new products and services in order to be competitive in a global market.

It seems like all trends are pointing towards a significant increase in exposure and demand for quality workforce and vocational education. Students today require skills that will prepare them for a successful career, and that education doesn't just start in college anymore.

High school programs across the country are beginning to fully realize the value of career education and the teachers that are committed to vocational education. Carl D. Perkins technology grants are back this fiscal year, not to mention that a large percentage of the 100 billion dollar education stimulus in accordance with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has been earmarked for soultions that will create jobs, and emphasize workforce education and relevant assessment methods for all types of learners.

As the educational spectrum continues to change, states are taking initiative by issuing standards and competencies for each of the 16 career 'clusters' that are designed to provide benchmarks for secondary and post secondary education. From 2004-2009, our research has shown numerous states publishing detailed objectives for CTE educators. These standards are clearly being used to reinvent and revitalize CTE programs across the nation.

In addition to transitioning to a competency-driven curriculum, state and national institutions are pushing for the integration of core academics and career education. The goal is to create a learning environment that is both realistic and relevant to all students. As this trend continues, CTE education in America will undoubtedly see greater recognition and funding, which willy not only provide a greater range of opportunities to students, but will pave the way for a productive and competitive American workforce.