Germantown: High School Adds an Extra Hour to the School Day

Chef Bell heated up some oil in Germantown High School's kitchen faciliites.
Chef Shawn Matick heated up some oil in Germantown High School's kitchen.

A week ago, students at Germantown High School stepped foot into the classroom for the first time this school year. This year, a few of their school days just got a little longer. Starting on Sept. 14, students will receive an extra hour of education on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The extra class period will be dedicated to an elective of their choice.

“The school district looked at our math and reading scores, and based on the fact that we’re a struggling school, we are doing this to turn ourselves around,” said Reginald Johnson, the vice president of Germantown High School.

All of the teachers at the school were polled to determine what kind of supplemental learning opportunities they would like to provide. “A lot of the classes are based off of teachers’ hobbies,” Johnson said. Classes include cooking, Lego robotics, poetry and sewing.

“It’s going to be pretty fun,” said senior Gwen Lassiter, who chose the supplementary catering program offered. “We make our own menus, we sit down with the chefs, and we choose what we will make the next week.”

The catering program is an extension of an already established culinary program at Germantown High School. Instead of teaching the students how to cook, the instructors will focus on how to run a catering company. “What my hope is that by March, we’ll have a fully operating catering business that we can take on business,” said Chef Shawn Matik who worked with the school for the past seven years. The business would serve events like Parent Night and awards ceremonies.

For Lassiter, this add an extra learning opportunity to prepare her for her future plans of opening a soul food restaurant in Philadelphia. “They are prepping us to go off into the real world,” Lassiter said.

Along with the hour elective, Germantown High School is also requiring students to take preparatory classes in hopes of raising test scores. “I think it will be successful because we are not only getting them to think differently, but we are also getting them to do differently,” Johnson said.

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