Launching at Augusta High School Fall 2019

AUGUSTA - Three entities have solidified a partnership that will bring a new learning opportunity to Augusta High School students. A Culinary Arts Early College Academy will launch in August 2019 thanks to the willingness of Opaa! Food Management, the food service provider to Augusta High School, and Augusta USD 402 to join with Butler Community College to create a two-year degree track that will put passionate culinary students into jobs.
The announcement of the new program was first made by the Augusta School Board on Nov. 12, and then by the Butler Community College Trustees during their regular monthly board meeting held Nov. 13.
“Opaa! Food Management is extremely excited to be a part of this collaboration,” said Jack Koehn, business development associate. “Serving students can take many forms and we look at this opportunity as an extension of that mission.”
The Early College Academy will utilize the Central Kitchen facilities at Augusta High School. The culinary degree path will provide the opportunity for high school juniors to secure an Associate of Applied Science degree (A.A.S.) in Culinary Arts from Butler’s highly regarded program, all by the time they graduate from high school.
The partnership allows for 16 seats in the academy with the first 10 being reserved for Augusta High School students. Once Augusta students have enrolled, any remaining seats will be filled with first preference going to other Butler County high school students.
Eligibility to enter the Culinary Academy includes the high school student having a 2.0 GPA and testing into the program with the necessary English and math scores required for Butler’s Academies. The students will spend half of their day on their college curriculum, being taught by Butler’s Culinary faculty, and the other half of their time on their necessary high school curriculum.
“This will be an outstanding opportunity for our students to get real-world, relevant experience and education,” said Donna Zerr, Augusta High School principal. “Not only will our school benefit; our community can reap the rewards of having skilled employees in Augusta. We are so thankful to Opaa! and Butler for taking on this endeavor with our school district for our students.”
Butler’s Early College Academies are nationally-recognized. In 2017, Butler’s Early College program was named a recipient of the Career and Preparedness Award and was one of only four top programs recognized nationwide by the ACT’s College and Career Readiness Campaign for creating an outstanding foundation to help students achieve academic success. Butler was the only Kansas college and the only community college chosen.
“We are so grateful to Opaa! and the Augusta School District for their vision and their desire to create this unique learning opportunity for their students and the community,” said Kim Krull, Ph.D., Butler Community College president. “Thank you to everyone involved for the flexibility it took to work out the details. Our Culinary program is highly regarded throughout the region, and to bring that expertise to the high school students for job readiness is truly exciting.”
Opaa!, USD 402 and Butler plan to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new program next fall after the academy is up and running and the soon-to-be chefs have their official jackets.