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By Joe Baxter, Smithfield High School
One of the many facets of Smithfield High School is the Family and Consumer Science Department. This department offers classes in a wide variety of areas including its own Academy. The department’s three dedicated teachers, Ms. Cassano, Ms. DiSano, and Mrs. Richards, have worked tirelessly to build up a department that serves many of the students at SHS. They are proud of their work, especially because their classes are among the most unique in the building.
Mrs. Richards said, “This year we have five full sections of food, nutrition, and wellness which is always popular among students because they get to learn how to cook, and they learn how to incorporate health science into their everyday lives.”
Ms. DiSano added, “In our department students learn skills that they will use for the rest of their lives every single day, and those are the most valuable things that we can teach.”
Mrs. Richards describes the Family Consumer Science Department (FCS) as a melting pot, which is very accurate. The department is housed in one large room, which is made up of several different areas for each of the different disciplines. The department, however, prides itself on being able to go beyond those walls. Many students pull skills from their other areas of study to improve their work in FCS. For example, there is a huge overlap between textiles and interior design with art classes.
One class that is particularly interesting, and fairly new, is “Senior Survival”. Mrs. Richards described it saying, “Senior Survival is a crash course on how to live without mom or dad. You learn how to cook, iron that shirt you’ll wear to your new job, and how to sew on that button that falls off 10 minutes before an interview, to name only a few things.”
Another great opportunity that the FCS department gives SHS students is the Early Childhood Education Academy. Students in this academy take a number of classes where they learn all about the development of children, teaching and learning, and careers in the childcare field. Juniors and seniors in the Academy also have the unique opportunity to work with children from the community during their classes. They design and execute lessons, and monitor the growth of their young students. In addition to this, students gain field experience when they are placed in a local elementary school or preschool.
Many students excel in this academy, like Michaela Dolan, a junior, who said, “ The academy is an outstanding program that has not only prepared me for a career in education, but has also made me grow as a student and individual.”
Last month 13 students earned certificates of completion from the Rhode Island Department of Education and the Smithfield School Committee. Both the Academy and the entire Family Consumer Science Department prepares students for life after high school in many creative, and engaging ways which is why this department is always a favorite among students, and an asset to SHS.