The Commerce High School Nutrition and Food Science program, led by instructor Mrs. Camille Whalen, has earned the “stamp of excellence” from the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE).

Mrs. Whalen, who is also the FCCLA advisor, graduated from Commerce High School in 2008 said that she became a FACS teacher because of the FACS classes that she took in middle and high school in Commerce. She just finished her eighth year of teaching Nutrition and Food Science.

This year was the inaugural year for the GaDOE to offer Industry Certification in the program area of Nutrition and Food Science, which is housed under the Family and Consumer Sciences Department.

The Industry Certification process, an initiative by the GaDOE, reviews programs by leaders in business and industry. It helps strengthen all program components including, but not limited to: project-based instruction in the curriculum, updated lab equipment and technology for the classroom, and business and community involvement in all aspects of the program.

As part of the Industry Certification process, Whalen received a grant where funds were used to purchase up-to-date equipment for classroom instruction and labs. The grant was made possible by GaDOE through state funds.

Sodexo, a food and facilities management company, supports and provides guidance for the industry certification process.

As a part of the industry certification visit, a panel consisting of the Georgia Nutrition and Food Science Director and business and industry partners toured the Nutrition and Food Science lab at CHS, conducted virtual interviews with advisory committee members and current Nutrition and Food Science students and reviewed 90-plus standards of documentation prepared by Whalen.

These pieces of documentation included pictures and pieces of communication regarding curriculum and instruction, equipment and facilities, career guidance, advisory committee, health and safety, instructional staff and FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders if America), the co-curricular Career, Technical and Student Organization (CTSO) for Nutrition and Food Science.

The evaluation team commended Mrs. Whalen and her program for maintaining the classroom and equipment in immaculate condition, working with FCCLA members to prepare them for local, state and national level competition and for developing good community relationships through projects and community service activities.

The program will submit annual reports to GaDOE over the next couple of years to maintain the credential, and will be eligible to re-certify the program in five years.

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