The Culinary Institute of America and the Houston Independent School District in Texas  created an educational partnership in which students can earn their first semester of CIA college credit during their junior and senior years of high school.

This dual credit program begins at Westside High School with the 2015 – 2016 academic year, with plans to expand to as many as four additional high school campuses by 2017.

This unique program will provide students in America's fourth-largest city with college level education that covers the learning objectives of the existing freshman year curriculum at the world's premier culinary college.

The program is also financially beneficial in that students who successfully complete all courses at a strong level and pass practical exams to be administered by the CIA will have one less semester of college to pay for. They will also be automatically eligible for CIA merit scholarships for the remainder of their four-year bachelor's or two-year associate degree studies.

"As an institution committed to excellence in culinary education, the CIA wants to support excellence as well at the high school level," says CIA provost Mark Erickson. "Houston is recognized nationally for its educational innovation with a highly diverse student population. Through this program, Houston culinary students will have the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school and give themselves a leg up towards rewarding careers in the exciting food world."

High school courses offered through this dual credit program will incorporate the objectives of the CIA's Culinary Fundamentals, Introduction to Food Science, Gastronomy, Product Knowledge, Mathematics, and College Writing courses.

The CIA will assist with designing kitchens in the schools to teach the hands-on courses. The college's faculty will visit occasionally to collaborate with teachers on curriculum development, and teachers from Houston will similarly visit the CIA to ensure the high curricular standards are maintained.

"HISD is excited to announce a new relationship with The Culinary Institute of America that will feed into the passion our culinary arts students have for cooking and give them more hands-on culinary experience and skills to prepare them for college and a career," says superintendent Terry Grier.

The Houston Independent School District is the largest school system in Texas, with 213,000 students and 46 high schools. The Houston area is home to many successful CIA graduates including Bryan Caswell (Reef), Justin Yu (Oxheart), Peter Holt (Lupe Tortilla), Bruce Molzan (Ruggles), Mark Cox (Mark's American Cuisine), Charles Carroll (River Oaks Country Club), Lance Fegen (Liberty Kitchen), Roy Shvartzapel (Common Bond), Matt Marcus (Eatsie Boys), and Carl Walker (Brennan's of Houston).

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