For the first time since COVID, the District Bridge Program collaborates with culinary arts class


Sophia Doss

Students work together to prepare their assigned dish for the Bridge Program.

Sophia Doss, Senior Reporter

On Wednesday, Nov. 16, the district-wide English Learning Development (ELD) Bridge Program collaborated with Burlingame for the first time since 2018, cooking a meal with bilingual students. Shannon Couch, the culinary arts and nutrition teacher, hosted the event during her prep period.

“Mrs. Couch works so hard and has so many classes and very little time,” Bridge teacher Nina Finci said. “So for her to give up her prep to host this is really special and we appreciate it.”

The ELD Bridge Program offers a guided curriculum for ELD level I students entering the district as seniors with few to no credits. The goal of this program is to allow students to start future english-based courses at an intermediate instead of a beginning level, providing them access to more classes and prompting more success in the future. Although they attend lessons at a satellite campus of the San Mateo Adult School, students in the Bridge Program are registered as Peninsula High School students.

Coming to Burlingame allows the Bridge students greater access to resources that they don’t have at their campus. Typically, their learning experiences differ greatly from the one we enjoy here at Burlingame. Collaborating with Burlingame students at this event allows Bridge students to not only practice their English skills, but also experience what it might be like to go to a high school like Burlingame and participate in culinary arts.

“We don’t have a kitchen,” Finci said, “We literally just have three bungalows. That’s our school. We don’t have a lot of resources you guys have. It’s really important that my students get to participate in some of the things that maybe you all take for granted.”

This event was last held in December of 2018 and May of 2019 to give ELD students the chance to practice leadership and community-building skills. Couch and the Bridge teachers were eager to do it again the following year; however, COVID-19 disrupted plans, delaying the event until this fall. 

Burlingame and Bridge students collaborate to follow the frittatas recipe, involving minced onions and chicken. (Sophia Doss)

During the 2018 events, the students cooked two meals, a native El Salvadorian dish and a traditional Californian dish. This time, Couch chose the dish: frittatas. 

The students collaborated with one another on each step, from preparing and cutting ingredients to cooking the food on the stove. At the beginning of the event, students were separated on different sides of the classroom; by the end, they were talking and laughing in groups. 

The Bridge teachers emphasized the impact it has on their students. 

“I think it makes my students feel more confident,” Finci said, “Just to be able to speak especially with peers their age, since they’re new to learning English. This is a great way to ease them into practicing this.”

Not only do the Bridge students enjoy this event, but Burlingame students also look forward to it.

“I’m excited because I love making food,” junior Daniela Cano said. “It’s a fun and interesting thing to do, to be able to speak Spanish to somebody and also make food.”