Coss Creates Captivating Culture

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Coss Creates Captivating Culture

Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Mrs. Coss builds a positive environment for the students at Greater Latrobe.

Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Mrs. Coss builds a positive environment for the students at Greater Latrobe.

Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Mrs. Coss builds a positive environment for the students at Greater Latrobe.

Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Mrs. Coss builds a positive environment for the students at Greater Latrobe.

Anne Dalton, Managing Editor

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With many additions to Greater Latrobe Senior High School this school year, 2003 graduate Mrs. Coss was an addition to the uplifting atmosphere.  Not only has she been a wonderful asset to the school environment, she has had a positive approach to everything.

The Family and Consumer Science courses she teaches are divided into three pathways: Fashion and Design, Hospitality and Tourism, and Child Development.  Among the Fashion and Design focus, she teaches Fabric Arts I, Fabric Arts and Design, and is excited for an Interior Design class available to take starting in the Fall of 2019.  

Child Development I and II is offered within the Child Development division.  The Child Development II class of 31 students had the opportunity to go and observe children in kindergarten through grade two in the elementary schools, which allowed them to gain experience with younger children in a school setting first hand. 

Mrs. Coss prefers authentic assessment and real world applicable learning.  She does not give many tests because she would rather students show or apply what they know in a real way.  “I like the students to be able to learn hands on and I like to have them do or experience what they would potentially be doing down the road,” said Coss.

Students in her Fabric Arts classes made monster doll pin cushions, cloth napkins, throw pillows, and two projects of their own choice during the first semester.  The hospitality classes were assigned various projects ranging from making a realistic hotel website to building a 3D food truck model. Senior Kameran Giannilli said “I like that she gives us space to come up with our own ideas.  She lets us be creative and apply it to our work.”

Intro to Hospitality and Customer Service are the two new courses offered this year in the Family and Consumer Sciences department as well as Exploring Foods, which combined the previous Basic Culinary and Foods I courses.  “My background in serving and bartending really helped me in teaching the hospitality courses,” said Coss. “I was a Corporate Trainer for Quaker Steak and Lube for three years, which gave me an immense amount of experience.”

Most of her class sizes are relatively large, but she manages to stay on top and cover the material that needs to be covered.  “I try to be upfront with my expectations and have adult-like conversations so that students can learn from their mistakes,” said Coss.  “Large classes are tough, but being as organized as possible helps me personally.”

Mrs. Coss has a vision to expand the department and have it grow in the next few years.  “I want to bring back Kittykat Preschool,” said Coss. “I would like to bring in more people from the outside, have a student-run business, and offer more college in high school courses.”  

She hopes the student-run business would assist in costume design for the plays and musicals, the food classes teaming up with Cats Cafe, and a clothing repair for the students and faculty.

Although Latrobe is advancing the Family and Consumer Science department, other schools are limiting these types of courses.  “I think it is sad districts are cutting Family and Consumer Science courses as it is reducing opportunities to learn basic skills that are beneficial for students’ futures,” said Coss.

During her time as a student of Greater Latrobe, she wrote for Serendipity Magazine, and took many business classes.  She was also a participant in the marching band during her sophomore year.  “I spent a lot of time figuring out who I was in high school,” said Coss.

After high school, she attended Edinboro University and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Business.  At the time, she was waiting tables and bartending at different places.

“I moved back in with my parents when I was 25 and decided to go back to school,” said Coss.  “I drove to Indiana University of Pennsylvania everyday to earn my Master’s of Education in Business/Workforce Development.”

Once she earned her degree, she interviewed for a job in Virginia for the Augusta County School District.  She resided in Harrisonburg, Virginia for two years and taught high school students in the neighboring county.  “In the spring of 2014, I took a risk and moved back to Greensburg without a job,” said Coss. “I was dating my now husband at the time and long distance was very hard on the both of us.”  

In the fall of 2015, she found herself teaching computer classes to elementary students in the McGuffey School District.  Before coming back to her home of Greater Latrobe after being with McGuffey for two years, she was hired in the Plum Borough School District last year to teach STEM for kindergarten through sixth grade.  

She said, “All the moves were readying myself to come back here.  It was a natural fit for me to take the Praxis II Family and Consumer Sciences Test and become math certified in grades 7-9 before applying for any openings in the Greater Latrobe School District.”   

She tied the knot with her husband right before the start of this school year and they have been married for a little over six months.   The couple enjoys spending time with their dog, loves to go out to eat at nice restaurants, and watch television. In the future, they hope to travel to Europe together to see the rich history, architecture, and experience the culture. This school year is her first year teaching at the high school and for our district.  Her goal was always to be able to come back and teach where she graduated from.

Mrs. Coss has been an admirable role model for many at Greater Latrobe as she never fails to show her kind and devoted personality each day.  On demonstration day in her foods class, she shares cookies and other food she has prepared with the faculty in the school. Her continuous hard work will help in the growth of the school district forthcoming.

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