2017-02-19 / News

Chesaning High School introducing new electives for next year

Agri science program expanding
By Jeanne Marcello
Staff Reporter

CHESANING – During its Feb. 13 meeting, the Chesaning Union Schools Board of Education approved additional course offerings recommended by Chesaning High School principal Kim Vincke. The proposed new class electives would start next fall.

Angie Barnette will teach a class concerning bio ethics.

Rebecca Sieggreen will offer a class about multicultural literature.

Robotics will be added to the curriculum, with a class taught by Bob Coon. The class would complement the school’s robotics team.

The most significant change will be a major realignment of the agricultural science program taught by Liz Tomac. Tomac addressed the school board, explaining her plans for the agri science program and why it’s necessary to realign the classes.

“The existing program has no progression,” she said. As a result, there are currently students in agri science B that had not taken agri science A. They were missing key elements from the first class.

Under the new program, ninth grade students will need to take agricultural biology A and B to receive biology credit.

Students in 10th grade will take advanced studies in agriculture and natural resources A and B before they can take the upper level electives. Tomac said, “Advanced studies in agriculture and natural resources will provide students with the opportunity to explore topics in domestic animal production, animal genetics and reproduction, soils and plant nutrition, plant culture and propagation, and agricultural business and marketing.” In the first trimester, students raise and process meat chickens. In the second trimester, they focus on plant production utilizing the green house. Tomac said, “This course must be completed prior to student’s enrollment in the upper level agri science courses.”

The upper level agri science courses would only be open to 11th and 12th grade students who completed both courses in agricultural biology and advance studies in agriculture and natural resources. Some of the upper level courses might be offered every other year, Tomac said.

Upper level courses include food science, floral design, small animal care and management, agricultural issues and communications, agriculture finance and leadership, veterinary science, botany, an agricultural internship and environmental science.

Tomac said, “Students who are completers of the agri science program and earn their FFA state degree as a senior, as well as have been active FFA members throughout high school, can be granted six free credits to Michigan State University (MSU). This is through a special articulation MSU has developed with the Michigan FFA Association and agri science programs throughout the state.”

She added that the proposed program realignment would result in an increase in state funding. “We need a complete agri science program. The statewide ag student graduation rate is 96.6 percent,” Tomac told the board.

Vincke said, “Liz has done a great job with this. We want kids to take classes based on career pathways, or at least career interest. There are a lot of jobs in agriculture.”

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