SCHUYLERVILLE — Schuylerville High School has had a robust agriculture program for decades. But now, after an 18-month process, the CTE (career and technical education) program has been approved by the state.
“Going through this certification process was almost seamless because of the high quality of the program currently,” said Sarah Battiste, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development.
“The CTE endorsement that we have now allows our students to use that as a pathway to graduation,” said Principal James Ducharme. “If students go through this pathway, take these courses, these four courses prescribed over this timeline, that is the equivalent of them going to the Meyers Center and completing a CTE-certified program over there. We now have our own program in agriculture.”
“We’ve intensified our offerings, we’ve intensified our rigor in the classes,” said Mary Elizabeth Foote, an Agricultural Education teacher. “We really solidified that we are meeting state and national standards, and that our students are really pursuing a speciality here in-house.”
The program provides a diverse array of classes, according to Agricultural Education teacher Carlyn Miller. These classes range from business to plants to animals to food science. “We cover just about all of it at this point,” she said.
“The diversity in the classes that our kids have the opportunity to take, you would not expect from a small school like us,” said Principal Ducharme.
As part of the program, students get a taste of what a career in agriculture might be like. One initiative allows students to take sap from maple trees and turn it into maple products such as syrup, candy, and cream. During this process, students learn about the maple industry, as well as the importance of conservation.
While some graduates do immediately enter the workforce, most pursue higher education. Recent Schuylerville grads have continued their agricultural studies at institutions such as Cornell University, SUNY Cobleskill, and Delaware Valley University.
Schuylerville’s agriculture program is open to all students, and according to Foote, an estimated 65% of them are enrolled in at least one agricultural class.
“This is not a gender-specific study area,” Miller said.
“There’s not a mold of what anyone in agriculture could look like,” said Foote. “It’s just someone who has an interest that develops into a passion, and then the rest is going to be history from there.”
For more details on the program, visit www.schuylervilleschools.org.