Please view the Shaping Shepaug presentation to learn more about our upcoming Agriscience Program, and some of Megan Bennett's key points from the recent Community Conversations held in Washington, Roxbury, and Bridgewater.
Above are the newest renderings of our Agriscience facilities! To view the full size images, please click on the photo.
- Agriscience Ed Specs & Curriculum
- Architectural Drawings
- Facts, Questions and Answers
- Shepaug Agriscience Common Application
Shepaug Valley Regional Agriscience
(Agriscience, Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
Frequently Asked Questions
When does the Shepaug Agriscience program open its doors?
How will the agriscience program change Shepaug Valley School and the Shepaug experience?
The Shepaug Valley School learning community welcomes students from Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, and Sherman to join in the Shepaug experience. The additional students will add diversity and variety to all aspects of Shepaug! All students will have access to agriscience electives and experiences with animals, plants, and technology.
More students means more opportunities:
- more and varied course offerings
- varied perspectives in our classrooms
- elective course offerings to explore areas of interest
How are students selected for the Agriscience program?
Students apply from the sending districts in the fall of their eighth grade year. Each year, applications are due on the first Friday in January. Students who apply must submit the application*, transcript, personal essay, as well as 3 letters of recommendation. The criteria for enrollment include:
- demonstrated interest in an agriscience career pathway
- grades (end of the year grades in 6th-8th)
- behavior and attendance
- School counselor recommendation
- teacher recommendation
- Personal recommendation
- personal interest essay
*Please find the Connecticut Agricultural Science and Technology Education Program Application for student admission here: Connecticut Agricultural Science and Technology Education Program.
What topics will students experience at Shepaug’s four agriscience pathways?
- Plant Systems: Through participation in independent and group activities, students gain hands-on, practical experience in communication, business, and teamwork as they learn and apply foundational knowledge of plant systems, the valuable role plant systems have in all aspects of life, such as pharmaceuticals, food production, clothing and fibers, and related career pathways.
- Food Science: Students will learn the importance of safety and sanitation, food borne pathogens, preservation and packaging methods, nutrition through USDA MyPlate, cultural norms on a global level, food sustainability, and careers related to the food science industry, such as USDA Inspector, food scientist, and microbiologist.
- Animal Science: Students will investigate the health and care of animals, including animal physical and emotional well-being, zoonotic diseases will be discussed, ethical treatment of animals, products and uses, companion animals, human and animal health concerns for the human population at large and the sustainability related to animal science, together with careers associated with animal science.
- Power, Structural & Mechanical Systems: Students engage in research, development and application of their skill in areas such as: Industrial Operations & Safety Protocols, Material Attributes & Processes, Design and Engineer of Agricultural Structures, Renewable & Non-Renewable Energy & Power, Simple & Complex Machines, Design & Manufacturing Engineering and Career Exploration
Are agriscience and STEM offered separately?
Agriscience possesses all of the elements of STEM. The content areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are applied to real-world applications through the agriscience pathways. STEM is embedded within each lesson.
How will the agriscience program benefit the existing courses at Shepaug?
The courses offered at Shepaug connect curricular learning to real-world applications. The agriscience program will be a dynamic opportunity to enhance the learning experience; especially in the realm of science, technology, engineering, math, business, public speaking, and collaborative skills. Students will have access to state-of-the-art equipment, cutting-edge science labs, environmental learning, CDC mechanics, farm and domesticated animals, greenhouses, hydroponics labs, drones, GPS tracking devices, cloud-based data collection and storage for crop analytics. The change the new program will bring to the SVS learning community is that every student should be enriched by agriscience opportunities every year.
Can non-program students take agriscience classes as electives?
Yes, students who are enrolled in the agriscience program will be given first priority to the agriscience electives. Any openings in the agriscience elective courses can be filled with non-program students.
What is expected for agriscience students each year?
All agriscience students will be part of a three circle model aligning to State Standards, which include: Class/Lab, SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience), and FFA. All three components create a holistic, layered-learning platform for the students.
Freshman Year is an exploration of the four agriscience pathways: Plant Systems, Animal Science, Food Science and Power, Structural & Mechanical Systems. In addition, the students engage in developing their SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) learning. The direct student involvement in designing their program provides students with the opportunity to learn business skills. Students use applicable software applications and career development exposure in an agriscience field of interest. Students actively participate in developing their leadership skills through the FFA Leadership Organization. Completing freshman year, agriscience students transition into one of the four agriscience pathways they experienced during their freshman year for the start of sophomore year.
The student’s sophomore year continues with FFA and implement their SAE work. Sophomore year will be a year of growth and development in one of the four pathways.
For example, a student who decides that his/her passion aligns with Plant Systems will be enrolled in Plant Systems II, which will allow the student to move beyond basic understanding of plants into understanding the environmental impacts on plant species, benefits of plant (medicinal and ecological), invasive species, and care. A student choosing Plant Systems will research and engineer products as well as form more complex understandings of topics, such as hydroponics, floral & greenhouse management, water and heat management, IPM (Integrated Pest Management) sustainable practices, economic trends, and product designs & marketing.
During the agriscience students’ junior & senior years, students continue with their enrollment in FFA and conduct their SAE work necessary to complete their program requirements. The students will study more advanced concepts/courses.
For example, a student involved in the Plant Systems pathway might specialize in a sustainable food production and connect research and the SAE to this specialization. Students will have the enhanced opportunity to enroll in agriculture classes aligned to UCONN ECE (Early College Experience) courses, providing them with the opportunity for earning college credit in both the junior and senior years. UCONN ECE courses are taught by a certified adjunct UCONN professor.
Must agriscience students enroll in FFA?
Yes. It is part of the holistic experience the students in the agriscience program receive. FFA grows leaders, builds communities and strengthens agriculture. Through this leadership component of the agriscience program, students become informed and supportive consumers, and leaders. The FFA compliments the agriscience classroom and SAE experience with local, district, state and national level competitions in areas ranging from agriscience based competitions to business-based, career development competitions.
For more information please visit the FFA official website here.
For more information please visit the FFA official website here.
What is the FFA?
The National FFA Leadership Organization is the largest youth organization in the United States with 653,359 FFA members, aged 12-21, in 8,568 chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to:
- Develops competent and assertive agricultural leadership.
- Increases awareness of the global and technological importance of agriculture and its contribution to our well-being.
- Strengthens the confidence of agriculture students in themselves and their work.
- Promotes the intelligent choice and establishment of an agricultural career.
- Encourages achievement in supervised agricultural experience programs.
- Encourages wise management of economic, environmental and human resources of the community.
- Develops interpersonal skills in teamwork, communications, human relations and social interaction.
- Builds character and promotes citizenship, volunteerism and patriotism.
- Promotes cooperation and cooperative attitudes among all people.
- Promotes healthy lifestyles.
- Encourages excellence in scholarship.
What is an SAE?
Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) is the internship opportunity beyond the school day. Students design their experience to support their development in an agriscience area of choice. The SAE is the opportunity for students to see their educational experiences transform into experience.
Will students have bus transportation to and from school?
Yes. Students coming from surrounding towns will be supplied transportation to and from the agriscience program by their sending district for regular beginning and end times for the school day.
How many hours of work experience will my student have to complete outside of school?
Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) hours will be 50 hours for freshmen, 150 hours each for sophomores, juniors and seniors.
Will students be required to go to a place of business to get their required SAE hours?
Only if it fits into their schedule and aligns to their passion in agriscience. There are many avenues to achieving enriching SAE experiences including research projects, entrepreneurships and showmanship. Many opportunities can take place at the agriscience program or at home. For more information see the CT State Dept of Education SAE Placement Manual Document at: SAE Placement Manual.
Are their benefits for college scholarships for students enrolled in the Agriscience program?
In addition to being eligible for the same scholarships that all non-agriscience students may apply for, agriscience students are eligible for FFA sponsored scholarships. In 2018, the National FFA Organization awarded 2.7 million dollars in scholarships designed to fit the diversity of agriscience applicants. More than 1800 scholarships were available from FFA sponsors. Examples of sponsors include: Ford, John Deere, American Veterinary Medical Association, and Hormel Foods Corporation. For access to the complete list go to: FFA Scholarships
How is the Shepaug Agriscience program funded?
The Region 12 School District has worked closely with the State Department of Education (SDE). The program receives financial and instructional support from the SDE. Payment for each student comes from other sending districts as well as the state, and this payment allows the program to grow and thrive. Region 12 continues to look for additional grant funding and industry support to enhance and enrich the students’ experience in the program.
In the 2018-2019 school year, student tuition from sending communities was set by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CT SDE) at $6,823 per student. Each sending town is responsible for transportation to and from school. Additionally, every agriscience program in Connecticut is subsidized per student by the SDE with an annual ASTE (Agricultural Science & Technology Education), Operating Cost Grant. In the 2018-2019 school year, the subsidy was set at $3911 per student.
Tuition and subsidies are not the only funds supplied by the SDE. Grants are available each year to provide funding for goods and services that supplement (not supplant) the funds provided by local boards of education.
What makes agriscience different than Vo-Ag?
Agriscience has been evolving for years. Our agriscience program is developing based on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math combined with the agriscience pathways. Simply put, agriscience develops a scientific mind and agricultural skills. The engineering component coupled with the advanced technology allows our students to experience hydroponics labs, drones in field work, biofuel development and food-to-table opportunities.
If you would like to know more about the program, please contact
Shepaug Principal, Kim Gallo: firstname.lastname@example.org or
AgriScience Teacher, Lori Trovato: email@example.com