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Highlights of the Shepaug Agriscience Academy


Agriscience and agriculture are rapidly developing and critical global areas of interest. Agriscience develops an inquiring scientific mind in addition to entry-level workforce agricultural skills.  Shepaug’s Agriscience Academy incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in every pathway serving the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. All Agriscience Academy students will be part of a three circle model aligning to State Standards, which include: Classroom and Laboratory instruction, SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience), and membership in the National FFA Organization. All three components create a holistic, layered-learning platform for the students.

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 (report cards from middle school)
  • Middle school attendance and discipline records
  • School counselor recommendation
  • Teacher recommendation
  • Personal recommendation    
  • Personal interest essay


Application for Student Admission


This common application is used by all state of CT Agriscience programs.
Not every area of study is available in every Agriscience program.


The Freshman Agriscience Experience

As first year students, Agriscience Academy students spend one quarter exploring each of the four pathways (Plant Systems, Animal Science, Food Science and Power, Structural and Technical Systems). In the spring of their freshman year, students indicate their first and second choices for Pathway selection. Their 10th, 11th and 12th grade courses will be in their chosen pathway.

Shepaug Agriscience Academy’s Four Pathways

Plant SystemsStudents who choose this pathway will experience the following learning in Grades 10-12 through participation in independent and group activities. Students will gain hands-on, practical experience in horticulture, indoor and outdoor plantings, and botanical fields of study. Communication, business, and teamwork are developed 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 who choose this pathway will experience learning by doing in Shepaug’s industrial kitchen in grades 10-12. They will study 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 who choose this pathway will investigate the health and care of animals in grades 10-12. Topics of study include animal physical and emotional well-being, ethical treatment of animals, contagious disease and biosecurity, products and uses, companion and livestock 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, serve as global context.

Power, Structural & Technical Systems - Students who choose this pathway engage in research, development  and application of  their skill in grades 10-12. Topics of study include: Industrial Operations with a focus on Safety Protocols, Material Attributes, Simple & Complex Machines, Design & Engineering of Agricultural Structures, Renewable & Non-Renewable Energy Systems & Power Generation, Design & Manufacturing Engineering and Career Exploration.
What is expected for Agriscience students each year?

Freshmen explore 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 actively participate in developing their leadership skills through the FFA. Completing freshman year, agriscience students indicate their first and second Pathway choice for their courses in 10th, 11th and 12th grade.

Sophomores continue with FFA and implement their SAE work. Sophomore year will be a year of growth and development, where students can select 3 semester-classes based on their interests (1.5 credits). 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, and enroll in 1 year-long agriscience course in addition to a semester course (1.5 credits).

Additional opportunities include Honors studies for 10th, 11th and 12th grade courses, and UCONN ECE (Early College Experience) courses, providing students 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.

The Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) at Shepaug

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. Projects may take place at school, at home, or at a place of work. The SAE is the opportunity for students to see their educational experiences transform into experience. 
For more information please see Shepaug’s SAE information page here.
Benefits for College Scholarships
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 $3,911 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.


Tyler Cremeans
Director of Agriscience