We are pleased to announce that the Downingtown STEM Academy will be adding another pathway to its program called “Foundations to Agriculture.” As a result, STEM, or The Downingtown STEAM Academy as it will be called starting in 2016-17, will be dedicated to sustainable farming, organic food production, and environmental protection.
Students who select the agriculture pathway will be prepared for a variety of careers, including ranching, farming, agriculture science, horticulture management, and equine management.
“All of these jobs are extremely important to the economy in Chester County,” says Art Campbell, Headmaster. As part of the new curriculum, he adds, students will learn about natural resources, soils and pesticides, animal science and basic horticulture.
Downingtown High School East is creating new turf fields so that STEM can convert Kottmeyer Stadium into useable farm land, including space for free-range chickens, cows and goats. Students at STEAM and West will now go to East for athletic practices and games.
In addition, agriculture will be incorporated into many subject areas at STEM, including physical education. “We’re going to offer horseback riding lessons,” says Eric McComsey, Curriculum Leader for the DASD Health and Wellness Department. “Even milking cows is tough physically.”
Susan Boardman, Internships & Partnership Leader at the STEM Academy, is working to secure partnerships with many local farms, including Maysie’s Farm Conservation Center, Wyebrook Farm, and Far Away Farms in Glenmoore. She also hopes to offer many more internships to students, including one with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Dr. Mussoline, Superintendent of the Downingtown Area School District, is thrilled to provide this unique opportunity to its secondary students. “We live in a world where food is the most important resource,” says Dr. Mussoline. “Science, technology, engineering and math are all important – but at the end of the day, you want fresh eggs!”
And how to the STEM students feel about it?
“I really want to apply to Cornell,” says STEM Senior April Joekin. “It is one of the top agricultural schools in the country and this program will really help my chances at getting in.”
What do you think about STE(A)M’s new mission? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!