Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Milwaukee Public Schools and University of Wisconsin-Madison representatives committed their ongoing support to the agriculture program for Vincent High School students and called for other community partners to join them in supporting the growth of the program.
The current agriculture program at Vincent has ties to the school’s origins. Vincent, which sits on a large plot of land on the city’s northwest side, was originally built in the 1970s as an agriculture high school. The revived program began in 2012 with an introduction to agriculture class and has grown since then.
Agriculture may sound like an unusual choice for a big-city high school, but our expansive campus, and more importantly, significant career opportunities in the field, make for a strong match. Food science, for example, can help students prepare for the nearly 15,000 jobs in the Milwaukee region tied to food and beverage manufacturing. The economic impact agriculture has in Wisconsin is $88.3 billion.
This school year, every new ninth-grade student will take an Introduction to Agricultural Sciences course connecting students to the four agriculture “pathways” we now offer at the school: animal systems, plant systems, food products and processing systems and environmental service systems. All the agricultural pathways help students build the skills needed for in-demand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers and the skills needed for success in most any career as well as in college and in life.
The school has a number of facilities that support its agriculture curriculum, including a greenhouse, animal room, landscape equipment, apiary, outside gardens, aquaponics and outdoor study areas.
“Whether students plan to enter the workforce immediately after high school or plan to attend college, career and technical education programs like Vincent’s offers students an opportunity to learn more about different career options,” said MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver. “We thank UW-Madison’s commitment to build on the foundation we’ve created for the agriculture program at Vincent.”
UW-Madison provides support for Vincent’s program through funding from a five-year USDA Coordinated Agricultural Projects program, which was awarded in 2013. The program funds a full-time coordinator who develops the school’s agricultural curriculum. This year, the grant also will fund a consulting engagement with the retired principal of Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences to advise program leaders on the development of additional curriculum.
“We are delighted to continue our commitment to the leadership and vision with the announcement that Dr. Driver, MPS Superintendent, has officially approved a comprehensive proactive proposal that supports the transformation of VHS into Vincent High School of Agricultural Sciences. Vincent High and all the students, staff and community touched by this school will directly benefit from the Superintendent’s commitment to rethink high schools. Together, we have the opportunity to make national history here by bringing new and extraordinary educational and life opportunities for Vincent’s students and all they will touch through their futures—our futures,” said Molly Jahn, UW-Madison professor of genetics and agronomy.
Partnership opportunities include financial support, assistance with curriculum development, donation of equipment or mentoring for students in the program.
For more information about Vincent High School’s program or to enroll, visit mpsmke.com/EnrollMPS. To learn more about ways to partner with the agriculture program, contact Eric Radomski, MPS Career and Technical Education Program Manager, at (414) 475-8391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.