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Hereford High joins pilot program on agricultural science

Math, sciences taught along with hands-on aspects of managing natural resources

January 04, 2010|By Arin Gencer | arin.gencer@baltsun.com

During a recent lab on cell respiration, for example, Schaefer moved from one table to another to observe her class' progress.

"How long do you have to stir it for?" one of the teens asked when she came by, referring to a glass vial with a solution inside.

"Does it say right there?" Schaefer replied. She pointed to the lab instructions on his desk, before turning to the next pair.

Having a "nationally recognized program" lifts a burden off teachers, Schaefer said.

"When I started, there was no agricultural science, animal science curriculum," she said, which meant she had to spend more time developing lessons.

Teachers undergo training to teach the CASE classes, essentially taking a condensed version, McNerney said. They also have access to support online throughout the school year, she added. "A lot of the preparation work is done for them."

Hereford teacher Anna Warner will next be piloting CASE's plant agricultural science course.

The Hereford zone is the only part of the county with agricultural instruction, said Rhonda D. Hoyman, the district's technical programs supervisor. If the CASE model works out, Hoyman said, school officials hope to eventually integrate it into other schools.

Schaefer's students said they enjoy the more activities-based aspect of the class.

"I like this better than classwork," said LaMonica, a sophomore, while flexing the chicken wing he and Feinberg were examining.

"With the new curriculum, it's a lot more hands-on, a lot more labs," said junior Amanda Shuster, who wants to go into agricultural education. "We're not learning as much out of a textbook, which I really like."

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