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Program Information

The Agricultural Education Mission

Agricultural education prepares students for successful careers and a lifetime of informed choices in the global agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources systems. Through agricultural education, students are provided opportunities for leadership development, personal growth and
career success. Agricultural education instruction is delivered through three major components:

1. Classroom/Laboratory Instruction
2. Supervised Agricultural Experience programs (work-based learning)
3. Student leadership (National FFA Organization)

Classroom/Laboratory Instruction
Our classes are capped at 15 students and we spend the majority of our classroom hours in our lab spaces. We have a small animal lab, large animal facility, aquaculture lab, mechanics shop, 2 greenhouses and a floral design lab. All classes are College Preparatory level and students can also earn College Credits through our UConn ECE or Middlesex Community College partnerships. Students spend one block in Agricultural classes during their freshman exploratory year and then 2 blocks each subsequent year. For further course details please refer to our Course Catalog and ASTE Pathway guide.

Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE)
The SAE is a required component of a total Agricultural Education program and intended for every student. Through their involvement in the SAE program students are able to consider multiple careers and occupations, learn expected workplace behavior, and develop specific skills within an industry, and are provided opportunities to apply academic and occupational skills in the workplace or a simulated workplace environment. Through these strategies, students learn how to apply what they are learning in the classroom as they prepare to transition into the world of college and career opportunities.

There are more than 300 diverse careers in agriculture and SAE provides opportunities for students to apply classroom learning in a real world or simulated real world setting. There are several types of SAE’s a student may choose to participate in: Placement (volunteer or paid) Entrepreneurship (operating a small business), Research (experimentation or analysis), Invention (to solve an agricultural problem or increase efficiency), School-Based Enterprise (school gardens, equipment maintenance, livestock care and management) Service Learning (community improvement).

During their freshman year students explore different SAE opportunities in the areas of plant science, animal science, aquaculture, and agricultural
mechanics. In the spring of freshman year parents, students and agricultural teachers work cooperatively to develop an appropriate and
individualized SAE program for each student. Students must have an SAE on file prior to the close of their freshman year. We also hold an SAE night
for our freshman families in February to share information regarding the SAE and give families the opportunity to view the SAE programs of many
of our upperclassmen.

Student Leadership: FFA
FFA is a dynamic youth organization that changes lives and prepares members for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. FFA develops members’ potential and helps them discover their talent through hands-on experiences, which give members the tools to achieve real-world success. 

Members are future chemists, veterinarians, government officials, entrepreneurs, bankers, international business leaders, teachers and premier professionals in many career fields.

All students enrolled in Agricultural Science & Technology education at Rockville High School are members of the FFA. We elect a slate of officers each year and hold monthly FFA meetings to plan our annual events. Students are encouraged to participate in the numerous Career Development Events and competitions that FFA hosts.

Admission Procedures
The Agricultural Science & Technology Education (ASTE) Center in Vernon is a regional program serving the towns of Bolton, East Windsor, Ellington, Manchester, Somers, South Windsor, Stafford, Tolland, Union, and Vernon. Students in all 10 towns must complete a common state application to enroll in the Program.

Acceptance is based primarily on the student’s interest in agriculture but academic, attendance and behavioral records are also considered. A letter of recommendation from the student’s guidance counselor and a second unrelated adult are also required.

We encourage interested students to attend our annual Fall Open House in November and completed applications are due in December. Applications are reviewed and scored by the ASTE staff and then interviews are scheduled for January. We interview applicants with their parent(s) or guardian(s) to review the program requirements and address any questions or concerns that arise.

Applications are accepted beyond December but we highly recommend that students apply as early as possible to avoid delays and conflicts when registering for Freshmen year courses. Course registration occurs each March for all students at RHS and late acceptance will often result in students not obtaining the classes they desire.

A link to the application is on our website: www.vernonpublicschools.org/aste or contact us for more information: erika.bahler@vernonct.org or elaine.condon@vernonct.org (860)-870-6050 x4054.