The Windsor Central School District has received a $350,000 state grant for a new agricultural laboratory at Windsor Central High School. This grant will help enhance the District’s offerings for the Ag in the Classroom program. State Senator Fred Akshar secured the grant, saying the District has gone above and beyond as partners in helping deliver quality agricultural education. Windsor has been a pilot district for the 11-month-old Ag in the Classroom program.
“When we think of future careers for our students we have to think about agriculture as a viable and vibrant option,” said Dr. Jason A. Andrews, Superintendent of the Windsor Central School District.
Ag in the Classroom brings agricultural education into schools through teachers from Cornell Cooperative Extension. Class lessons range from learning about the science and technology of agriculture to touring local farms and growing food at school gardens. In addition to Windsor’s $350,000 grant, the Owego-Apalachin School District will also receive a $350,000 award for its new agriculture laboratory.
Sen. Akshar also announced the Ag in the Classroom program will expand from its current five districts to 10. Harpursville, Maine-Endwell, Owego Apalachin, Union-Endicott and Windsor have taken part in the program since January. Now Bainbridge-Guilford, Chenango Valley, Deposit, Greene and Tioga Central will participate.
Windsor will use the grant to build an agricultural educational lab. This lab will be in a new STEAM, or science, technology, engineering, ag/arts, and math room that will be constructed in the High School as part of the District’s upcoming capital project.
“We are thrilled with the addition of an agricultural lab to the District, and so grateful to community partners like Senator Akshar and Cornell Cooperative Extension for bringing this leading-edge technology to our students. This helps us further our mission to give students the 21st-century skills they need to be college- and career-ready,” said Dr. Andrews.
According to the USDA and Purdue University, An average of nearly 60,000 high-skilled ag and related job openings are expected annually in the United States, with only about 35,000 grads in food, ag, renewable resources or the environment graduating each year to fill them.
”The engagement and enthusiasm we saw from students during the first year of Ag in the Classroom exceeded our expectations. We know students are learning first-hand about the range of careers available in agriculture and the science and technology needed to bring food from the farm to the table,” said Dr. Andrews.