Friday, October 14, 2016

#FlashbackFriday September Program of the Month

In Pennsylvania we have over 150 FFA chapters that represent the Blue and Gold at its finest. There is one chapter that has stood above the rest to become our September program of the month. The W.B. Saul FFA Chapter!

Walter Biddle Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences was founded in 1943. It was first known as the Wissiahickon Farm School until it was later renamed in 1957. Although the name has change, their mission remains the same. Their mission is to create and withhold a diverse learning community to develop in students the understanding of and appreciation for the career and leadership opportunities that are available to them in the many fields of agriculture. It is also their commitment to cultivate each student’s individual abilities to prepare him or her for a lifetime of productive academics, vocational, and civil endeavors. This mission of providing students a unique educational experience of both high academic expectations as well as a deeply rooted commitment to agriculture is one of many reasons why W.B. Saul was chosen as September’s Program of the Month.

Current Program Teachers: 
Jane Arbasak
Guy Amoroso
Lisa Blum
Scott Geller
Gail Koskela
Jessica McAtamney
George Ruvarac
Garth Schuler
Val Simmens
Greg Smith
Tiffany Turrentine

These educators believe in the future of agriculture and developing an appreciation of agricultural science along with developing a responsibility for improving, preserving, and managing the earth’s natural resources. They are fully committed to preparing their students to become active citizens who work and/or study within their chosen field of interest. 

To help aid educators in achieving this, W.B. Saul was recently awarded the STEM mentoring award in the category of excellence in public-private partnerships, during a STEM Mentoring Symposium at the White House. Jessica McAtamney noted, "With this grant, our teachers will be able to provide a true hands-on application of the agricultural curriculum that is currently being taught. The grant will enable Saul's teachers to be at the forefront environment technology."

This grant has allowed them to expand upon their newest project. Through this project they have two goals that they would like to achieve. First, to increase interest in green careers that involve science, technology, engineering and math by putting students in touch with mentors and immersing them in project-based learning. Second, to engage the broader school community in the value of green infrastructure for urban settings, which could include bioswales, small wetlands, green roofs and rain gardens.

Recipients from W.B. Saul High School in Philadelphia, the CH2M Foundation and The Nature Conservancy show their award for a public-private partnership to teach STEM to high schoolers. Source: CH2M.

Along with environmental focused courses, W.B. Saul offers multiple courses for their students to choose from within many agricultural topic areas. W.B. Saul offers courses in the following agricultural topic areas:
Plant Science
Food Science
AgroEcology
Large Animal Science
Equine Science
Small Animal/ Veterinary Science
Aquaculture
Natural Resource Management

W. B. Saul high school has been noted as the cornerstone for the future of agriculture. The teacher and staff at Saul are preparing students to become premier leaders of agriculture by providing opportunities to expand their knowledge through hands on learning in their chosen agricultural topic area. 

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at teachag@psu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSUon Facebookor on our blog.

Halee Wasson

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @wasson_halee

2018 Agriculture Education Student Teacher

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