One of the key focuses of the proposed 2018-19 budget is expanding academic programs to make sure BKW students are as college-and-career ready as possible when they walk out our doors. And the expanding and thriving Agricultural Science and FFA chapter are prime examples of those initiatives.
The new BKW Agricultural Science program and FFA chapter are rapidly gaining state and national recognition. Earlier this year, the district was awarded an $8,000 grant through the New York Agricultural Education and Outreach project and Cornell University. That money will be used towards the district’s Agricultural Science program, including the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment and lab supplies for the 960 square-foot hightunnel built on campus in mid-December, which was funded by a $10,000 grant from the Albany County Soil and Water Conservation Department. In April, the district received a $2,500 grant from Tractor Supply Company and the National FFA Foundation. That money will go towards purchasing a floral cooler for the Agricultural Science program. In just a few months, the program has received over $20,000 in grants, and the district is looking to continue that success in the coming months and years.
But the success hasn’t just been limited to financial gains. BKW students have also been winning regional agricultural and FFA competitions. In September, 28 BKW students took part in the 12th Annual SUNY Cobleskill Agriculture and Natural Resources Day and won six awards. Liz Lendrum took first place in 4-Wheel Wagon Tractor Driving, Ryan Stansfield took first in Landscape Design, while Breanna Larghe and Samantha Filkins took first in the Equine Team Competition. And in March, Kayleigh Reynolds-Flynn placed first in the FFA sub-state People in Agriculture Leadership Development Event, and will be competing at the New York State FFA competition in May.
Academically, the district is adding three new Agricultural Science courses to the curriculum for 2018-19. These courses will bring the total number of classes offered in Agricultural Science to eight. This is all part of a continuing student-driven Agricultural Science and FFA program that continues to give back to the school and community, such as when FFA members met with Elementary students in March to speak with them about FFA and the agriculture program at BKW!