Governor's Career & Technical Academy for Renewable Resources & Agricultural Sciences
Project Lead: Halifax County Public Schools
Program Focus: The program will prepare students for careers in forestry management and leadership in forestry-related industries, including agriculture, biotechnology and manufacturing.
Partners: Halifax County Public Schools; Southern Virginia Higher Education Center; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; WoodLINKS, Inc.; Morgan Lumber; Ontario Hardwood; J.M. Huber Corporation; Virginia Cooperative Extension; Danville Community College; Southside Virginia Community College; Halifax County Board of Supervisors; H&M Logging; Virginia Department of Forestry.
Partnership Members: Halifax County Public Schools; Southern Virginia Higher Education Center; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; WoodLINKS, Inc.; Morgan Lumber; Ontario Hardwood; J.M. Huber Corporation; Virginia Cooperative Extension; Danville Community College; Southside Virginia Community College; Halifax County Board of Supervisors; H&M Logging; Virginia Department of Forestry
Lead Entity: Halifax County Public Schools
Fiscal Agent: Halifax County Public Schools
Dr. Melanie A. Stanley, Director of Academies
Halifax County Public Schools
315 South Main Street
Halifax, VA 24558
Number of Students Served: 150 middle school students; 360 high school students; 60 students in summer programs. Also, 2,586 K-5 students will have the opportunity to tour the laboratory facilities and receive introductory materials related to the program.
Career Pathways: Natural Resource Systems, Biological Engineering and Technology
Academy Goals and Description: Halifax County Public Schools (HCPS) is located in rural Southside Virginia in the heart of the wood and agricultural industries. Since this area is rich in forests, land, and timber resources, the Academy will provide students with opportunities to gain knowledge and hands-on experience in careers related to the wood and agricultural industries. This Governor's Career and Technical Academy proposes to meet state and regional strategic growth needs through the Engineering and Technology and the Natural Resource Systems career pathways. The major focus of the Academy is to address the management of forest lands, and the management and leadership of forest industry businesses by inspiring students with the qualities of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The programs and courses offered through the Governor's Career and Technical Academy for Renewable Resources and Agricultural Sciences will range from biological applications in agriculture, biotechnology, and forestry to the production of manufactured goods made from wood. The foundation of the academy will be the establishment of strong partnerships, including WoodLINKS, Inc., to provide students with opportunities for work-based learning experiences.
The focus of the Governor's Career and Technical Academy for Renewable Resources and Agricultural Sciences is to provide students with opportunities to gain the skills, knowledge, and aspirations to be successful in the agricultural and wood industries. Specifically, the goals of the academy are to: 1) maximize opportunities to prepare students for targeted careers in the agricultural and wood industries; 2) raise student aspirations and attract more students to postsecondary education in the areas of agriculture and wood sciences; and 3) provide well-trained, highly skilled workers to meet the work force needs of existing businesses.
Highlights of the Academy:
- The program will be comprehensive (K-12) providing students opportunities to interact with nature and technological applications through the various career pathways associated with the wood science industry.
- The program will have postsecondary components for students to receive occupational certifications and continue their education through a four-year degree program at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
- Three learning laboratories will support the educational structure of the Academy: 1) the Forest-Land Laboratory will be established at the Moorefield Estate; 2) the WoodLINKS, Inc. Training Laboratory will be developed at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center; and 3) the Agricultural Biological Applications and Biotechnology Laboratory will be established at the STEM Academy facility.
- At the elementary level, students will use the laboratories as part of their science coursework and learning experiences.
- At the middle school level, the program will provide students with the foundational knowledge of agricultural science. Two agri-science courses will be offered through the career and technical program for students to gain the knowledge and basic skills related to renewable resources. Middle school students will use the three laboratories to conduct research and investigate the biological applications in agriculture.
- At the high school level, the basis of the program is the WoodLINKS, Inc., curriculum framework. WoodLINKS, Inc. is an industry and education partnership that provides a national curriculum framework for wood sciences. The goals and objectives of this curriculum framework will be integrated into the courses offered.
- Three industry certifications are available for all academy students. They are 1) Microsoft Office Specialist; 2) NOCTI Forest Products and Processing; and 3) NOCTI Pre-Engineering and Engineering Technology.
- The dual enrollment courses will prepare students for employment in the wood industry, and/or create a seamless pathway to a four-year bachelor program in Wood Science or Forestry at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
- During the summers, students at all grade levels will have the opportunity to participate in summer programs that focus on agriculture and wood sciences. These summer activities are age-appropriate and relate specifically to the concepts taught at each grade level referenced above.