When Omaha Bryan High launched Nebraska’s first urban agriculture academy, educators decided to go all in.
“We didn’t want to sprinkle in some ag classes,” said Mary Miller, curriculum specialist at Bryan High. “If we were going to do this, we wanted to do it right.”
With the start of the 2016-17 school year, the agriculture academy is celebrating its fifth year with milestones that demonstrate the power of agriculture. Students enrolled in the academy, according to Bryan educators, have:
- Better attendance rates
- Higher standardized test scores
- High school diplomas that, for many, represent a first in their families.
Students enrolled in the agriculture academy are being exposed to careers many never even knew existed. One student who aspired to be a substance abuse counselor worked at the Henry Doorly Zoo to help plan an extension of the Sensory Gardens and learn how therapy can be tied to the zoo experience.
“I know of at least four students who have gone on to college to study something different and have already changed to a degree in agriculture because that’s what they were accustomed to in school,” Miller said.
Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) is proud to be among those who have supported the academy and its accompanying FFA Chapter – the largest in Nebraska – since the program’s inception.
Learn more about the program, from those whose lives it impacts every day, in this video made on behalf of Nebraska Loves Public Schools. A cool fact: A student enrolled in Bryan’s agriculture academy interned with the organization while the video was made.