Indiana Ag School
Many farmers are aging out of agriculture and the next generation needs more than just an apprenticeship. The Indiana Agriculture and Technology School is a new, online tuition-free charter school. It meets all state education requirements, and couples on-line learning with project-based activities on the farm.
Keith Marsh is the chief academic officer. He says the school is open to Indiana students in grades seven-through-twelve, which he believes is a good age to expose them to the business of agriculture.
"It’s not just necessarily farming, it is the sciences, it’s precision farming where you use drones, it’s in pesticides, it’s in entrepreneurialship, you know, finances, accounting," says Marsh. "There’s just so many facets of the agriculture community that kids generally don’t really know about, even adults."
Each student has contact with teachers, academic tutors, success coaches, and student learning advocates on a daily basis. In addition to online coursework, students will spend one day each month at the school’s 600-acre farm.
"It might focus on horse management, it could focus on orienteering mapping, it could be animal vet, it could be soil erosion, crop production, how to manage farm machinery, those types of things," he says. "We’re breaking our state down into five regions, so each region will have a specific day where they’ll come down to the farm and do project-based learning."
Marsh says they’re working to establish a network of corporate and farming partners throughout the state to provide students internships and jobs.