Spring Branch ISD Featured News

SBISD agricultural science students gain the ultimate class pets


For the first time in the history of the program, Spring Branch ISD students taking agricultural science classes will have the opportunity to work directly with livestock animals to enhance their learning experiences. 

The initiative began when the Wilchester Men’s Club generously donated goats to the program this past winter. Later, SBISD acquired calves, sheep, lambs and chickens. Today, a total of 33 farm animals are part of the agricultural science program. 

“I am beyond excited for our students to gain first-hand knowledge and application,” said Michael McManners, agricultural science teacher and FFA advisor. “Until now, they only learned concepts in the classroom, but now they will have a clear, hands-on concept of how animals are handled and where food comes from.” 

Agricultural science is just one of the programs of study available to students at the Guthrie Center, SBISD’s central Career and Technical Education (CTE) facility. Within the agricultural science pathway, there are a variety of classes students can take, including Principles of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Small Animal Management and Equine Science and Livestock Production, among others. 

The animals are kept at the 17-acre Agricultural Science Center, where the classes are also held. Students will have direct access to the animals and will immediately be able to implement concepts learned in the classroom. 

“This is a great opportunity for our students,” added McManners. “All students, regardless of their socioeconomic status, will be able to engage with the animals and gain top-tier educational knowledge.” 

The farm is also home to more than 70 student animals. FFA members house their show animals at the farm and with the guidance of their advisors and prepare their animals to compete in the annual SBISD FFA Livestock Show and Sale and even in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. 

“FFA as well as the agricultural science courses help students greatly develop their skills,” said Katie Corona, agricultural science teacher and FFA advisor. “Here, they develop their potential for premier leadership and explore distinct careers through agricultural education.” 

Corona and McManners note that about half of the students in the agricultural program and/or FFA go on to study agriculture at the collegiate level. 

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