A new Indiana public charter school is gearing up for the start of classes on July 30, 2018. The Indiana Agriculture & Technology School is a fully accredited school for online students in grades 7-12 offering all academic diplomas through the Indiana Department of Education. But Keith Marsh, Chief Academic Officer says the school has another specific and unique focus.
“We have a full focus on the agriculture and technology business, so we’re looking at exposing young people to the agricultural world, and what’s offered out there as far as careers are concerned,” he told HAT. “They’ll become knowledgeable about what agriculture can bring to our community and to our state, and to the nation and world overall. So, we’re really focusing on the agricultural side and how technology can fit into that as well.”
The school is online and also on the farm, specifically a 600-acre operation in Morgantown, Indiana with forest, and pasture and crop land, 200 acres of each. Marsh says those resources and facilities will be used for project-based learning.
“So, they’ll be exposed to agribusiness, to farming, to environmental sciences, forest management. All those pieces will take place on the farm, so when we bring our kids down monthly they will be involved with project-based learning. You put that into the virtual online where they’re working out of their home or whatever learning center they’re at doing their academic core work.”
“The cool thing about this program is they’ll get all of this for free. We are a public charter school, so it’s tuition free. They just enroll and become part of the school and we take care of the rest, so there’s no cost to the parents,” Marsh said.
Information sessions are being held at the Zionsville Public Library Wednesday (4/18) and at Ivy Tech in Noblesville Thursday (4/19.) Prospective students and their families are invited to the open house this Saturday from noon until 4 PM at the farm campus in Morgantown which is in Morgan County. The address is 1982 South Morgantown Road in Morgantown, Indiana.
“Agriculture is a key to Indiana’s economic foundation,” says Allan Sutherlin, one of the school’s founders. “But many farmers are aging out and the next generation needs more than just an apprenticeship. We’re at the dawn of a revolution in agricultural technology and innovation with data-driven solutions to precision farming. We must address that workforce challenge.”
Enrollment is now open to Indiana residents, grades 7-12. Online coursework is offered for Core 40, Core 40 Honors, and Core 40 Technical Honors diploma programs. AP opportunities are also provided. Enrollment is capped at 160 students per grade level.
“Our enrollment is intentionally small,” added Marsh. “We want to provide a more individualized touch than traditional online schools. We’re also committed to holding our students accountable for their education. At least four teachers will be assigned to each enrolled student for each course taken. We expect our kids to graduate.”
The school is also working to establish a network of corporate and farming partners throughout the state to provide student internships and jobs.
IATS is authorized by Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson United School Corporation in Trafalgar.
The Indiana Agriculture & Technology School website is www.indiana.ag.
Hear the full HAT interview with Marsh from the Indiana Agriculture & Technology:Newsmakers-with-Keith-Marsh-at-IATS