Breeding Classes Give Pivot Students Experience – Oroville Mercury-Register
CHICO – Husbandry students at Pivot Charter School North Valley are learning all about the care, growing and raising of crops and animals in a new class that was offered in the spring 2022 semester.
The vocational and technical education class helps prepare students for careers in animal agriculture.
Students who are also members of Future Farmers of America receive the best of both worlds in tandem with the CTE class.
“FFA is an important part of the agriculture course,” said Theresa House, curriculum and project assessment coordinator for Pivot School. “They complement each other. FFA provides leadership opportunities while breeding brings lessons and tuition. They work together to provide students with a comprehensive experience in this industry.
The spring semester was the first time the class was taught. Students discovered cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and chickens. Although they did not work directly with live animals, they were given 3D animal models to take apart.
“They took them apart to see the hearts and all the organs that were taken out and then put them back together to see how they work together,” House said.
Students learn basic animal physiology, including food, medical, and housing needs and how to provide for animals in a sustainable way.
“They’re learning what it would take to raise animals in production,” House said.
Students went on field trips to see animals in person. Teacher Tara Wiglesworth, an education specialist and special educator, taught the class.
“It was really fun because the kids were back in person and doing something that we had never done,” Wiglesworth said. “They were very enthusiastic and were able to dig stuff, watch videos and see animals in person. They went to places they had never been, such as the Chico State University Farm and the Silver Dollar Fair to see students raise animals.
The class was also visited by a friend from Wiglesworth who brought kids and gave a presentation. They were virtually connecting to university state farms in Iowa and Ohio.
“The kids loved it,” Wiglesworth said.
She said one of the students, who has chickens and roosters at home, brought a fertilized egg to show the class and they saw the chick hatch.
“They recorded the incubation and hatching of the chicks,” Wiglesworth said. “They saw the whole process.”
The CTE class has certain lane-related standards in the industry. Agriculture is an industrial sector. There are many things teachers want students to know.
“They’re learning what it takes to have a cattle and sheep raising facility,” House said. “Some animals are bred for wool. They learn the sustainable and humane ways of raising animals.
House said most of the students had no experience with animals.
A CTE Plant and Soil Production Course is taught in Southern California. Students need 20 CTE units at Pivot School to graduate. Each district handles ETC differently. Teachers must have a CTE credential to teach the class at Pivot School and Wiglesworth said there were specific requirements to earn that credential, such as courses and programs being taken or were breeders and animals raised.
House said after students completed a survey about their experiences, half said yes, they would be interested in taking more courses, and the other half said maybe.
“We give them options and let them explore,” House said. “We let them find out what is available. They can do practical projects.
The breeding class is open to students from the ninth to the final year.
Wiglesworth majored in agricultural business at Chico State. His original major was business administration. She grew up in FFA.
“It’s always been one of my passions,” she says.
Wiglesworth will move on to other teaching opportunities next year. House said another agriculture professor would be hired to teach the next class. The class is taught in the spring only because the students are doing other things in the fall semester.