Carroll County has deep seeded roots in Agriculture with farm production and Agriculture providing the largest Economic sector. In recognizing the importance of Agriculture to the citizens and to the well-being of the community as a whole, the Carroll County Board of Supervisors has focused several projects on Agriculture.
In 2008, the Board of Supervisors (BOS) set a board goal to assist the Carroll County Public School System that would result in better preparation for High School and post-secondary education success. In 2010, the BOS refined the Goal to include a STEM Lab for Agriculture. The Science Technology Engineering and Math Lab opened at Carroll County High School (CCHS) on Thursday
The Carroll County Board of Supervisors financed the STEM project through federal funding agency Rural Development with a $500,000 investment in Agriculture, Education and Economic Development. It is planned that the STEM Lab students will learn scientific protocols that will assist local producers to meet higher Food Safety levels with providing lab services that will enhance their necessary documentation. While at the same time of the students solving real-life problems, they will utilize Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) that will provide a new scientific base for further education in many disciplines. It is expected that other uses of the Lab will be developed as new needs for analysis is developed.
History Repeats in Carroll County
Carroll County was the first location in the nation to teach Agriculture in High School through the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917. Now, Carroll County has the first High School in the nation to have a STEM Lab for Agriculture.
Carroll County is also one of only a few Counties in Virginia and the nation to have working school farms associated with the high school as well. Carroll County is also the home of the Southwest VA Farmers’ Market that assists local producers to market more than $30 million of local crops per year. With the combination of the local assets, students will be able to learn about, identify and solve many real life problems in Agriculture and the community.
The combination of Agriculture Classroom instruction, STEM Lab for Agriculture, the School Farm, and the Farmers’ Market, is a unique combination that has equipped the Carroll County Public School System to be a national leader in the arena.
Every subject of STEM can be taught using Agriculture as the “carrier subject” and the education can be transferred to other disciplines with little trouble. In today’s environment, having the ability to solve problems and use Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to back up the solution is paramount for future success.
It needs to also be pointed out that Virginia Tech, VA Cooperative Extension and Rural Development have been helpful in the process of developing the Carroll County STEM Lab for Agriculture.