Whitney Short, a Pettisville High School graduate and agricultural educator at Anthony Wayne High School in Whitehouse, is one of only six individuals nationwide who received the 2017 National Agriscience Teacher of the Year Award. The award was presented on Dec. 7 at the National Association of Agricultural Educators’ annual convention in Nashville, Tenn.
The National Agriscience Teacher of the Year award recognizes teachers who have inspired and enlightened their students through engaging and interactive lessons in the science of agriculture. Short was nominated by John Poulson, PHS agriculture teacher.
Although it is located at Anthony Wayne High School, the agriculture program is actually a satellite of the Penta Career Center in Perrysbury. When Short realized that enrollment was declining, she renewed student interest by creating an agriculture biotechnology pathway. Through the new course of study, students have the opportunity to explore biotech in both animal and plant systems. The popularity of the new pathway has led Short to steadily increase science-based agriculture offerings at AWHS.
An integral piece of the agriculture program at Anthony Wayne is project-based learning. In the Chicken Challenge, students conduct an experiment to evaluate a broiler chicken’s rate of weight gain using a variety of feeds. Students care for the chickens until they are ready for butchering, which is done with student help at a certified processing facility. The project teaches students about food safety, technical writing, animal welfare, marketing, and communication. Through these kinds of rigorous and relevant experiences students leave Short’s program better prepared for college and careers.
The National Agriscience Teacher of the Year Award is sponsored by Herman and Bobbie Wilson as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. NAAE is the professional organization in the United States for agricultural educators.