MMS to begin new ag program

Alyssa Flanders 

FLANDERS TO HEAD PROGRAM

Metter Middle School has a new program starting up in the fall--an agricultural program!

Dr. Bubba Longgrear, superintendent of Candler County Schools, said, “We are really excited about the new MMS agriculture program that is starting this year. Agriculture is such a vital component of our state and local economy.

“This program will only enhance our focus on career readiness and soft skill development for a wide range of students. We believe starting students in agriculture-related events at an earlier age will significantly enhance our program at MHS.

“We have a young teacher, Alyssa Flanders, coming in that has experience starting a successful middle school program previously. I look forward to the enhanced opportunities provided to our students through this program.” 

Flanders is a graduate student from the University of Georgia. Under her direction, the new program will be offered as a connections class and will engage students through a 3-circle model comprised of hands-on classroom and laboratory instruction, experiential learning and leadership education.

“While agriculture is traditionally referred to as farming, the new agricultural education program will provide students with hands-on, innovative experiences in a variety of fields such as agri-science, plant science, animal science, natural resources, agricultural mechanics, food processing and veterinary science. From harvesting crops from a garden to constructing a duck box to learning animal handling techniques on classroom animals, students will gain valuable, real-world experience that will prepare them for a future career,” said Flanders.

In addition to course offerings, the new agricultural education program will also have a strong FFA Chapter that will be built off of the success of Metter High School’s FFA Chapter. 

“Middle FFA will be dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education,” said Flanders.

In the early stages of the program, an officer team will be selected and trained to lead the organization for the inaugural year. Students will have the opportunity to attend fun monthly FFA meetings, participate in Career Development Events, travel to local and state leadership conferences, exhibit livestock projects, and interact with Metter High School FFA members.

Flanders said, “A strong agricultural education program is one in which the middle school and high school programs work closely together and the middle school program really becomes a true extension or ‘feeder’ program.”

Will Thigpen, the incoming principal of MMS, said, “The new program at Metter Middle School will allow students to explore pathways and occupations related to the agriculture industry through hands-on, real-world learning experiences. 

“It is our hope that such experiences will generate an early interest in, and appreciation for, an industry which plays such an essential role in each of our lives.”

He continued, “We are glad to welcome Mrs. Alyssa Flanders to the Metter Middle School family. Her experience and passion will be instrumental in getting the program off to a strong start.”

Excited to be a part of this community, Flanders said, “Over the course of the next year, I look forward to meeting each of you in the community. I truly want the program to reflect student interest, community needs, and the agriculture industry in Candler County.” 

If you are involved in the agriculture industry or have questions about the new agricultural education program, Alyssa Flanders can be reached at aflanders@metter.org or 678-906-6514.

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