Weekly roundup: Agriculture programs thriving in OC, students returning to school, and more

Orange County might be among the most populous counties in the nation, but some agriculture programs are thriving here.

The Voice of OC reported this week how agriculture classes, 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) have evolved their offerings to serve a greater variety of students, some of them low-income or ethnic minorities from the county’s most urban settings.

The lessons that students learn in agriculture programs go well beyond farming to include tech, business and sustainability, the Voice of OC reported.

TypewriterThe news site featured the program at Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton, where students were among the 250 or so OC youths showing off their goats, chickens, hogs and cows in the first week of this year’s Orange County Fair.

Senior Alan Flores hopes to make animals more than a hobby. “I’ve chosen to take a career in a veterinary field,” he told the Voice of OC. Flores was at the fair this week showing off his steer Quartz.

The article explained how agricultural science is more than county fairs now. For example, students in Westminster High School’s agriculture department, affiliated with FFA, grow fresh fruit and vegetables for food pantries, as profiled in this OCDE Newsroom video. Other high school-FFA collaboratives sell their farm produce, take part in debate activities and study horticulture, producing for-sale corsages.

Here are some other education-related news stories from throughout the region for the week ending Aug. 9.

  • Tens of thousands of Orange County students are returning to school this week, welcomed at campuses by balloons, high-fives and hugs from their teachers, principals and other staff.
  • California’s 5-year-old school finance overhaul is working for disadvantaged students. But a PPIC study still finds that high-needs schools are still too reliant on novice teachers. And in better-off districts, not enough is being done for poorer kids.
  • California’s charter and private schools dramatically lag public schools in the percentage of students vaccinated for contagious diseases. Last year, 78 percent of traditional public schools reported that its students had all required vaccinations necessary to protect the community, while only 68 percent of private schools and 57 percent of charter schools met that goal, an EdSource analysis reveals.
  • Thousands of children and their parents packed the parking lot at Angel Stadium Sunday morning — not in advance of an Angels game, but rather to receive a free backpack filled with school supplies from Karina’s Backpack Project by the Joy of Sharing.
  • Football players from Magnolia High gathered on the field Sunday for what they thought was merely the obligatory team photo when away from campus. The Chargers surprised the team with a $10,000 donation to replace equipment lost in a fire.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates or following us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.