Agricultural programs to be moved to TECC-West campus


Celine Engel

The agricultural classes will be transferred to the Technology, Education and Career Center West (TECC-West) campus by the start of the next school year.

Agricultural classes will no longer be offered at Marcus starting next year. LISD’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) and agricultural programs will be transferred to the Technology, Education and Career Center West (TECC-West) campus in time for the fall 2020 semester. The FFA programs from all high schools will be combined to form a district team.

Each high school’s agricultural teachers will begin teaching at the TECC-West campus next year. This will allow them to choose what they want to teach.

“Usually you just teach what the school gives you and now we have the option where we were actually asked what are you interested in,” FFA teacher Kaitlynn Gordon said.

In the past, the FFA programs have struggled finding enough members to form a full team. Marcus FFA teacher Melissa Barnett believes that the consolidation of the program will help to remedy this problem.

“You’re struggling to make a full committed team,” Barnett said. “To fill all those teams I feel like it will be easier when we have that many more kids.”

However, some courses that are currently offered as art classes on campus, such as Floral Design, will only be available on the new career center. This will pose a problem for students who took these courses to fulfill their art credit requirement for graduation, because they will have to commit to a double blocked class rather than a one period 18 week course.

“When you have students taking [agricultural classes] as an art credit, there’s a lack of motivation there for them,” Gordon said.

Although students looking for an art credit may not commit to the newly double-blocked agricultural classes, the move will benefit other LISD high schools. FFA is currently only offered at Marcus, Lewisville and The Colony, so students from Flower Mound and Hebron would have to either attend a different school or be bussed over to attend these classes. By combining the teams as LISD FFA, Gordon believes they will create a better sense of district unity.

Another hope the agriculture teachers have for next year is that by combining the programs, they will be able to focus on students’ specific areas of interest and offer new subjects to study, such as Small Animal Management.

“If they like plant science they can only really take Floral Design and Landscaping, but whenever we move they can actually take Horticulture and Advanced Plant Science,” Barnett said.

By offering more classes TECC-West Director and Principal Justin Gilbreath hopes to show students more options.

“There is something for everyone in the ag programs,” Gilbreath said.

The FFA program has been at the school since 1982, one year after the school’s opening. Barnett, who graduated from Marcus in 2011, was a part of the FFA program since she was a freshman, so the move is emotional for her. She views the current ag building as a safe place for her students because of her experiences here as a student. Even though Barnett will be teaching at TECC-West next year, she hopes to keep updating the school on the happenings of the FFA students competitions and projects.

“My goal and our goal is still just keeping that connection,” Barnett said.