Agricultural Sciences HS earns STEM recognition
The Beverly Review. Staff. July 16, 2019.

The Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHSAS) was founded in 1985 with a unique and ambitious mission: to create a college preparatory high school that prepares urban students for professions and careers in agriculture.

Since then, CHSAS, 3857 W. 111th St., has captured national attention as the premier model for secondary agricultural education.

Located on the historic “Last Farm in Chicago” in Mt. Greenwood, CHSAS is a Chicago Public School (CPS) dedicated to career awareness and development in the agricultural industry.

It is a diverse magnet school open to all students of Chicago who are interested in studying the agricultural sciences. Students complete a “Go CPS” application and are chosen through a lottery process.

Under the leadership of Principal William Hook, the school combines a college-preparatory curriculum with a career-readiness program in order to best prepare CHSAS students for life in the 21st century. All students take a prescribed college-preparatory curriculum along with required agricultural courses at each grade level.

What sets CHSAS apart from other schools is that its students learn by doing.

During the sophomore year, students complete a survey course that introduces them to each of the six agricultural pathways at CHSAS: agricultural finance/economics, agricultural mechanics and technology, animal science, biotechnology in agriculture, food science, and horticulture science. At the conclusion of sophomore year, students choose one of these pathways to “major in” during their junior and senior years.

CHSAS follows the three-circle integrated model of agricultural education. All students experience classroom agricultural instruction, are members of the National FFA Organization and complete a Supervised Agricultural Experience Project during their four years. By combining an academic learning environment with active applied practice, CHSAS maximizes student success.

A dedicated faculty and staff, committed parents and an exceptional group of young people make CHSAS a special place to learn and grow.

Evidence of the success achieved by CHSAS students has garnered national recognition.

It was recognized by the National Science Foundation/George Washington University as one of the Top 5 Inclusive STEM schools. U.S. News and World Report named CHSAS among the Best Public High Schools. The school was a National Excellence in Action winner in the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Career cluster. CHSAS is consistently rated as a “Level 1+” school by CPS officials.

CHSAS has become a model for schools of this kind in other cities across the country. The school serves as a model not only for its innovative curriculum, but also for dropout prevention and exceptional student motivation.

The school’s graduation rate is in the 90th percentile with over 85 percent of graduates pursuing post-secondary opportunities.

In order to continue its success, CHSAS maintains strong relationships with educators in departments of agriculture at colleges and universities across the country, and CHSAS has a robust advisory board of partners and supporters who provide career awareness and engagement opportunities for all students.

Students also become active in school sports and a number of clubs offered at the school. The school partners with the Mt. Greenwood Chamber of Commerce to host “Mt. Greenwood Fest” each fall, along with 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea’s Pumpkin Patch and his annual 19th Ward Thanksgiving Dinner.

The CHSAS Farm Stand on campus offers in-season produce that students grow on the school farm. Items include squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, collard greens, peppers, okra, zucchini, eggplant, watermelon, cantaloupe and cabbage.

Beginning July 22, the farm stand will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. CHSAS will also be hosting a farmers market on Tuesdays in August.

CHSAS is proud to partner with local outstanding community organizations and individuals, and it is dedicated to continuing its service to Mt. Greenwood, a safe and supportive community where people care about one another.

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