First agricultural public high school opening in Amity

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AMITY, Ark.- Centerpoint School District is opening the first agricultural public high school in the state.

The new school means students in rural Clark and Pike County can get hands-on trades experience in their own town. In addition, students will be able to enter the workforce right after high school.

Currently, about half the students attending Centerpoint High School take one or two elective agricultural classes a year. However, the new charter school will allow students to have all their classes based around agriculture.

The charter school will not be a completely new facility, it will be an expansion of the High School.

I sat down with High School Principal Nic Mounts, who came up with the idea of the trade school and is now making it a reality.

“The thing that separates a Centerpoint High School Students from a Centerpoint Academy for Agriculture and Skilled Trade student or CAAST student is the curriculum they are exposed to,” said Nic Mounts, Centerpoint High School Principal.

Centerpoint Academy for Agriculture and Skilled Trades (CAAST) is not only under the same roof as the High School, but the teachers will also be the same.

The only difference in the schools will be the lesson plans.

CAAST students will be grades 11 and 12 only. Students will take all the essential classes, such as English, math, and social studies, but it will have an agricultural spin.

“A social studies class, for example, will look at those Arkansas standards for social studies through the lens of a sharecropper or farmer or rancher,” said Mounts.

Centerpoint High School and soon-to-be CAAST sit right in the middle of a large agricultural community.

Superintendent Dan Breshears says this trade school is catering to students who want to live and work right here.

“So it’s going to address the needs of the kids who are going right into the career field out of high school as well as those who are going to go to a two or four-year college,” said Breshears.

Centerpoint High School already has a workshop, greenhouse, farm and meat processing facility.

The only thing left to make the trade school official is the curriculum.

CAAST will be open for enrollment in January and classes will start in August of 2020.

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