Sharon Joint School District #11 (Sharon J#11) today announced it will receive a $700,000 grant reward from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for the creation and expansion of the Virtual Academy of Agriscience and Technology (VAAST) charter school. The grant will be awarded over a 5-year period starting July 1st, 2021 for use in curriculum support, professional development, technology for student use, and more.
The economic impact of agriculture in Walworth County is $1.1 billion annually. Geographically, 54% of the land in Walworth County is agricultural land (Walworth Extension.Wisc.edu). According to Purdue University, employment opportunities in the areas of food, agriculture, and renewable natural resources are robust with an estimated 59,400 job openings annually. “We are delighted about this immense opportunity to prepare students for careers in the growing agriscience and technology fields,” Dr. Sara Andrus, District Administrator stated. “We are proud to offer this leadership and community-focused education program to a new generation of aspiring learners, no matter their economic background.”
VAAST’s mission will be to engage and inspire learners with the competencies and experiences to thrive in high school and beyond while building a strong foundation in agriscience and technology. Their education will include individualized learning plans for students according to Wisconsin State and Technology Standards, as well as special internal measures to evaluate growth and achievement in agriscience, science, social studies, and the arts. VAAST will serve grades 3-8 in a virtual and/or face-to-face setting, based on individual family preference. The charter is scheduled to open in the 2022-2023 school year.
Visit the Sharon J # 11’s webpage at www.sharon.k12.wi.us for more information on VAAST as they begin developing staff this summer.