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Agriculture Career

Pathway Flow Chart

The below flow chart is a basic outline of the courses that students take each year within a specific Career Pathway. In order to ensure that your student is meeting the necessary requirements for their academic plan please contact one of the SMHS Agriculture Teachers today!

Ag Pathways.PNG

Santa Maria High School

Agriculture Department

Course Descriptions

Agriscience & Physics

Agriscience & Physics is a collaborative standards-based laboratory science that fulfills the physical science requirement focusing on college and career readiness. This course gives students a foundation in physics with related earth science and agriculture phenomena in addition to the Science and Engineering Practices. The following units will be covered in this course; Motion, Force, Gravity, Waves, Light Waves, Electricity & Magnetism, Energy & Renewable Energy, and Nuclear Physics & the Earth. This course also provides an opportunity and expectation for students’ participation in the National FFA organization including FFA participation and a Supervised Agriculture Experience Project.

Biology & Sustainable Agriculture

Sustainable Agriculture is a one year course designed to integrate biological science practices and knowledge into the practice of sustainable agriculture.  The course is organized into four major sections, or units, each with a guiding question. Unit one addresses the question, What is sustainable agriculture? Unit two, How does sustainable agriculture fit into our environment? Unit three, What molecular biology principles guide sustainable agriculture? Unit four, How do we make decisions to maximize sustainable agricultural practices within a functioning ecosystem?  Within each unit specific life science principles will be identified with agricultural principles and practices guiding the acquisition of this knowledge, culminating in the development of a sustainable farm model and portfolio of supporting student research.


Chemistry & Agriscience

This course explores the physical and chemical nature of soil as well as the relationships between soil, plants, animals and agricultural practices. Students will examine properties of soil and land and their connections to plant and animal production. Using knowledge of scientific protocols as well as course content, students will develop an Agriscience research program to be conducted throughout the first semester of the course.To complete that whole project each student will investigate and test an Agriscience research question by formulating a scientific question related to the course content, formulating a hypothesis based on related research, conducting an experiment to test the hypothesis, collecting quantitative data, and forming a conclusion based on analysis of the data.  The result of this research program will be an in depth research and experimentation paper that is technically written, based on scientific protocol, and cited using APA formatting. Additionally, students will develop and present a capstone soil management plan for agricultural producers, using the content learned throughout the course. Throughout the course, students will be graded on participation in intracurricular FFA activities as well as the development and maintenance of an ongoing Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) program.

Advanced Interdisciplinary Science for Sustainable Agriculture

This integrated class combines an interdisciplinary approach to laboratory science and research with agricultural management principles. Using skills and principles learned in the course, students design systems and experiments to solve agricultural management issues currently facing the industry. Additionally, students will connect the products created in this class with industry activities to link real world encounters and implement skills demanded by both colleges and careers. The course culminates with an agriscience experimental research project in which students design and conduct an experiment to solve a relevant issue. Final projects will be eligible for Career Development Event competition at FFA events. Throughout the course, students will be graded on participation in intracurricular FFA activities as well as the development and maintenance of an ongoing Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) program.


Animal Science (AHC Concurrent Enrollment Course)

This course is sequenced in such a way to expand the knowledge of advanced topics in animal science. Animal nutrition, physiology, and reproduction will be studied with attention to proper care of animals. Animal health practices and management techniques will be included. This class is designed for science elective (F) credit and to include requirements of the state community college 2+2 program. This is a year long, ten unit course.

Veterinary Science

This is a course designed to provide students an applied scientific study in the area of animals and veterinary care.  This course focuses on the application of animal anatomical and physiological knowledge to the maintenance and improvement of animal health to include; clinical diagnosis of disease and parasites, administration of medications, and common surgical procedures.  Biological applications will include studies in cells, genetics, evolution, and ecology as they pertain to the animal/veterinary field. The feline dissection and various other livestock specimens will serve as a supplemental lab practicum throughout the duration of this course.  Each unit includes a clinical practice component at the conclusion to put the knowledge learned into a real veterinary clinical situation. Additional emphasis will be placed on industry practices to include office procedures, public relations and communications, laboratory skills. At the conclusion of this course and completion of requirements, students will be able to take the exam to become level 1 assistant veterinary technician certified. 


Agriculture Leadership

The Ag Leadership Class is designed for students who have an interest in pursuing a career in Agriculture or an interest in gaining knowledge on Agriculture. Through this class students will learn how to make a professional portfolio, present topics on Ag Issues, public speaking , how to make a professional website, and most importantly gain confidence through the leadership skills they will possess throughout this course. This class is offered to all grades 9th-12th. It is also counted as an English Class for graduation and community college but is not an A-G English Course.


The Art & History of Floral Design

The course emphasizes the necessary knowledge and skills to provide the student with a perceptual and tactile base leading to understanding artistic perception, creative expression, historical and cultural contexts: aesthetic valuing and connections, relations and applications of the visual arts. Students will derive meaning from art works through analysis, interpretation, and judgments applying what is learned in floral art to other forms, subjects, and post educational experiences. Through practical skill development the student will become familiar with material selection, design mechanics, maintenance and design evaluation. Students will achieve this through creating, designing, identifying, explaining, and evaluating all topics of study. Balance, color, and symmetry using floral and synthetic medium will be emphasized to allow students to apply and artistic approach to floral art. Various assignments based on abstract, two and three dimensional designs, historical culture, theory, color theory, and analytical critiques of various floral art works using design vocabulary in conjunction with development of technical skills in floral art will serve as a foundation for more complex works such as multi-part floral designs and creative expression. Students will also have the opportunity to develop their skills further through competitive competition and analytical events offered through the program

Advanced Floral Design

Advanced Floral Design is designed to build off students' knowledge gained in beginning Floral Design with theories and principles of artistic design. Students will engage and apply practical skills and knowledge in elements and principles of design (line, shape/form, color, balance, and emphasis), history of floral art, arrangement styles and techniques, as well as seasonal, holiday and special event designs. Students will achieve this through creating, designing, identifying explaining and evaluating all topics of study. Students will research and study floral trends to understand and develop an appreciation for floral design with historical, cultural, formal and casual, ceremonial and traditional, including an understanding that floral designs are affected by society, culture, history, politics and economic influence. Advanced floral will reinforce use of taxonomy in identifying potted plants and cut flowers. Emphasis will be placed on judging/critiquing potted plants and cut flowers as in the State CDE contest requirements. Students will use extensive vocabulary to explore reasons and explanations of placing of classes based on elements and principles of design. Students will master the art of corsage and cut flower arranging in both 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional forms and will learn and detain the requirements of owning and operating a floral business. Classes will arrange and sell creations in a Santa Maria Agriculture Department floral Shop to fully submerge themselves in business situations and work environment. Marketing and pricing strategies will be covered in order to enhance the floral business experience. Workplace skills and ethics will be covered in detail and work safety habits certificated.          

Students will also have the opportunity to seek Student Certifications within the Floral Industry including the California Certified Florist Exam. This exam consists of both a Tier 1 - Student California Certified Florist Written Exam and Tier 2 - Student California Certified Florist Hands-On Exam.


Ag Welding or Ag Welding 2 (AHC Concurrent Enrollment Course)

Survey of vocational welding is a one-semester course. It will provide a combination of subject matter and activities designed to develop skills necessary to perform practices for self and others. They will learn an appreciation for welding, fundamentals of gas and electrical welding, and study the economic role welding plays in today's agriculture and related industries. The course provides students with the opportunity to decide whether welding as a career fits their personal aptitudes, abilities, and interest. It is recommended that agricultural students complete basic agricultural mechanics prior to enrollment.


Ornamental Horticulture (AHC Concurrent Enrollment Course)

Ornamental Horticulture teaches students about plants and how to maintain a healthy garden. Students also learn basic landscape ideas teaches students about the Ornamental Horticulture Industry. Students have the opportunity to visit different greenhouses and flower shops in the central coast. Students also learn plant and pest identification and learn about pesticides and fertilizers. Students who excel in the Ornamental Horticulture class can take Adv. Ornamental Horticulture where they learn how to teach lesson plans along with a more in depth lesson on landscaping and how to run a flower shop.


Agriculture Mechanics

Basic Agricultural Mechanics is a two semester class designed to give the beginning student a feeling of worth and a positive attitude toward accomplishing basic tasks. It makes the student aware of the great need for an advanced educational background necessary to pursue a career in agriculture repair or general farming. The class is designed to teach basic shop skills. Taking class enables the student to participate in FFA activities.


Advanced Agriculture Mechanics (AHC Concurrent Enrollment Course)

Advanced Agriculture Mechanics is the second class offered in the Mechanized Agriculture Pathway. In this course, students will continue to build on the knowledge and skills gained in the Agricultural Mechanics 1 course relating to the transfer of matter and energy through electrical, fluid, thermal and mechanical systems. They will also study more advanced fundamentals of mechanical and structural systems and facilities. Students will explore professional opportunities in the field of agricultural engineering. Integral to this will also be the opportunity to participate in activities developed through a student leadership organization. By participating in this program, students will be better prepared to matriculate into post-secondary Agriculture Engineering programs such as those offered at the University of California, Davis and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Additionally, this course may be a gateway program for those students interested in pursuing a post-secondary study in mechanical or structural engineering.

Agriculture Economics 

Ag Economics focuses on teaching students the basic of economics while tying in how agriculture plays an important role. Students learn all about the stock market and partake in a stock market project that involves purchasing stocks that involve agriculture.

Agriculture Government (AHC Concurrent Enrollment Course)

This fourth year course is designed for Agriculture Science Students that want to complete the Agriculture Science Pathway. Agriculture Government Policy fits both into the social sciences department and the agriculture department by offering an additional course that meets the requirements of the state social science standards, as well as the agricultural career pathway, which will prepare students for higher education in the agricultural industry.









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