Devils Lake schools working to re-enter agricultural program, starting with state grant

Mar. 23—DEVILS LAKE, ND — Devils Lake Public Schools will once again have an agricultural program after decades without a program, following the Devils Lake School Board’s decision to provide funding in an effort to obtain a state grant. ‘State.

Ned Clooten, superintendent of schools, said the program is a priority for students.

“Devils Lake High School hasn’t had an agricultural program since 1993,” he said. “With agriculture being our number one industry in the region, it was a big hole. … Combine that with Lake Region State College which has a brand new precision agriculture program right across the street from us. we expose kids to completely new careers, but we may refer some kids directly to Lake Region’s precision agriculture program.

Clooten said the state grant is a CTE (career and technical education) grant awarded by the state of North Dakota, which he described as “COVID dollars” for schools. Initially, those interested in the grant had to raise $1.2 million locally in order to receive the full $1.2 million grant. Then, the amount of the grant awarded increased to $1.7 million. Devils Lake Public Schools has raised about $500,000 through donations so far. Efforts to secure the grant led the school board to decide to contribute $700,000.

The plan for the program is to hire an instructor to teach courses like “Agriculture 1,” “Agriculture 2” and some specific courses, although Clooten said it depends on the instructor. The school will also construct a building for the program, which will complement the Lake Region Technology Center. Clooten said the school is cooperating with Lake Region State College, which will provide a classroom, instructor’s office and store space when the program hopefully begins in the fall, Clooten said .

Clooten is not only excited to bring back a program that the school has been lacking, but he also wants it to be an opportunity for students who otherwise might not be interested in agriculture or FFA….

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