Students get ahead with agriscience program at Parrott Middle School

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Students get ahead with agriscience program at Parrott Middle School

Students enrolled in Parrott Middle School’s agriscience program; From left to right 1. Thalia Gryzb 2. Alyssa Ciffey 3. Kayla Zayas 4. Dillon Webb 5. Mayra Garcia 6. Milla Marshall 7. Ashley Mathis

Dolores S. Parrott Middle School developed an agriscience program that is giving students a leg up in high school. Principal Brent Gaustad showed off the program, he was obviously extremely proud of it.

The agriscience program is run by Mrs. Tiffany Howland who was the Hernando county’s 2016-17 Teacher of the Year. She is well known for teaching eighth-grade algebra. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in agricultural science.

Mrs. Howland developed a friendship with Mr. Ahrens the well respected Hernando High School agriculture teacher who was the 2008-09 Hernando County Teacher of the Year. They have a shared interest in agriscience and wanted to figure out a way to work together.



To gauge the interest of students in agriculture, Mrs. Howland started a 4-H club. The students responded well and this led to the creation of an Agriscience Foundations I course at Parrott, where middle school students can earn a high school honors science credit. There is a waiting list for the class.

When these students enter high school they already have finished Agriscience Foundations I and can go directly into Agriscience Foundations II. This allows the students to more quickly enter the different Agriscience Certification tracks. These certificate programs include Veterinarian Assistant and Agri Tech.


Student Ashley Mathis reaches into the rabbit hutch at Parrott Middle School as Dillon Webb and Thalia Gryzb look on.

The Parrot agriculture program has participated in multiple competitions and has been very successful. They excelled in Future Farmers of America competitions. At the county fair they won with rabbits, chickens and the hog project.

The program has chicken and rabbit coops along with a room where the chicks are growing. They are working on getting a pig on campus.

The program helps students to finish foundational courses early on in their education in order to advance them further into an agriculture or veterinary science related field.

Student Ashley Mathis reaches into the rabbit hutch at Parrott Middle School as Dillon Webb and Thalia Gryzb look on.