Myakka City, Fla. – Shepherd’s Field Agricultural College, a pilot program of Ave Maria Preparatory School, offering a unique educational opportunity for students with special needs, will hold an open house at their Myakka City location on Monday, October 7 from 4:30pm – 6:30pm to give community residents an opportunity to learn more about the program.
“Ave Maria Preparatory has long provided students with learning disabilities, autism, ADHD and emotional disorders a safe place to gain an elementary and high school education,” said Sister Gilchrist Cottrill, the school’s director. “However, we realize that many of these students need help transitioning into college and independent living. That is where Shepherd’s Field comes in.”
Shepherd’s Field provides a university-accredited, two-year college education and diploma in Landscaping and Horticulture through South Florida State College. The goal of the program is to support students with learning disabilities by providing necessary accommodations. It is supported by the Senate Education and Appropriation committees in conjunction with multiple community partners, including Turner Tree and Landscape and Peace River Valley Farming Coalition.
Agriculture is a $100 billion industry in Florida, based on to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services 2011 Report, with a growing demand for workers. Shepherd’s Field teaches students employability skills related to agriculture and exposes them to part-time job opportunities.
In addition, the program teaches students social and behavioral skills needed for transitioning into independent living using methods employed by Ave Maria’s “Thrive Program” — a research-based program which maximizes neurological efficiency.
There are currently 12 students in the program and enrollment is open for the upcoming spring semester beginning in January 2014. Scholarships are available for students needing transportation from Sarasota and Bradenton.
Shepherd’s Field is located at 6289 Verna Road in Myakka City. For more information about the open house or the program, contact 941-322-1601.
About Shepherd’s Field:
Shepherd’s Field Agricultural College, located in Myakka City, Florida, is a 501 [c] 3 non-profit organization with the mission of providing an inclusive two year agricultural college and supportive living experience for students of diverse abilities. Shepherd’s Field, in association with Ave Maria Preparatory School, aims to teach social skills, sustainable living with an agriculture-based curriculum, employability skills and opportunities through community partnerships, as well as eating, sleeping and learning protocols using methodologies employed by the research-based “Thrive Program.” For more information, visit www.shepherdsfieldagcollege.org.