CCSD Pathway Profile - Plant and Floral Design Systems and Companion Animal Systems
Etowah High School Career Pathway teacher Ashley Rivers leads a small animal care lesson for juniors, from left, Reese Nickels, Abigail Haines and Kennedy Johnson, as part of her Plant and Floral Design Systems and Companion Animal Systems program.
This week’s CCSD Pathway Profile focuses on Plant and Floral Design Systems and Companion Animal Systems, which is offered at Etowah High School. Five different agriculture Career Pathway programs are available in CCSD high schools. CCSD offers 38 Career Pathway high school programs, which provide students with a wide selection of job exploration and preparation electives. Through CCSD Pathway Profiles, we regularly share highlights with you from one of these programs …
Ashley Rivers grew up on a farm and thought her career path would lead her to become a veterinarian.
That path diverged, but not far, as for the last 17 years she’s been teaching the next generation of veterinarians and other agricultural professionals.
Through her Career Pathway programs in Plant and Floral Design Systems and Companion Animal Systems at Etowah High School, Ms. Rivers inspires her students to explore careers in these fields.
Senior Jaidyn Novak is on that path, with plans to pursue a pre-veterinary degree at college in the fall.
“The veterinary Pathway helped fuel my passion for animal science,” she said. “It helped me have a better understanding of agriculture systems and sparked my interest in wildlife and veterinary sciences.”
While many of her students pursue careers in the fields she teaches, Ms. Rivers said Pathway courses benefit students no matter their future plans.
“Career classes can benefit all students, whether they are headed to the workforce or to higher education,” she said. “The ability to investigate careers that don’t all require college gives all students an equal chance to be successful. While many skills in plant and veterinary science may not blend into other career areas, employability skills are important for all careers and are blended into all Career Pathway courses.”
Ms. Rivers, who is in her 17th year as a teacher, said she most enjoys teaching students about animal biology.
“Students can learn so much more about the parts of the brain or heart by seeing real examples and being able to touch and feel what the parts are,” she said. “Students get really excited when they can learn more information about a body system through the use of dissections.”
Within the Pathway, classes offered include: basic agricultural science; general horticulture and plant science; floral design and management; animal science and biotechnology; small animal care, veterinary science. Students can earn a science credit toward graduation requirements as well as OSHA 10 industry certifications. They can compete in FFA Future Farmers of America state and national career skills programs and contests.
This Pathway prepares students for careers including, but not limited to: veterinarian, veterinary assistant, veterinary technician, animal nutritionist, animal trainer, service animal trainer, animal caretaker, barn manager, wildlife specialist, agricultural inspector, forestry worker, florist, floral designer, landscape architect, landscaper, landscape foreman, nursery worker.
The average income range for careers in this Pathway in Georgia is $30,000 to $68,000. Local and area employers for this Pathway include, but are not limited to: Allatoona Animal Hospital, South Cherokee Veterinary Hospital, Highway 92 Animal Hospital, Animal Hospital of Towne Lake, Cherokee Animal Hospital, Riverstone Animal Hospital, Waleska Animal Hospital, The Canine Ranch, Premier Pet Services, Sit and Stay Pet Sitting, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Canton Florist, Fowler’s Florist, Reeves Floral Products, Brenda's House of Flowers, Utopian Event, House of BASH, Seasonal Designs Landscaping, All State Tree and Landscape Group, Landscapes of the South, HGA Landscape Services, Autumn Hill Nursery Inc., Buck Jones Nursery, Lady Slipper Rare Plant Nursery, Cherokee Tree and Landscape.