Agricultural & Biomedical Sciences
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- Science Research Initiative
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FFA Mission Statement
FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agriculture education.
President: Alyssa Turkowski
Alyssa is a senior. Prior to serving as chapter President, she served as CWFFA Sentinel and Secretary. Along with FFA, she is a part of Key Club, Make it Happen, and Art Club. She joined FFA because she enjoys learning about agricultural science, but also to develop personal skills such as leadership and responsibility. After high school she hopes to become a physician's assistant so that she can help people in need. Her advice for underclassmen would be to find a club where they feel they belong, and be active in club events. If you ever have questions about FFA or ag classes, she can be found in the agriculture department during MPP or you can place a note in her mailbox.
Vice President: Connor McFadden
Connor is a senior. He is serving his second year as an FFA officer. He joined FFA as a freshman because of all of the amazing opportunities it has to offer. He took advantage of those opportunities by competing on the Food Science and Technology as well as Milk Quality and Products CDE teams. Connor competed in both contests at the National FFA Convention. Aside from FFA, He is the Vice President of the Bio-science and Technology Club, the Vice President of Spanish Club, an NHS member, and the finance and registration committee leader for Mini-THON. He can also be seen on the football field, wrestling mat, and the track. After high school, he plans to go to college and double major in Biology and Spanish to eventually go to medical school and become a pediatrician.
Treasurer: Rini Kaneria
Assistant Treasurer: Jillian Rathman
Jillian is a senior. She is serving as an officer of the Conrad Weiser FFA for the first time. After high school, she plans to attend college, possibly in the field of engineering. She joined FFA in 9th grade because she is interested in agriculture science and she enjoys being a part of the organization. She has attended the national FFA Convention three times as a participant in AgriScience Fair. She is also involved in cross country, CW musical, winter track, choraleers, NHS, and various other high school clubs.
Assistant Treasurer: Joseph Gresoi
Joseph is a senior. He has been a member of FFA for four years and is serving his first year as an officer. He hopes to attend Georgetown University and study Science and Technology International Affairs through the Walsh School of Foreign Service. He is interested in pursuing a career in Foreign Service through the State Department, and using the knowledge and skills he has developed through AgSci classes to solve problems with a global outlook.
Secretary: Bryn Werley
Bryn is a junior. Her past experience includes her service as the CWFFA Reporter for the 2016 – 2017 School Year. Her academic aspirations include attending a four-year university to major in chemistry or chemical engineering. She then plans to pursue a Master of Food Science and a career in food chemistry.
Assistant Secretary: Paige Haag
Paige is a senior. She is serving as an officer in the CWFFA for the first time. She joined the officer team because she wanted to take a leading role in running a great organization like FFA. Outside of FFA she spends time in the high school garden as the head of the Landscape Taskforce which maintainins and the garden. After high school she plans on furthering her education by majoring in Landscape Architecture.
Reporter: Patrick Picard
Reporter: Rachel Kesselring
Rachel is a sophomore and is serving as a first time officer in the CWFFA. Last year, Rachel got involved in FFA by participating in AgriScience Fair and other chapter events. She is also active in many other clubs: Student Council, Mini Thon, FBLA, JCL, and more. She also helps lead the Bio-science Club at the High School. Along with clubs, She plays field hockey. She joined FFA because it teaches students life long skills that will help them strive no matter what their occupation is. After she graduates, she plans to attend college, med school, and continue her research in the biomedical field.
Sentinel: Efstratia Pauley
Tia is a sophomore. She is ecstatic about being part of the FFA team! She takes interest in biological sciences and is working to become a surgeon in the future. This is Tia's first office in Conrad Weiser's FFA and hopes to continue to utilize more leadership roles in her future years of being a part of the club.
Historian: Avery Iacavone
Historian: Anna McNutt
Anna is a sophomore. She is serving as an officer for the first time as this year's Historian. She was involved in FFA her freshman year and it taught her responsibility and life skills. She is looking forward to the additional skills she will learn this year through FFA. After high school she plans on attending college and then going on to become an Equine Therapist.
The Middle School FFA has once again accepted the Trex Bag Recycling Challenge. Last year we collected plastic in truckloads!! Literally, 6,521 pounds of plastic were saved from the landfill and successfully recycled by our students, staff, and community members which was an increase of 3,117 pounds from the year before!! We were the TOP school for collections in the state of Pennsylvania that was recognized for this endeavor and this year, we want to collect even more!! Let’s try for 7,000 pounds! In case you didn’t know, all types of plastic film (bag type material) are recyclable and are collected (free to you) by many of our local grocery stores and department stores.
For the challenge period, WE will take your plastic, weigh it, and deliver it to those participating stores. Our totals will then be compared to other schools based on student enrollment. Our goal is to collect as many pounds of clean, dry, plastic film as we possibly can in a few months’ time frame.
All plastic must be clean, dry plastic film such as:
• Grocery bags
• Bread bags
• Case overwrap
• Dry cleaning bags
• Newspaper sleeves
• Ice bags
• Wood pellet bags
• Ziploc and other reclosable bags
• Produce bags
• Bubble wrap
• Salt bags
• Cereal bags
• Bags that are similar to those listed above
We are asking for EVERYONE to please help us in this challenge. Tell your friends, neighbors, families, etc., it is a great way to help our earth and help CWMS at the same time. CWMS staff, all you need to do is deliver them to school. Recycling containers will be located in the main lobby, gym lobby, and between 7/8 science classrooms. Bags may also be delivered directly to Mrs. Meredith’s classroom, F-3. Community members, friends, folks from our other buildings, smaller amounts can be collected in our MS Office, while larger amounts can be dropped off outside door #27. If you have a truckload, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a drop off.
Collections begin NOW and will run until April 16, 2018
If you are up to helping us in this challenge, and of course love watching our numbers grow (and seeing our crazy plastic bag photos), then start collecting. Be vigilant, look at the materials you use, make a dedicated recycling can at home, and feel confident about caring for our Earth!
Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve
Mr. Adam Serfass
Mr. Serfass became an instructor in the Agriculture Department in 2008. He earned a Bachelor of Science from The Pennsylvania State University in Agricultural and Extension Education. In 2015, he earned a Master of Education from North Carolina State University in Agricultural Education.
Mr. Serfass has Pennsylvania teaching certifications in Agriculture Science, Biology, and General Science and teaches a variety of courses, both in the Agriculture Department and Science Department. He primarily teaches Introduction to Agricultural Science, Current Topics in Agriculture, AP Environmental Science, Experiments in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, and oversees the Teaching/Laboratory Assistant (TLA) program. Mr. Serfass is also co-advisor of the Conrad Weiser FFA chapter and faculty advisor of the Conrad Weiser Science Research Initiative.
Ms. Adelle Schade
Ms. Schade became an instructor at Conrad Weiser High School in 1996. She earned a Bachelor of Science from West Chester University in Health and Physical Education. In 2006, she earned a Master of Education from Kutztown University in Biology Education. In 2015, Ms. Schade earned a Master of Science degree in Microbiology from the Jefferson Graduate School of Biomedical Science. Currently, Ms. Schade is pursuing her PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
Ms. Schade has Pennsylvania teaching certifications in Biology, Health and Physical Education. She teaches Anatomy and Physiology I and II which are dual enrollment courses with the Reading Area Community College. Additionally, she teaches a Biomedical Science Research course encouraging independent and innovative science research. She is a faculty advisor of the Conrad Weiser Science Research Initiative.
Mrs. Tabitha Meredith
Mrs. Meredith became an instructor in the Agriculture Department in 1999. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from The University of Delaware majoring in Animal Science and Agricultural Education. In 2003, she earned a Master of Science from Wilkes University in Education.
Mrs. Meredith has a Pennsylvania teaching certification in Agriculture Science and teaches all Middle School Agriculture courses for 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. She is also the advisor of the Conrad Weiser Middle School FFA chapter and faculty advisor of the Jr. Envirothon Team.
Mr. John Siefert
Mr. Siefert became an instructor in the Agriculture Department in 2009. He earned a Bachelor of Science from the Pennsylvania State University in Agricultural and Extension Education. In 2016, he earned a Master of Science from the University of Maryland in Chemical and Life Sciences.
Mr. Siefert has Pennsylvania teaching certifications in Agriculture Science, Biology, General Science, and Environmental Science. He splits his teaching responsibilities between the Agriculture Department and Science Department, teaching Biology, Introduction to Agricultural Science, Biotechnology, Microbiology, and oversees the Landscape Laboratory Intern Program. In addition, Mr. Siefert is also co-advisor of the Conrad Weiser FFA chapter and faculty advisor of the Conrad Weiser Science Research Initiative.
The Agricultural Science curriculum is designed to expose students to the diversity of the agricultural industry. The curriculum includes both traditional courses as well as independent study courses that allow for individualized exploration into topics of interest. For more detailed information about graduation requirements and course offerings, view the High School Program of Studies.
(8001) Introduction to Agriculture Science - 1.00 Credit
This course will introduce the student to the broad discipline of Agriculture Science, which has careers tied to the food, fiber, energy and natural resource industries. Topics investigated will include an introduction to animal and plant science, integrated pest management (IPM), soil science, microbiology, and agriculture and the environment. Leadership development and public speaking skills are taught to increase self-confidence and sharpen communication skills needed for success in a competitive society. Laboratory skills are developed through a series of investigations. FFA membership is open to any student in this class. This class is available to students in 9th &10th grades.
(8003) Current Topics in Agriculture Science - 1.00 Credit
This course offers comprehensive units in contemporary ideas in animal science, food science, tissue culture, aseptic laboratory technique, soil science & apiculture. Laboratory activities are included in each of the units of instruction. Dissection units include fetal pig and reproductive systems of bovine, porcine, ovine and avian species. The course places an emphasis on career skills including interview and resume preparation. FFA membership is open to any student in this class. This class is available to students in 10th & 11th grades.
(8005) Advanced Placement Environmental Science (weighted 1.2) - 1.00 Credit AP
Environmental Science is designed to bring the student to the equivalent of a college introductory semester course. After qualifying on the AP examination, students as college freshmen are granted three or more credits at cooperating colleges. Because of the nature of the course, taking of the AP exam is required. The assigned reading for the course is rigorous and diverse. Environmental science is an interdisciplinary study, combining ideas and information from natural sciences (biology, chemistry and geology) and social sciences (economics, politics and ethics) to present a general idea of how nature works and how things are interconnected. Topics taught include matter and energy resources, ecosystems and how they work, human population dynamics, major global problems, resources and pollution, sustaining biodiversity and ecological integrity, and environment and society. This course serves as excellent preparation for the AP Biology course and examination. FFA membership is open to any student in this class. This class is available to students in 11th and 12th grade. AP Environmental Science will count as the fourth science credit for graduation. Note: There is a fee for this exam administered by The College Board.
(8045) Biotechnology (weighted 1.2) - 1.00 Credit
Biotechnology is the science of using living cells, their components, and their enzymes to produce useful commercial products. Students will conduct advanced laboratory protocols as they work with DNA fingerprinting and barcoding, genetic modification of bacteria and plants, plant tissue culture, and analysis of immunological proteins. Additionally, students will consider the ethical and economic consequences of these technologies as their use in agricultural and medical fields expands. This course counts for science credit. FFA membership is open to any student in this class. This class is open to students in 11th and 12th grade.
(8040) Experiments in the Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (weighted 1.2) - 1.00 Credit
Experiments in agricultural and environmental sciences introduces students to the foundation of science: experimentation. Students will work in small groups to acquire proficiency in problem solving, statistical analysis, experimental design, literature search, in-depth reading, technical writing and oral presentation. As skills are mastered throughout the course, students will explore scientific topics of their choosing through extensive reading, development of experiments, and construction of a research presentation. FFA membership is open to any student in this class. This class is open to students in 11th and 12th grade.
(8048) Seminars in Agricultural Sciences - 1.00 Credit
(8047) Seminars in Agricultural Science - .50 Credit
A student needs approval from an agricultural science teacher to take this course. It is designed to accommodate a Teaching/Laboratory Assistant (TLA). The course requirements include managing a laboratory area and conducting demonstrations in an area of agricultural science specialty. This course is designed to allow a student to be an attractive candidate for a “lab assistant” job at the university level. FFA membership is open to any student in this class. These classes are open to students in 12th grade.
(4134) Microbiology – 1.00 Credit (Prerequisite – Consent of Instructor)
Microbiology is designed for a detailed look at the invisible empire of microbes. Students will be required to read college materials and take on-line tests, conduct investigations, demonstrate mastery of technical writing and make professional contacts. This is an excellent option for a junior or senior who is considering a career in medicine or Ag. Science. FFA membership is open to any student in this class. This class is open to students in 11th and 12th grade.
(4133) Independent Study in Microbiology - .50 Credits (Prerequisite – Consent of Instructor)
Offered as a Senior Seminar, Independent Study in Microbiology is an independent study designed for a detailed look at the invisible empire of microbes. Students will be required to read college materials and take on-line tests, conduct investigations, demonstrate mastery of technical writing and make professional contacts. This is an excellent option for a senior who is considering a career in medicine or Ag. Science. FFA membership is open to any student in this class. This class is available to students in 12th grade.
(8160) Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) - Grade 9 - 1.00 Credit
(8162) Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) -Grade 10 - 1.00 Credit
(8164) Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) - Grade 11 - 1.00 Credit
(8166) Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) - Grade 12 - 1.00 Credit
The SAE courses are available to any student who is taking an agriculture course in grades 9-12. Each student is required to conduct a project that involves reading in scientific journals, conducting experiments of a scientific nature, raising plants or animals or involving work experiences in an area of agriculture/agribusiness. A detailed record book must be kept. A minimum of 120 hours of work outside class time is mandatory. Supervisory visits will be made by agriculture teachers who involve parents/employers in the student projects as needed. Students are encouraged to invest their own money, learn first-hand how to keep records, buy and sell and to make real life decisions that affect the project. The student's career plans and educational interests are an important part of the SAE topic selection and development. These courses will be graded A-F on a straight % basis.
Students must sign up in the Agriculture Department for this course.
FFA membership is open to any student in these classes.
The Biomedical Science curriculum is designed to expose students to laboratory research skills and scientific content relevant for a student pursuing a career in the medical or biomedical research fields. The curriculum includes both traditional courses as well as independent study courses that allow for individualized exploration into topics of interest. For more detailed information about graduation requirements and course offerings, view the High School Program of Studies.
(4150) Anatomy and Physiology I - (weighted 1.1) - 1.00 Credit
This course is designed for students who plan to enter careers that require extensive knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. Focus will be centered upon the orientation and organization of the human body, the support and movement of the human body, regulation and maintenance of the human body, and the integration and control systems of the human body. This course will include labs to physically demonstrate the mechanical properties. Students will also learn the basic injury evaluation techniques, efficient taping and wrapping for injuries, and initial injury care. Anatomy and Physiology I will count as the fourth science credit required for graduation.
This course is available for dual enrollment college credit through the Reading Area Community College. This class is open to students in 10th-12th grade.
(4151) Anatomy and Physiology II - (weighted 1.2) - 1.00 Credit (Prerequisite – Anatomy and Physiology I, taken as dual enrollment at RACC)
Building on the knowledge acquired in Anatomy and Physiology I, you will further study the structure and function of the human body. The course focuses on the studies of systems involved with integration, control, absorption, excretion and metabolism. Students will also learn advanced injury evaluation techniques, manual resistance techniques, therapeutic exercises, and therapeutic modalities.
This course is available for dual enrollment college credit through the Reading Area Community College. This class is open to students in 11th and 12th grade.
(4153) Biomedical Science Research - (weighted 1.2) 1.00 Credit (Prerequisite – Anatomy and Physiology I)
This course is an introduction to the principles of biomedical and clinical science research with an emphasis on critical analysis of the current literature. The course provides an overview of experimental design, laboratory technology, statistical analysis, and publication preparation. The course is specifically designed to improve student presentation skills and potential for collaborative work in biomedical science. Students will learn how to design and write a realistic research proposal and will gain a general understanding of how different techniques can be used to address a wide range of scientific research questions. This STEM experience provides students with an inquiry-based learning opportunity and engages them as active learners in a research setting. This class is open to students in 11th and 12th grade.
Agriculture Science (5, 6, 7, & 8)
The course is designed as a classroom and laboratory experience and focuses around the Food and Fiber System. Students will be introduced to the many sides of Agriculture in Pennsylvania. Students in grades 5 and 6 will focus on the Forest Ecosystem, animal habitats, renewable resources, and the products they provide. A heavy focus for 6th grade will be placed on Agricultural law which includes a Wildlife CSI unit. In 7th and 8th grade, students will study agricultural careers, soil science, horticulture and greenhouse production, and animal science. Students will be required to work together in groups to conduct projects and other topic related activities. (1 time per year/20 consecutive days/63 minutes per day)
- Landscape Laboratory History
- Landscape Laboratory Donors
- Landscape Laboratory Donation Form
- Landscape Laboratory Interns
- Native Plant Sale 2018
The Landscape Laboratory is a series of ornamental gardens outside of the Ag. Department bordering Big Spring Road. The purpose of the Landscape Laboratory is to educate students in the Ag. Department and community about horticulture techniques, ornamental plants, botany and also to provide a place to enjoy the natural world.
The first meeting of the Landscape Taskforce occurred in October 2000, when the high school building was only two months old. The high school agricultural science teacher at the time, Mr. Stephen Miller, had the idea to plant some perennial flower beds around the department. The entire area surrounding the school was originally grass. Several interested students attended the first meeting which was held with Dr. Richard Bitner serving as a consultant.
Mr. Miller had the initial intent to beautify the agriculture department with flowers. After an initial meeting, it was determined that flower beds were not the desired direction for the project. Instead, the team would create an arboretum. Dr. Bitner advised that if designed and managed correctly, the arboretum could be an educational experience for the school and community.
Phase 1 of the Landscape Laboratory included two River Birch installations and a small ornamental garden located near the entrance to the Ag. Department. Initially, emphasis of plants was placed on quality, not quantity. More importantly, the plants were selected primarily for fall/winter/spring seasonal interest. This decision ensured that students could enjoy the gardens while school was in session. Plant labels were designed and purchased and plants were properly labeled to begin incorporating the educational component.
The Landscape Laboratory has expanded and changed drastically since 2000. Additional gardens have been constructed, adding to the educational value. Structures, pathways, and artwork have also appeared in the gardens to improve accessibility and create spaces for visitors to enjoy.
Since it's inception in 2000, the Landscape has been planned, installed, and maintained by student interns. Interns are selected during an application process each spring. Learning horticulture techniques and working throughout the entire year, interns receive a small stipend. The Landscape Laboratory Intern Program is funded by community members and local businesses. Without community support for these interns, maintenance of the Landscape Laboratory would be impossible. Those interested in donating to the intern program can contact John Siefert at email@example.com.
The following community members and businesses have graciously donated supplies and/or funds in excessive of $300 since the inception of the gardens in 2000. The Landscape Laboratory would not exist without their support.
- The Buddies Nursery
- Nick Hemmerich
- Richard Bitner
- Green Valley Nursery
- Anewalt's Landscape Design and Contracting
- Conrad Weiser Hardware
- Hummel Florist and Greenhouses
- Rikki Melanio
- Reifsnyder's Ag. Center
- Zwicky Specialty Products
- Berks County Master Gardeners
- Outdoor Impressions Landscaping
- Longwood Gardens
- Jake's Greenhouses and Florist
- Horticulture Dept. of Penn State Berks - Lehigh Valley College
- Deep Valley Tree Farm
- Farr Nursery and Landscape Company
- Heidelberg Country Club
- Jack and Dawn Fry
- Lebanon Valley Farmers/Fulton Bank
- Marilyn Daly
- John F. Lengel, Inc.
- Redner's Warehouse Markets
- Wyomissing Garden Club
- PA Heartland Herb Society
- Robert Holt & Family
- Dean, Roxanne, & Jackie Kintzer
- Jason K. Miller
- Schatz Electric, Inc.
- Woman's Club of Wernersville
- Reading Bakery Systems
- Tony's Family Restaurant
- Strunk, Inc.
- Reading Alloys
- David and Jane Rohrbach & Family
- Susan Q. Sickler & Christine M. Sickler
- Lions Club of Wernersville
- Eisenhauer Nissan
Landscape Laboratory Intern Information
The Landscape Laboratory is maintained completely by student interns. The goals of the Landscape Laboratory Internship program are to effectively maintain the gardens and to educate the members of the Ag Department and community. Interns must be hardworking individuals who are not afraid to take responsibility and work with limited oversight. Some of the duties that interns are held accountable for are listed below:
- Maintaining the gardens, structures, pathways, and art work
- Pruning, Weeding, Mulching
- Attending Landscape Intern meetings on a regular basis
- Leading garden tours and participating in community outreach events
- Supplemental watering only for first year plantings or during extreme drought conditions
- Planning and running the Native Plant Fundraiser during the spring semester
- Taking and passing at least one Longwood Gardens Certificate of Merit Course
- Reading plant books each year and recommend titles for Agricultural Library collection
- ***One intern will be selected as “Head Intern”. This position will require additional supervisory duties and serve as a liaison between faculty and students.
Landscape Laboratory Interns 2017-2018
Paige Haag (12)
Mackenzie Donatelli (10)
Brooke Turkowski (10)
Cameron Miller (11)
The 2018 Native Plant Sale will be held on Saturday May 19th from 8:00am to 2:00pm in front of the Conrad Weiser Middle School. Profits help to fund the Intern program and maintain the Landscape Laboratory at the High School.
All plants are provided by Keystone Wildflowers, a native plant nursery in Robesonia, PA owned and operated by Bill Hoffman.
2018 Plant List (Subject to Change)
Science Research Initiative
“The Science Research Initiative is meant to serve as a model for science education in public school systems by providing authentic learning experiences, fostering student investment, and building public/private collaboration.”
The Science Research Initiative was established to serve as a framework for integrating research-based learning into the curriculum at Conrad Weiser Area School District. Over time, we hope that the initiative will serve as a model that can be implemented throughout the public schools in the United States. The SRI is meant to serve as an educational philosophy rather than a physical program. The initiative stresses the importance of providing students with skills-based and authentic learning experiences that improve students’ laboratory and research skills as well as literacy and communication.
Conrad Weiser High School
44 Big Spring Road
Robesonia, PA 19551
Conrad Weiser Middle School
347 East Penn Ave.
Robesonia, PA 19551
High School Agriculture Department:
Middle School Agriculture Department:
(610) 693-8599 x5383
High School Agricultural Science Instructors:
Adam Serfass: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Siefert: email@example.com
Middle School Agricultural Science Instructor:
Tabitha Meredith: firstname.lastname@example.org
High School Biomedical Science Instructor:
Adelle Schade: email@example.com