BUFFALO, W.Va. -- As students arrive at the new Buffalo High School today, Danielle Grant starts what she says is her dream job.
In her jeans, brown leather boots and matching belt, the 24-year-old unpacked boxes Wednesday of things to decorate her classroom, many with barnyard decals.
Grant, a Pendleton County native, who describes her childhood as growing up on "Old MacDonald's Farm," will teach the new Agricultural Science course at Buffalo.
"This is my dream job, literally. To start my own program and build it from the ground up with the support of the community -- it makes me really, really excited," she said.
The new high-tech Buffalo High earned approval from the state Department of Education earlier this year to be an innovation zone. Those are schools that receive waivers to state policy allowing them to try out new, research-based strategies in an effort to improve student learning.
The agriculture class will consist of, among other things, participation in the national Future Farmers of America organization and a project where students implement what they've learned at an actual farm or in the community, Grant said.
Gritts Midway Greenhouse in Eleanor partnered with the school and was a driving force behind getting the program started, according to Grant.
Putnam schools Superintendent Chuck Hatfield said the Gritts notified school officials that they were having a hard time finding people to hire with agricultural education.
"We didn't realize it, but Putnam is the third largest horticulture county in the state of West Virginia, so it's a perfect fit," Hatfield said. "We worked with the county farm bureau and did a survey which showed students had a high interest in that type of program, especially in the Buffalo area."
Maggie Parsons, 16, of Red House, who was at the school Wednesday helping teachers unpack, said she grew up on a farm and is excited about the new program.