AFSA High School opened its doors as the Agricultural and Food Sciences Academy in the fall of 2001. Students started attended classes in a small rented portion of a Roseville school building which was sponsored by Northeast Metro 916. Within a short two years, AFSA grew from having 39 students in grades 9 and 10 to over 150 students in grades 9-12! In 2005, the AFSA Building Company constructed the current facility and AFSA moved to its permanent home in Vadnais Heights. In 2008 the school name was changed to emphasize science, with hopes to help people in the Metro area understand the breadth of the Agricultural/Science industry. Another change that year was a move to sponsorship (now Authorizer) by Audubon Center of the North Woods. In 2011 the school expanded by adding grades 7 and 8, and in 2014 AFSA expanded again to include a second site and grades 5 & 6. From 2014 to 2017, AFSA hosted grades 5-7 in a rental space in St. Paul. The location proved difficult for many reasons, including the distance from the Vadnais location (25 min drive) and space limitations. In 2017, it was decided to apply for a K-4 addition expansion and work to purchase a facility to house grades K-8 together and within 10 minutes of the High School campus. A small rental location was secured temporarily during this period of expansion to house grades 5 & 6 and pilot a new, innovative, standards-based approach for learning that will be used for grades K-8 in the new facility. Currently, the Academy for Sciences and Agriculture (AFSA High School) serves 350 5-12th grade students from over 25 different MN school districts.
Becky Meyer, who is a licensed MN Principal and Superintendent, began her journey with AFSA in 2002 as the Assistant Director and became Director the following year. She has been with AFSA through most of the growth and changes so far as AFSA has developed into the school it is. Becky has a background in Agricultural and Science Education, an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin River Falls, and a Master’s degree from Purdue in Educational Administration. Nancy Schultz has been with AFSA since 2008 and is an accomplished charter school business manager. Several staff members have been at AFSA for 8 or more years.
The next step in AFSA’s journey is to add Pre-k through 4th grade. AFSA is committed to small class sizes and small communities. Each location would have a maximum of 320 students to ensure a community where everyone can know everyone. Target class size remains at 25 or less, with aims of lower numbers in the younger grades. AFSA students, families and staff have a strong sense of community and many activities are done for the purpose of developing strong relationships and a sense of caring. Parents and students share stories of a caring environment where their children are safe, how they fit in, have friends, and how they are accomplishing more than they thought possible in a caring environment.