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Julie Fritsch

News & Views - June 2013

Posted by Julie Fritsch Jun 10, 2013

June 2013

From the President - Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

These words by Robert Frost came to me today as I've been viewing the damage of the deadly tornadoes that have struck Oklahoma.

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Member Spotlight: Determination in Motion

Tina Miner-James
Walton Central School, Walton, N.Y.

Tina Miner-James, last year's Region VI NAAE Teacher Mentor Award winner, wasn't the first person to hold her newborn son 12 years ago. That honor went to her husband. She wasn't the second person, either. Just after being wheeled into recovery from a C-section, Miner-James got a call from the nurse's station, explaining that a very concerned student wanted to make sure she was OK.

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Ideas Unlimited

How to Build a Mock Scrotum

Zach Crews, an agricultural educator at Slater School in Slater, Mo., knows that memorable classroom learning moments tend to stick with students. And there's not much more memorable than teaching a student to castrate livestock. And while he'd love to be able to teach them on a live animal, it's simply not practical. So Crews came up with the idea for a mock scrotum castration activity.

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NAAE Convention

Don't miss out on all the action! NAAE will hold its 2013 convention in Las Vegas Dec. 3-7. Early bird registration ends July 12. Click here to reserve your room at the Riviera Hotel and Casino ($49 weekdays, $72 weekends).

For more information, visit this page.

 


In Other News...

Teach Ag Update

Well begun may be half done, but it is the second half of our work that is the most important: sustainability and results.

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Washington Beat

A rundown of recent events in national politics and how they affect agricultural education.

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CASE

Ever wondered how other ag educators make room in their budgets for CASE curricula? Here's one young teacher's experience.

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Meet Your 2013 NAAE Summer Interns

McKenzie Baecker, Emilia Dover, Amanda Forstater and Tyler Price make up this year's fantasic class of interns. Meet them here!

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Marshall Judy, Outstanding Cooperation Award Winner, Region I

An experienced welder, Judy often performs safety demonstrations and travels to high schools and colleges.

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Tricks of the Trade: Recruitment and Retention

How do you recruit new ag teachers? How do you reach out to support your colleagues? Send us your best ag teacher recruitment and retention tips, especially pictures or videos, by July 1. If we choose your tip for the next News & Views, we'll send you a Teach Ag t-shirt!

 

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FREEsource

Check out these free animal production and environmental stewardship lessons from Montana State University Extension.

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Current Events Poll

The Oklahoma City tornado and Newtown shootings brought teachers' dedication into the spotlight. Do people respect teachers more today?

VOTE »

That's Cool

We can't get enough of the Peterson Brothers' Life of a Farmer video series. Click here for the latest installment of video fun!

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CoP Highlight

Look out! Ag teachers are taking Pinterest by storm.

Membership Recruitment Tools

July 1 starts the new NAAE membership year! Click here for tools to help you recruit new members.

NAAE Calendar

Click here to make sure your calendar is up to date.

NAAE Social Media

Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Awesome.

Advertisers in this Issue

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Determination in Motion

Tina Miner-James

Walton Central School, Walton, N.Y.

 

Tina Miner-James, last year's Region VI NAAE Teacher Mentor Award winner, wasn't the first person to hold her newborn son 12 years ago. That honor went to her husband. She wasn't the second person, either. Just after being wheeled into recovery from a C-section, Miner-James got a call from the nurse's station, explaining that a very concerned student wanted to make sure she was OK.

 

Miner-James smiled and told the nurses to send the student, whom we will call "Brent," down to her room. He was the second person to hold her only hours-old son.

 

Brent was a special case. Labeled in ninth grade as a "killing time kid" who wasn't expected to graduate, Brent posed a challenge to Miner-James and the other teachers. He had some learning disabilities, but back then, the education system simply labeled him as "naughty." Still, Miner-James saw something in Brent, and was determined to help him graduate.

 

"I worked with him for four years, and the day that I got a call and was asked that I be the one to present him with his high school diploma on stage was incredible," she says.

 

And it was Brent who called her recently, all these years later, after reading about Miner-James being recognized as an outstanding teacher. Now a successful businessman, he told his former teacher that he attributes his success to her perseverance.

 

"He said he wouldn't be where was was without me and that he was proud to have been one of my students," she says.

 

It doesn't get much better than that. But Brent is just one person touched by Miner-James' gracious, supportive and sharp teaching. She also mentors other ag teachers, having answered countless "S.O.S." calls from her peers, particularly those who are new to ag education.

 

"When I found a little bit of success, I shared it," she says, humbly. "If it worked for me, it will work for them."

 

She was particularly good at pulling together information and resources, and was told early in her career "you get this; can you help others?" Once CTE-certified, she helped others become so, too.

 

"CTE certification is a bit of security, especially in the face of budget cuts," she notes.

 

And although Miner-James has traveled all over New York saving ag teachers from the chopping block, she's sympathetic to budget cuts. Still, she makes a clear, concise argument for keeping ag education in schools' curriculum.

 

"This is the one area in the school where kids are getting hands-on education; they're applying all the academics that they're struggling to achieve," Miner-James says. "Ag ed takes the book learning from other classes and lets kids apply it in real life. It's outside, they're getting dirty, their hands are in it. Geometry, physics, all those classes where they think, 'We're never going to use this in real life' they use in ag ed. If you cut ag programs, you're cutting practical application of all that learning and all they're left with is a book."

 

For example, just days ago, Miner-James and her class were wading in a nearby brook, working on a study of gravel deposition to help local officials with stream management. It's a far cry from the "shop class" she took in high school.

 

"We built hay wagons when I took shop," she says. "Now I teach animal science, laboratory science; I teach in a greenhouse."

 

Miner-James says she gets a kick out of past high school graduates who come back with their kids and reflect on how much this area of education has changed.

 

"They say, 'This isn't the ag program I had! This is so cool! I want to come back and take this class again!'"

 

Miner-James was selected as both the Teacher Mentor and Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher award winner for Region VI in 2012. The Teacher Mentor award is sponsored by CEV Multimedia and the Outstanding Teacher award is sponsored by Toyota as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. For more information about all NAAE award programs, visit www.naae.org/awards/applications.

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