This is an article from the February 2017 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.
You could call Jamie Propson the Joanna Gaines of agricultural education. Just like the host of the popular home remodeling show Fixer Upper, Propson took a program in need of a little love and has turned it into a real beauty in just a short time.
Propson began her career at Mishicot School District in Mishicot, Wis. in 2012. Since then she has seen her class enrollment increase 182 percent and the FFA chapter has grown from 38 members to 112. She attributes this growth to developing community partnerships, encouraging students to take on leadership roles, and providing them with applicable, hands-on curriculum.
“I want to create a culture of learning where students show mastery, are challenged with inquiry-based labs, field trips, experiments, and communication prompts,” said Propson.
One of her first achievements was to have a 31-acre school trail and forest recognized by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as a School Forest. This outdoor learning environment, dubbed the Mishicot Education Curriculum Change Area (MECCA), has a stewardship plan developed by Propson’s students. The plan includes forest management practices, like the removal of invasive plant species, as well as a vision for the forest and trail to offer educational and community service opportunities for all students in Mishicot. Propson organizes a forest clean-up day quarterly which brings together supporters and students to make improvements to the educational area. In addition to the forest and trail, her students also manage a donated orchard and the school’s community garden.
In 2015, Propson received a $71,000 grant to renovate her food science laboratory and upgrade her curriculum to mimic the same standards found in the food industry.
Updating her facilities is especially important to Propson so she can provide her students with the most current and applicable agricultural knowledge and experiences. She is currently in the process of applying for grants to remodel the program’s 20 year old greenhouse, which is in need of numerous repairs as well as improved work space for her students.
Thanks to her efforts in updating her program facilities and providing her students with current agricultural experiences, Propson was awarded the 2016 NAAE Region III Outstanding Young Member award.
For more information about this award and to see the other award winners, follow this link. This program is sponsored by John Deere as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.