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This is an article from the January 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link


SaraBeth Fulton

2017 NAAE Region VI National Agriscience Teacher of the Year Award Winner
Big Spring High School
Newville, PA


HeadShot.jpgStudents often gravitate toward our programs because of the hands-on, experiential learning opportunities that are offered. We pride ourselves in providing students the chance to learn by doing.


For SaraBeth Fulton, agriculture teacher at Big Spring High School, in Newville, Pennsylvania, her program takes the appealing, interactive curriculum of agriculture a step further by offering additional certifications and credits in science.     


The agriculture program at Big Spring High School currently offers 17 different courses to over 240 students. The course offerings are organized into three career pathways, which involve five out of the 10 competencies offered by the school. From there, five of the courses fulfill science credits and high school graduation requirements, two courses offer dual-credits through the local community college, there are two CASE courses offered, along with one AP College Board course, and the program also offers five different industry certifications.


With that many different opportunities for students to achieve and receive multiple recognitions and credits, it is no wonder the agriculture program’s class request list has over 600 students.


During her tenure at Big Spring High School, Fulton has made it a priority to enhance the science of agriculture in the program’s curriculum.


PhotoInstruction.jpg“Over the past 13 years, I have continually updated materials and added new laboratory experiences to all of my courses,” said Fulton. “In connecting with the national Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR) standards, I have incorporated science-based laboratories in all of my classes in order to expand and relate previous knowledge taught in the science department to real-world applications.”


Through her hard work, Fulton has been able to establish a great relationship between Big Spring and the Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC), so that her students are able to receive dual-credits in horticulture. Big Spring’s agriculture program was the first in Pennsylvania to offer a dual-credit course in conjunction with HACC, and has since served as a resource and stepping stone for other programs in the state to follow.


Fulton not only sees the importance and value of enhancing the science in agriculture, but also the importance and value of providing her students with the opportunities and resources to enhance the efficiency of their high school educational experiences. As agriculture teachers, offering those extra benefits are excellent ways to market our programs and show the value of agricultural education.


SaraBeth Fulton is the 2017 NAAE Region VI National Agriscience Teacher of the Year award recipient. This award category is sponsored by Herman and Bobbie Wilson as a special project of the Natioinal FFA Foundation. For more information about the National Agriscience Teacher of the Year award category and to see the rest of the 2017 recipients, follow this link.


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This is an article from the January 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.


npslogo.pngEach spring, career and technical educators have the opportunity to advocate for their profession through ACTE’s National Policy Seminar. During this annual event, agricultural education has its own track for agriculture teachers to attend and use as an opportunity to advocate for their programs and careers.


This year’s event will take place March 5-7 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, in Arlington, Virginia.


Here is what you can expect as an attendee of the National Policy Seminar:

  • Learn how to craft and communicate your CTE message, programming priorities, and local education needs to your policymakers.
  • Engage your members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill to advance local and national CTE policy initiatives.
  • Hear the latest information on Perkins reauthorization, funding opportunities, and CTE-related legislation.
  • Benefit from a half-day special focus on improving the image of CTE through public awareness and local advocacy.


As a NAAE member, there are additional opportunities and benefits, which include:

  • NAAE will cover the registration for one representative per state. This registration must be received by the NAAE office by Monday, February 5th. The registration form can be found here:
    • ACTE Early Bird Registration Rate ends February 2nd. Rates for ACTE members are $385, non-members is $405. A complete rate list can be found here:
    • 10% Group Discount: When you register five or more individuals from the same institution, you can receive a 10 percent group discount. Please note: Group discount does not apply to the student rate, as this is already a discounted rate.
  • NAAE has a hotel block at the Crowne Plaza National Airport for $162/night plus tax. Rooms can be reserved through this link: Payment will be accepted upon check in for the reservation. Reservations need to be made by Monday, February 5th. Any reservations made after this cannot be guaranteed at the group rate. This is not the hotel that NPS will be held. NPS will be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott for a rate of $259/night plus tax. Those reservations can be made here:
  • NAAE will hold special programming that is agriculture specific Monday, March 5th from 11:30 am- 12:30 pm.
  • NAAE and FFA will co-host a luncheon on Monday March 5th from 12:30-1:45pm.


Follow this link for more information about the National Policy Seminar with Agricultural Education Track.

This is an article from the January 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.


Ever hear of a starving artist? It is kind of a joke that we say that phrase, yet in most schools and very much so in post-secondary education art is a required course. At my college, students that would like to transfer to the university are required to take 12 credits of Arts and Letters to major in agriculture.


If we could replace art with agriculture, would the artist still be starving? Many of you may have heard recently about Anna Peterson, a high school senior agriculture student from Nampa, Idaho, who recently drafted a bill to make agricultural science courses a requirement for all students in public schools. Anna is a non-traditional agriculture student, who started working at a dairy as part of her SAE project. When she received negative feedback from her peers about her job, she decided that there had to be some way to educate all students about where their food comes from. As part of Anna’s senior project, she drafted the bill and will introduce it at the 2018 Idaho Legislative session.


Win or lose, I am very impressed by Anna’s efforts and commend her for her advocacy work on behalf of agricultural education. If the bill fails, Anna has still won — she has educated the public through the media, she has inspired the agriculture industry, given hope and optimism for our youth, and has motivated her peers to continue advocacy for agriculture through agricultural education!


A couple years ago, Monsanto sponsored a challenge to agriculture programs about advocacy, specifically focusing on social media. Below are some quotes from Agriculture Teachers that faced that challenge:


"If we don't take control of the message that is agriculture, others will tell our story for us. Being an informed agriculturalist makes students understand the realities of agriculture and the various aspects of it."
--Misty Bivens, Agricutlure Teacher at LaRue County, Hodgenville, Ky.


"Teaching about agricultural advocacy teaches students to use higher-level thinking and identify false arguments. They learn that a majority opinion in the public's mind does not necessarily make it a fact."
--Trent Van Leuven, Agriculture Teacher at Mackay H.S., Mackay, Id.


NAAE is also focused on many different advocacy efforts. The Member Services committee is anxiously awaiting the results of the nationwide survey on why ag teachers leave the profession — we hope this can shed some light on our retention efforts through both NAAE and the National Teach Ag Campaign. Many states across the country are working on or drafting legislative bills to ensure funding for agricultural education in their states, affiliate FFA, or state leadership centers to help train agriculture students. Advocacy is a never-ending process that we must teach and perform ourselves. I truly believe that when we stop advocating for agricultural education, we will be forced to find an art position — I can only draw stick figures!


If you are looking for a way to advocate for ag ed, plan on attending this year’s National Policy Seminar in Washington D.C. March 5-7, 2018. This is an important conference for you to attend to get an understanding of the political atmosphere, and how to help not only agricultural education, but also career and technical education. ACTE does a fantastic job organizing the NPS and helping you get around Capitol Hill.  NAAE will pay the registration fee for one NAAE member per state to attend the NPS. Your state's representative must register through NAAE. I encourage you to look at attending the NPS or recruiting someone from your state to attend. Year after year, I have found this to be very rewarding. I am always surprised at how eager our legislative appointees want to meet with us and hear our story.


Professional growth is where NAAE really shines offering opportunities for early, mid, and late career teachers. NPS is another avenue for you to gain professional development and share ideas with members from other states, that ultimately create resources for the grass roots organization. NAAE’s six committees will be meeting virtually over the next two months. There is always a need for committee members to serve on these committees and advocate for the organization. Check out the committee pages on Communities of Practice.


NAAE staff are getting ready to interview for the Communications/Marketing Coordinator position that is still currently open in the NAAE office, in Lexington, Ky. As of now, there have been about 30 applications that we have received and look forward to hiring the position prior to the next NAAE Board Meeting.


I look forward to seeing you at NPS in March!



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