Here are additional documents referenced in the previous "Seeking Candidates for Teacher Position on the National FFA Organization Board of Directors" post.
Here are additional documents referenced in the previous "Seeking Candidates for Teacher Position on the National FFA Organization Board of Directors" post.
NAAE is seeking agriculture teacher candidates to serve a 3-year term on the board of directors of the National FFA Organization. This 3-year term of service will begin July 1, 2019 and conclude June 30, 2022. As set forth in the attached Memorandum of Understanding (attachment #1) between the US Department of Education and the National FFA Organization, the agriculture teacher representative will be a representative of the US Department of Education. Additional documents are attached to explain the responsibilities for National FFA Organization board members and as well as FFA organizational documents (attachments #2-6). Candidates may also choose to review minutes of National FFA Organization Board of Directors meetings here … https://ffa.box.com/s/cnpavge9bb2po8x3giisu9uy4r0cgstt.
Candidates for this position must submit their credentials to the NAAE office no later than 5:00 pm Eastern time on Wednesday, November 14, 2018. E-mailed and/or faxed documents are acceptable.
The following completed documents are required of all candidates:
From among all applicants, the NAAE Board of Directors will select three nominees to send forward to the US Department of Education and to the National FFA Organization Board of Directors. The US Department of Education and the National FFA Organization Board of Directors will make the final selection from among the three NAAE nominees.
Candidates may scan and e-mail completed documents to the NAAE office at JJackman.NAAE@uky.edu or fax completed documents to (859) 323-3919.
Please direct questions about the National FFA Board of Directors to Dr. Steve Brown at SBrown@ffa.org.
Please direct questions about submitting your credentials to me at JJackman.NAAE@uky.edu.
Wm. Jay Jackman, Ph.D., CAE
National Association of Agricultural Educators
300 Garrigus Building
Lexington, Kentucky 40546-0215
Office: (859) 257-2224 or (800) 509-0204
Cell: (859) 619-4990
Fax: (859) 323-3919
Looking back on the formative years of our teaching careers, we can all remember those mentors who helped us get on our feet and keep our heads above water. For Krista Pontius, agriculture teacher at Greenwood High School, in Millerstown, Pennsylvania, the positive influence her mentors had in her early teaching career encouraged her to continue the same legacy as a mentor to new agriculture teachers in her state.
“In my early years of teaching, I relied on the advice of seasoned teachers and advisors in my tri-county area,” said Pontius. “As I began to feel comfortable in my position, I felt it was my responsibility to give back to the profession by serving as a mentor to new teachers in the field.”
For the past 14 years, Pontius has served as the mentoring coordinator for the Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators. Through this role, she matches first-year agriculture teachers with appropriate mentors to welcome new teachers into the ag education family and help them get a head start in their careers. As the mentoring coordinator, she also works with individuals at Pennsylvania State University to conduct workshops, webinars, and other forms of support for new agriculture teachers throughout the year.
Most recently, Pontius worked with NAAE to host Pennsylvania’s first Agriculture Inquiry Institute. This event brought together teachers with varying levels of experience and introduced them to inquiry-based teaching and learning. Numerous participants commented that this event was the best professional development experience of their careers.
Pontius plans to continue her work as a mentor and mentoring coordinator for the state of Pennsylvania. She values the influence mentoring agriculture teachers have in new teachers’ lives and wants to develop more opportunities for teachers in all phases of their careers to come together and collaborate.
It is for her hard work and dedication as a mentor coordinator that Pontius was selected as the 2017 NAAE Region VI Outstanding Service Citation award recipient. NAAE recognizes current and retired NAAE members who have made significant contributions to agricultural education at the state, regional, and national levels with the Outstanding Service Citation award. This program is sponsored by Goodheart-Willcox.
Follow this link for more information about this award category and to see the other regional award winners.
Agricultural education reaches far beyond the classroom walls. Across the country, there are numerous stakeholders who help to promote and provide endless resources to the great profession we belong to. Merie Linegar spent her 35 year career helping to mentor students and teachers across the state of Oregon, to ensure program success.
As the Dual Credit Coordinator at Treasure Valley Community College, Linegar enabled thousands of rural students to obtain dual credit for their agriculture and natural resources coursework. She spent her career aligning the curriculum at Treasure Valley with the course standards at area high schools, to ensure students would get a head start in their postsecondary education. Without her dedication and guidance, many students in Oregon would not have continued their education beyond high school.
“I was privileged to work with Merie for almost four years at Treasure Valley Community College,” said Terry Basford, Director of CTE and Special Projects at Treasure Valley Community College. “Her understanding and connection to all of the secondary programs was invaluable. Merie was the ‘go-to’ person for answers to questions, directions, communication, information, and support. Our program would not have the connection to our high schools and students if it was not for her.”
Throughout her career, Linegar focused on supporting and promoting agricultural education as a means to better prepare and serve students. Her tireless efforts to support our profession are why she was named the 2017 NAAE Region I Outstanding Cooperation Award Winner. Without stakeholders like Linegar, agricultural education would not be able to make the profound impact that it does each and every day, in the lives of our students.
NAAE recognizes organizations, agribusiness companies, and others who have given outstanding support to agricultural education with the Outstanding Cooperation Award. The plaques for this program are sponsored by Forrest T. Jones & Company.
For more information about the Outstanding Cooperation award category, and to see who else was named, follow this link.
Being an agriculture teacher really is the BEST. CAREER. EVER. Yes, there are days that make us question our sanity. There are struggles and misfortunes that occasionally leave us feeling defeated, as with any other profession. What makes our job worth it, though, is the profound impact we are able to make in the lives of our students each and every day. We equip the future with knowledge and skills that are necessary to be successful in postsecondary education, the workforce, and life in general.
It is for this reason that agriculture teachers stay in the profession for a lifetime. Jill Shrum, former agriculture teacher at Hendersonville High School, in Hendersonville, Tennessee, spent her 20 year teaching career molding her students into critical thinkers and problem solvers. Prior to her retirement, she also served in many roles both inside and outside of the classroom. Shrum was a mentor for eight student teachers from Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Tennessee at Martin, and Western Kentucky University. She also helped to train new teachers across the state through a variety of workshops that focused on curriculum design, hands-on learning, and classroom management.
Since 1997, she led a statewide event called “Flowers on the Hill,” that brought members of the Tennessee Association of Agricultural Educators and the Tennessee FFA Association together to lobby for agricultural education in Tennessee. This event not only provided an avenue for teachers, students and stakeholders to advocate for agricultural education, but also served as an experiential learning opportunity for Shrum’s students. Each year, her students created floral arrangements for each of the 133 Tennessee legislators and Governor and delivered the arrangements themselves. Through this experience, Shrum’s students gained practical knowledge, while they also made a difference in educational policy in the state of Tennessee.
Shrum’s contributions to the agricultural education profession are the reasons she was named the 2017 NAAE Region V Lifetime Achievement award winner. Her diligence in and out of the classroom made a difference in the lives of her students and colleagues. She truly set an example for current and aspiring agriculture teachers to mentor, motivate, and make a difference throughout their careers.
NAAE recognizes retired NAAE members who have made significant contributions to agricultural education at the state, regional, and national levels with Lifetime Achievement Award. This program is sponsored by Ford as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. For more information about this award category, and to see the other 2017 Lifetime Achievement award winners, follow this link.
A message from our partners as part of News & Views:
As agriculture teachers, we believe our students are our future. Why shouldn’t we feel the same way about student members in our professional organization? NAAE student members represent the future leadership of our grassroots organization, so it is important that we encourage our preservice teachers to take advantage of early membership.
A primary benefit of NAAE student membership is liability insurance. As teachers, we know how important it is to have legal coverage when we are in the classroom, so it is important that we stress to our student members – whether a former student, student teacher, or a group of preservice teachers at your summer conference – that liability insurance is a necessity when entering the classroom.
Another benefit of NAAE student membership is early access to professional development. NAAE works diligently to provide preservice teachers with opportunities to learn about inquiry-based instruction, classroom management, and so much more. Our student members have the chance to enter their first classroom with their pockets overflowing with curriculum, tips, tools, and resources to hit the ground running and be tremendously successful in their first year of teaching.
NAAE also offers its student members summer internship opportunities. In the areas of advocacy, communications, and professional development, preservice teachers are able to see “behind the scenes” of agricultural education. These experiences help future teachers gain knowledge and skills that will help make their agriculture programs unique.
These are just a few of the numerous benefits students can take advantage of while in college – and did we mention student membership is only $10? What a great deal for our preservice teachers! So the next time you are around preservice agriculture teachers, make sure you stress to them the importance of their early involvement and membership in their professional organization. Share your reasons for being involved in NAAE and help them to get an early start in their future careers.
For more information about NAAE student membership follow this link.
This year, we are excited to have five fantastic interns working on behalf of agricultural education, in the areas of communications, professional development, advocacy and Teach Ag. We can’t wait for you to meet them this year in San Antonio for the 2018 NAAE Convention!
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education?
I chose to major in agricultural education because I want to help students find their niche through agriculture. The agriculture industry has always held a spot in my heart. I was raised on a small family farm in eastern Kentucky, where my father trained horses. My love for agriculture began on the family farm, but it wasn’t until I started taking agriculture classes in high school, that I realized my calling was to become an agriculture teacher.
What are your professional goals?
Once I complete my bachelor’s degree in agricultural education at the University of Kentucky, I hope become an agriculture teacher in eastern Kentucky. I want give back to the region that shaped me in to the person I am today.
What has been the best part of your internship?
The best part of my internship thus far has been serving as a judge for the Agriscience Fair at the Kentucky FFA State Convention. I was able to serve an organization that gave so much to me as a high school student, while networking with professionals and educators in Kentucky’s agriculture industry.
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education? Compared to most kids, I grew up in a rather abnormal situation -- both of my parents just happened to be teachers. My mom, a fifth grade math teacher, was the parent who constantly pushed me to perform various learning exercises, from book reports to the F.O.I.L. method – she instilled in me a love and appreciation for learning.
With my Dad, things were always a little different. Instead of written assignments, I would always beg him to include me on whatever “field trip” he had scheduled next. At first, it started out with home visit -- one in particular with a happy and hungry pig who loved marshmallows. Then, I always wanted to go with my dad on his week long summer adventures to a camp with tons of high school students dressed in interesting blue jackets, where they canoed in the lake and “played” in groups on wooden obstacle courses. My all-time favorite were the yearly trips to the fair where there were cows and sheep and pigs, oh my! So, while I received my love of learning from my mom, I found my subject passion with my dad, the agriculture teacher.
As I entered college, although I resisted at first to the idea of becoming exactly like my parents, I found a balance in a degree where I could fulfill my love of livestock with my passion for helping others – agricultural education.
What are your professional goals? Through my student teaching experiences at Western Hills High School in Frankfort, KY and The Scots School in Bathurst, Australia, I was able to discover just how much I truly enjoy making connections with students and being able to see them succeed. However, I was faced with a dilemma because I also really enjoy expanding my knowledge in the animal science industry. After much thought, I have decided to pursue a master’s degree in animal science. After that, I have aspirations to become an animal science professor at a postsecondary institution, so that I am able to teach about the subject I enjoy the most.
What has been the best part of your internship?
I have enjoyed working with my fellow interns and learning more about them and their goals and interests. I feel that I have had a great opportunity to learn from each of them by how they approach situations and problem-solve. My interactions with them have helped me to grow personally and professionally.
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education? When I was in high school I was not able to take any agriculture courses because my high school did not have an agriculture program. I was not able to participate in FFA or 4-H because we did not have the programs and because of this I did not have a lot of opportunities that other students that I go to college with did and still do. This has really opened my eyes and I want to start a new high school agriculture program or an adult education program to give students the opportunities that I did not have.
What are your professional goals? I would really like to start my own business or work for a company that educates the public about the agriculture industry. I feel that the agriculture industry does not get the credit that it deserves because of biased information that is spreading. I feel that education is the key to fixing this issue.
What has been the best part of your internship? The best part of this summer has been working with my amazing team at NAAE and getting to see the wonderful state of Kentucky with them!
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education? When I think back on my years in agriculture classes and how my passion for agriculture grew, I think back to one situation in particular. It was my freshman year of high school and our FFA chapter was partnering with the Jackson County Farm Bureau for Project Rural Education Day, or Project R.E.D. I was assigned to explain where all the ingredients in pizza come from to a group of third graders. As the kids came around to our station, I watched in awe as urban students became intrigued to learn where their food came from. As urbanization continues to increase, we begin to see a divide between consumers and producers -- exemplified by only 22 percent of Americans trusting that the agriculture industry is transparent about food production practices. It is now more important than ever, to ensure that individuals know where their food comes from. It was in that moment, interacting with those kids, that I had realized the agriculture industry needed me and I was excited to answer the call to service.
What are your professional goals? Upon completion of my bachelor’s degree, I will become certified to teach agriscience within the following year. In this year, I will be student teaching in an agriscience classroom, which will allow me to gain real classroom instruction experience, as well as permit me to expand my horizons in the agriculture field for a few years before pursuing a master’s degree. There are three areas that interest me greatly within the agriculture industry; communications, education, and policy. I believe that all of these areas are interconnected. You cannot effectively educate if you cannot communicate, and you cannot advocate for policy if you cannot educate. It is for this reason that I am still undecided about pursuing a master’s degree in agricultural communications, agricultural education or policy. After the completion of my master's degree, I intend to pursue a career in agriculture -- whether it be in the classroom or elsewhere in the agriculture sector, I will use my communication and advocacy skills to help guide me.
What has been the best part of your internship? The best part about my internship has been interacting and educating individuals who have had very little exposure or previous knowledge of agricultural education. As I work through a typical meeting with a Representative or Senator, I am able to provide them with background information on agricultural education, career and technical education, and the National FFA Organization. It is after showing them how unique agricultural education three circle model is, and how we are able to integrate mathematics, science and literacy through a hands-on approach in agriculture, that they realize just how amazing agricultural education really is.
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education? Agriculture is something that has always been important in my life. As I began to be more involved within the industry, I started to see the need to educate those both directly and indirectly involved in agriculture. Whether it be at the grocery store or on Facebook, you are bound to see less than factual information being spread about the agriculture industry, so I decided a major in agricultural education was a way to combat that. There are also so many opportunities available to agricultural education majors to educate others both in the classroom and through non-traditional settings. I love the versatility and variability that this major provides. The opportunities are endless!
What are your professional goals? After graduation, I would love to be an agriculture teacher for a few years and gain experience from the formal education side. Eventually, I would like to step into a more non-traditional role of education, possibly through a non-profit or the USDA. Wherever my journey as an agricultural educator takes me, I always want to make it my goal to continuously advocate for the agriculture industry.
What has been the best part of your internship? This is a tough question because I have really loved everything about it! If I had to pick something, I would probably say the opportunity to travel. I am the type of person who loves going to new places and through Teach Ag I am getting the opportunity to travel to several cities and states that I have never been to before for various conferences and events. Through these experiences, I am also getting the opportunity to expand my network and develop myself professionally. This internship provides opportunities beyond my desk and that, to me, is one of the best parts.
This is a feature from the June 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.
As you browse Communities of Practice, attend your regional conference, or engage in summer professional development opportunities, you are bound to interact with several great mentors in agricultural education. The great thing about our profession is that there is an abundance of people willing to help you – whether you need resources for a lesson, advice on classroom management, or just a listening ear, there is always someone willing to help.
One such mentor is Wesley Anderson, agriculture teacher at Lac Qui Parle Valley High School, in Madison, Minnesota. Over the course of his 35 year teaching career, Anderson has been able to serve as both a formal and informal mentor to numerous agriculture teachers across the state of Minnesota.
“All of my career I have simply helped any ag teacher who needs assistance,” said Anderson. “I have shared my officer handbook and other materials with many instructors. I have teachers call me all the time asking for contacts for various topics and resources.”
Anderson is an open book for budding and seasoned agriculture teachers when it comes to information and tools to help build and improve their programs. However, the topic he most highly regards and stresses to those he mentors is the importance of Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) visits.
“I stress to other teachers how important it is to the parents of our students that a teacher from their child’s school actually comes out to visit them on their turf,” said Anderson. “That in itself sends such a powerful message to the family.”
The home visits are a critical part to Anderson’s program because it allows him to develop a relationship with both his students and their families outside of the classroom. Students who feel that he truly cares about their agricultural endeavors will ultimately be more engaged in the classroom and the program as a whole.
Anderson is also a proponent of the Ag Experience Tracker, which allows him and his students to document and track data for their SAE projects. This online recordkeeping system provides him and his students an in-depth analysis of their SAE projects, which helps them improve and advance their projects with ease. As a teacher, he wants to be fully involved in his students’ projects and provide them with the best tools, resources, and information to help them be successful.
Wesley Anderson was named the 2017 NAAE Region III Teacher Mentor award recipient. This award program is sponsored by CEV Multimedia. For more information about the Teacher Mentor award category and to see the other regional award winners, follow this link.
This is a feature from the June 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.
As a NAAE member, a great benefit you have access to is Communities of Practice (CoP). This online portal is a professional networking website just for agriculture teachers. From lesson plans to discussion boards, CoP is a great resource to help you build your professional network and teacher toolbox.
If you haven’t accessed CoP before, or if it’s been a while, there are some great new resources available that you might want to be aware of.
First, make sure to check out the Urban Agriculture community. This page was developed by Dr. B. Allen Talbert, Professor, and Alli Lee, Graduate Assistant, of Purdue University as a part of a National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NFA) grant through the SPECA Challenge grant program. From soil lesson plans to content on microgreens, Urban Agriculture has numerous resources that can help you re-charge your plant science curriculum.
While you are browsing CoP, make sure to take a look at what is going on with the Virtual Book Club. A new professional development opportunity offered through NAAE, current and future ag teachers are able to engage with The Wild Card, while simultaneously earning up to 12 hours of professional development credit. Interested in signing up for the book club, but missed the June 11th deadline? Contact Katie Wood and she can help you register and catch up to the group!
Are you a new teacher? Hop on over to the New Teachers community and see what your peers have to say! Find some great interest approach ideas, compare curriculum, or just post a question – this space is a great way to connect with other new teachers who likely have the same questions you do.
These communities are just a few great resources available on Communities of Practice. There are so many more you need to check out to help build and revitalize your curriculum. The best part about CoP, though, is that it is FREE! You just have to take a few minutes to create your account and then all these resources are yours!
Ready to sign up? Click here to get started.
Need help with your login information, resetting your password, or re-activating your account? Contact Andrea Fristoe with your questions.
*Please note your Communities of Practice account is separate from your online NAAE website account.
This is a feature from the May 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link
Located 45 miles southwest of Chicago, Illinois, Joliet Junior College has a booming agriculture program for postsecondary students looking to obtain an associate’s degree or lay the foundation they need to transfer to a four-year institution. With over 80 agriculture course offerings, students are able to find their niche in agriculture, while they also gain valuable employability skills.
The college itself was the first public community college in the United States. It created the first postsecondary agriculture transfer program in Illinois in 1954 and the first two-year career agriculture program in 1964. The Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences department at Joliet Junior College currently has eight full-time faculty members, three adjunct faculty members, and three support staff members.
A unique opportunity that the Joliet Junior College agriculture program offers its students is an extensive Supervised Occupational Experience (SOE) program, which places them in paid internships that help them to complete 15 percent of their applied science degrees. The program involves nearly 150 businesses each year to provide its students with employment opportunities for their SOE’s. As part of this experience, the students have to complete job interviews, work full-time in their positions, and receive an evaluation from their employer. The students are actually required to complete two separate SOE’s while they are enrolled in the program in order to obtain their applied science degrees.
The first SOE is a summer internship program that lasts 10-14 weeks after the students complete their second semester of classes. The students have a database of over 1,500 potential employers and internship opportunities to choose from. The placements span 38 states and four additional countries. Each business has an established relationship with the agriculture program at Joliet Junior College and is willing to work closely with the students and staff to make sure all requirements are met for the students to earn their degrees.
“We believe this is the most effective method for students to learn not only skills, but also the positive attitudes which will contribute to their success in the future,” said Bill Johnson, former Agriculture Production and Swine Management Advisor at Joliet Junior College.
The second SOE program occurs during the students’ final semester and lasts 10 weeks. Typically, this position is with the same employer as the first SOE and the requirements are exactly the same. The benefit to this second opportunity is that most students are offered full-time employment from their internship immediately following graduation. Since the implementation of the SOE program began in 1966, the placement of Joliet Junior College graduates in full-time positions has been nearly 100 percent.
As the agriculture industry continues to evolve, it is imperative that institutions like Joliet Junior College continue to grow and produce students who are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to be competent in the workforce. The school’s mission is to provide students the opportunity to develop academically, personally, and socially as they prepare for lifelong learning. It is for this reason, and through the SOE program offered at Joliet Junior College, that they were named the 2017 NAAE Region IV Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Agricultural Education Program award winner.
The Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Agricultural Education Program award is sponsored by Monsanto as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. For more information about this award category and to see the other regional award winners, follow this link.
NAAE would like to express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the faculty and staff at Joliet Junior College and close friends and family of Bill Johnson, for his recent passing. We appreciate all of his contributions to agricultural education. He will be greatly missed by all.
This is a feature from the April 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.
Turkey Creek Middle School
Plant City, Florida
2017 NAAE Region V Outstanding Middle/Secondary Agricultural Education Program Award Recipient
If you have ever visited the Plant City area of Florida, you know strawberries play a vital role in the community. Each spring, the city hosts the Florida Strawberry Festival, which includes carnival rides, contests, concerts, and many other activities and events to celebrate the year’s strawberry harvest in Eastern Hillsborough County.
Located in the heart of strawberry country is Turkey Creek Middle School. Originally a “Strawberry School,” which closed for three months each spring for strawberry picking season, the middle school’s agriculture program has integrated the community and school’s rich and deeply-rooted history to feature a very unique learning environment for its students.
Turkey Creek Middle School has two agriculture teachers, Buddy Coleman and Allison Sparkman. Together, they are able to reach 230 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students through their program’s Strawberry Project. Coleman and Sparkman coordinate with local farmers and the community to provide their students with classroom and land laboratory experiences to learn about the cultivation of strawberries. The program is able to grow and harvest two acres of strawberries each year – providing students the opportunity to learn about strawberry farming from start to finish.
Coleman and Sparkman are able to use the Strawberry Project to teach students about modern agricultural practices in a hands-on setting. The students learn about drip irrigation and plastic mulch in the fall, as they form the strawberry beds and prepare the land for strawberries. The students are also introduced to GPS technology, as they set straight rows for their crop and plant their strawberries. Along the way, they also learn about plant structure, strawberry varieties, proper planting procedures, the impact of fertilizers, pest and invasive species management, and a host of other things that directly impact strawberries and other crops.
“If we can enable every child that we teach to think and act independently, then the students will be prepared to finish their education and become productive members of society,” said Sparkman.
In addition to the students learning about strawberry farming, they are also able to showcase what they have learned to the local community and to other students. Each year, the program hosts local kindergarten students for a field day, full of experiential learning. The students at Turkey Creek show the kindergarteners how to pick their own strawberries, identify plant parts, and discuss the impact of insects, weeds and diseases on the strawberry crop.
Each of our agriculture programs has a unique feature. It is essential that, as educators, we provide our students the opportunity to experience and engage in agriculture in the context of our local communities. What is your Strawberry Project?
Turkey Creek Middle School is the 2017 NAAE Region V Outstanding Middle/Secondary Agricultural Education Program award recipient. For more information about this award category and to see the other award winners, follow this link.
The Outstanding Middle/Secondary Agricultural Education program award is partially sponsored by Monsanto as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
A Message from our Partners, as part of News & Views:
Monsanto has been a long-time supporter of the National FFA Organization and we are proud to continue sponsorship of the DEKALB Agricultural Accomplishment Award in 2018. The DEKALB Ag Accomplishment Award showcases the abilities of outstanding agriculture students and is presented annually to one FFA student per chapter, who exemplifies scholarship, commitment and work ethic.
DEKALB is pleased to recognize these select students for their hard work, dedication and passion for pursuing a fulfilling career in agriculture. These students demonstrate promising young talent and are the rising stars of agriculture. Students can be nominated to receive this award by their FFA advisors beginning March 1st at DEKALB AgAccomplishment Award.
This is an article from the March 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.
Our students learn by doing. Hands-on classroom experiences are what set our agriculture programs apart from core content classes and keep our students coming back for more. For Tamara Whitcomb, agriculture teacher at Mount Baker High School, in Deming, Washington, providing students with experiential learning both in and out of the classroom is a crucial component of her program, as it contributes to the development of life and employability skills that will help her students succeed after high school.
Whitcomb has developed a comprehensive plant biology course which her students can take to fulfill a science credit at Mount. Baker. Students in this class gain vast knowledge and experiences with greenhouse management, plant anatomy, pest management, soil and fertilizer application, plant propagation, and landscaping. The skills they learn in each of these areas allow them to conduct a variety of vegetable research projects in the greenhouse, modify and maintain the school’s landscaping, and grow tomatoes that are harvested and used in the high school cafeteria’s menu.
After rigorous training in plant biology, Whitcomb’s students are able to take her ornamental horticu
lture class. This course is designed to transform the knowledge her students gain in plant biology into valuable life and employability skills. In this course, the students grow, manage, market, and sell the flowers, vegetables, and herbs for the annual Mount Baker spring plant sale. In addition to this, the students also maintain the school’s one-acre orchard. The orchard has a variety of apple, pear, plum, and cherry trees, as well as raspberry and blueberry crops. Since Whatcomb County is one of the nation’s leading raspberry and blueberry producers, it is essential that Whitcomb’s students learn the skills necessary for proper berry production.
Whitcomb developed her plant science curriculum because she saw the value and need for plant production skills and knowledge in her community. It is for this reason, she was named the 2017 NAAE Region I Outstanding Teacher of the Year award winner. This award program recognizes NAAE members who are at the pinnacle of their profession — those who are conducting the highest quality agricultural education programs. The award recognizes leadership in civic, community, agriculture/agribusiness and professional activities. Outstanding agricultural educators are innovators and catalysts for student success in agricultural education. Follow this link for more information about the award category, pictures, and press releases of all our outstanding teacher regional award winners at the 2017 NAAE Convention.
The Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher Award is sponsored by Caterpillar, Inc. and Tractor Supply Company as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.