By: Charles Parker, California Department of Education State FFA Advisor
As I sit here in my cubicle, staring at the computer screen, I wonder what will be next! I can most certainly share that in the short eight months in this position, I have realized that I know much less than I thought, and I continually find myself navigating through the challenges.
Knowing that I work with a group of talented individuals who care for agricultural education and the students we serve enables me to think beyond the “issues” that have come up and look to the future. Thank you to those that have embraced our new team, made those tough calls, and continue to seek out ways to help.
As we enter the winter months, what used to be the slow time for agriculture teachers is now the busy time. We find ourselves busy attending professional development workshops and working with our students in completing a myriad of applications. From State Degree to Proficiency to Stars, this is a time where we get to help students receive recognition for their time outside of the classroom, where they are conducting their experiential learning through their SAE’s.
AET has provided a tool which has helped students in completing those applications. As our understanding and use of AET grows, so will the number of students who are receiving recognition. But the recognition goes beyond the application, where some schools showcase their SAEs through a science fair display board approach. Every student in the program develops a visual display which they proudly showcase at a venue where teachers, administrators, industry partners, parents and students see and value what the students are able to accomplish. Using pictures and stories, the students share their hands-on experiences highlighting their garden, science experiment, ag mechanics project and livestock, among others.
If our goal is for every student to have an SAE, then what better way to show value than by making the SAEs a focus point for the school and community? This is but one way to highlight SAEs in your local program. I am certain there are many other methods. What are you doing? How have your numbers in SAEs grown? Take some time to share with others what you are doing, send in pictures that we can add to our social media pages and join us in creating an environment where every student has an SAE.
- What’s Up with Funding?
Not only do we get to help students, but we also have a unique opportunity to help our programs as well. With the funding provided by the State Legislature for CTE, we are in a position to make positive changes that can impact our programs for years.
The State’s Perkins V Plan is due to the federal government by April 2020. These funds help local programs as well as maintain funding for State Staff. With the Perkins V Plan, the State will also be developing a State Plan for CTE. This CTE State Plan will be the guiding document for all future funding, both Federal and State.
There are some in the system who want to leave the decision regarding credentials to the local board. Those same individuals see little value in CTSOs (FFA). And, there is little mention of industry engagement. If we value credentials, FFA and advisory committees, then we will need to become part of the process.
In the coming weeks, there will be opportunities to provide public input towards the development of the Perkins Application and the State CTE Plan. Teachers, administrators, industry partners, students and parents all need to take the time to call in, write letters, submit emails or attend public meetings.
Perkins public input can be provided on
- November 13 at a Public Meeting in Sacramento
- November 20-22 at the Association of Career and College Readiness Organizations (CAROCP) CTE Conference in Rancho Cucamonga.
- December 2 at a Public Meeting in Orange County
- December 11-13 at the Joint Special Populations Advisory Committee (JSPAC) Conference
In addition, input can be provided via email during November. Be observant and wait for details from Mr. Patton and CATA as they will help with speaking points.
In addition to Perkins, there are other funding opportunities available to help local CTE programs. To help you in navigating the funding options and be in a position to work with your local district to leverage funds for your program, the following deadlines are being provided.
November 15, 2019 – CTEIG Applications Due
December 2, 2019 – Prop 51 Applications Due
December 18, 2019 – K-12 Strong Workforce Applications Due
Having your five year acquisition schedule is more important now than at almost any other time. Working with your local advisory committee in developing the schedule can be the initial step in ensuring that funds are available for your program.
I am hopeful that with the funding options, your program will prosper and your students will have the latest technology available.
- State Staff Update
As we head into November, we once again find ourselves developing a plan to meet the needs of Agricultural Education and California FFA while beginning the search to find an outstanding teacher who wishes to join State Staff and become part of a quality team. I want to extend my gratitude to Josiah Mayfield for his leadership for the past eleven years and wish him the best in his future endeavors.
Having looked at the existing staff and their strengths, Dane White has agreed to serve as the Assistant State FFA Advisor. With Dane’s move to this new role, it opens up the North Coast Region Supervisor position, which will be stationed in Sacramento.
If you have ever thought of serving on State Staff, now is the time to pursue that goal. To be eligible, an individual must take a test and be ranked. This is really not a test, but an application where you answer some questions regarding your experiences. Those interested should complete the test (application) by November 20 so that they may be ranked prior to December 1.
Returning back to my computer screen, I notice a stream of incoming emails and realize it is once again time to answer those difficult questions, accept the meeting requests and be prepared to jump on the upcoming conference call. All of this is done with a smile as I am a lucky man, working in a career that I love and with people that I admire.
For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/