California Department of Education Update, December 2019

By: Charles Parker, California Department of Education, State FFA Advisor

Thanksgiving, a time of reflection and celebration. During the brief break from work, I had the opportunity to join family in eating way more than we should and enjoying conversation that seems to never occur. Time was also available to reflect on the past few months and to think ahead to the coming weeks.

I am not sure what has changed, but navigating the hiring process this time has been almost enjoyable. Each step has proceeded with what I would refer to as the speed of light. In early December, we conducted interviews to fill the North Coast Region Supervisor position. With any luck we hope to have a new person on staff in early January.

I want to publicly thank the State Staff for taking on additional duties over the past few months. Without hesitation, each staff member showed why they are part of this team, displaying an eagerness to help and move forward. It was during my reflective time, that I was able to fully appreciate the individuals I get to work with each and every day. What they do for teachers and students cannot be measured.

In the coming weeks, we will begin to receive a myriad of applications. It is this process that will allow your students and your programs to receive the recognition they deserve. Remind your students about scholarship applications. Seek out those that have outstanding SAE projects and encourage them to complete a proficiency award application. Look at AET and confirm those students that should be pushed to achieve the State FFA Degree. Complete those nominations for Star Administrator, Star Counselor, and Star Supporting Staff Member. And, don’t forget to complete the new Golden Owl Award application for yourself or neighboring agriculture teacher who is doing an outstanding job.

You should have received an email from Mr. Patton regarding the comment time for the Perkins V State Plan application. It is important that teachers, students, administrators, parents, and industry partners submit their comments. In the latest draft, those items we hold close to our heart have been included. However, we cannot assume that without comment they will remain. If a few vocal groups comment on the need to eliminate CTSO’s, and there are not any comments in support, then they could be removed from the Perkins V application. Take a few moments and complete the feedback form to ensure our priorities remain. 

In our comments, we are highlighting the need to have a CTSO, which is aligned with the pathway being offered. We are also concerned about industry engagement and the use of advisory committees. A third objective is ensuring that those wishing to be a CTE teacher have the proper credential and practical experience necessary to be successful. Finally, the measurement tool that has been selected for all programs to address is dual credit. This is a quality measure of program success, but is it the right measurement. What about using work-based learning as a measurement? We talk about the importance of career readiness and engaging more students in experiential learning so that they have the skills necessary to be successful. These are but a few topics that we hope are part of the Perkins V plan.

I am thankful for the family and friends that I have who are there when I need a push, an encouraging word or simply a smile. As we through December, I want to wish each of you a wonderful Christmas in hopes that you unwrap the gift you have always dreamed of. May you spend the holiday season with family and friends. Before we know it, 2020 will have arrived!

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit

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