California Department of Education Update, February 2020

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

Opportunities are Coming

Advanced Leadership Academy, Chapter Meetings, Sectional CATA Meeting, Mentoring Conference, project visits, judging team practice, AET and yes, award applications! And I was just assigned to chaperone the Winter Homecoming Dance.

Oh, I almost forgot, the principal is asking for my lesson plans for tomorrow and to top it off, my two kids and caring spouse are at home waiting to see me in the daylight so that I can mow the pasture (I mean the front lawn) and repair the roof before the next rain storm.

As agriculture teachers, you do an outstanding job and do not get the credit you deserve. Other teachers give you that quick look that asks “are you crazy?” while administrators don’t care what you do as long as you make them look good. And yes, State Staff seems to always add another report or activity to that already overbooked schedule.

A long time ago, I would pray each night that a day be 26 hours or that we have eight days a week. Fortunately, my prayers were never answered. The thought was: “give me more time and I can do all things.” The real truth is that I enjoy the busy days and sleepless nights. It is what an agriculture teacher does.

Whenever we add something to our schedule, such as a new team or even helping coach a little league team, we never remove anything from the calendar. In 2021, the State FFA Leadership Conference will move to March. This move will of course impact judging events throughout the state. Many qualifiers, especially for the leadership events, will move up in the calendar. These changes, at first glance, will result in the month of April with open dates.

No, that can’t be possible, a free weekend! Of course not – we will simply add more jackpot shows or possibly more field days. It is what we do, engage more students in activities that allow them to display what they have learned in and out of the classroom.

As you begin to plan for 2020-2021, keep in mind the choice is up to you, you can add more to your already full schedule, or you can elect to use time for your personal interests. The good thing, there is no right or wrong answer, there is only that solution that best fits you.

Well, for me it is time to get back to that mandated report the 5th floor is expecting and juggle the return call with an overzealous parent. But, I will be smiling for I do love what I do and who I get to work with. Onward and upward!

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

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