California Department of Education Update, July 2020

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

Today, I truly believe that CHANGE is now the normal. Each time we move forward we find a new set of doors to select. Do we take the door with the ocean view? The door with Yosemite? The door with a classroom? The door with the farm? No matter which door we take, it is most certainly going to be a surprise when we pull it open.

In navigating the rooms that we leave, we can consider the problems we encountered and what we were not able to do. Or, we can find that silver lining and focus on what was accomplished. To this end, I want to take some time to be extremely thankful.

I am thankful that

  • I am in a profession that has dynamic individuals with creative minds.
  • Friends and colleagues continue to provide encouraging notes and calls.
  • Agriculture teachers took on the challenge and continued to provide opportunities for students.
  • FFA Chapters found ways to recognize student accomplishments through virtual banquets and elect new officers.
  • Community leaders stepped up and continued to support students and their supervised experience programs by developing online auctions.
  • I work with a staff that cares about the profession, cares about teachers, and makes every effort to do what is right for students.
  • I have a partner that listens without judgement to my many rants.
  • I am thankful that I chose to be an Agricultural Educator.

Looking at what I have to be thankful for provides me with the motivation to continue the fight. With a caring staff and teachers, I do not need an energy drink, their supportive comments and guidance allows me to rise each morning with a zeal for life.

Now, I realize that the world is not filled with happy faces. Yes, we most certainly need to address some difficult issues. We must have deep conversations where we can become vulnerable, consider others opinions, and make compromises.  

What are we doing in the coming weeks? Hopefully working to meet whatever is behind the next door we open. Some items currently at the top of the to-do list include: 

  1. A committee to develop recommendations for revisions to the Agricultural Incentive Grant.
  2. A task force on Inclusion and Diversity looking at how Agricultural Education can be a leader.
  3. Staff reviewing the fall semester schedule for State Officers and programs to meet the needs of the students.
  4. Local schools trying to figure out what the future classroom looks like and how to reopen schools.
  5. National FFA releasing details on how they will deliver a virtual National Convention with workshops, a Blue Room, speakers, concerts, business sessions, an Expo, and much more.

Moving forward we need to ask tough questions, hold each other accountable, and be ready for what lies behind the next door we open. So, are you prepared to open a door that lies in front of you?

Enjoy what is your summer break and stay prepared for what comes next…

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

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