California FFA Hires New Leadership Development Coordinator

The California Association FFA is pleased to announce the hiring of Jasmine Flores as the Leadership Development Coordinator. Ms. Flores is a graduate of California State University, Fresno where she majored in Agricultural Communications.

Ms. Flores brings with her a wealth of experiences as a team facilitator and team leader in the Integrated Leadership Continuum. She was part of the team that evaluated and revised the Made for Excellence curriculum and was the staff lead in managing the arena at the 2022 State FFA Leadership Conference.

Ms. Flores will work hand-in-hand with the State Agricultural Education Staff and FFA Center Staff in delivering quality Greenhand Leadership Conferences, Made for Excellence Conferences, Advanced Leadership Academies and the Sacramento Leadership Experience. As a former State FFA Officer, Ms. Flores understands how important it is to provide foundational experiences for students to learn leadership skills and grow as individuals.

We are excited to have an individual with the skill set and enthusiasm that Ms. Flores has joining our team and look forward to her leadership in her new role. Please join with us in welcoming Ms. Jasmine Flores to our Agricultural Education and FFA families.

Spanish FFA Creed Speaking Contest: A Latino Perspective

By: Francesca Carrillo, Student Teacher at Nipomo High School

The addition of the Spanish FFA Creed as an official Leadership Development Event is gaining traction among states with a high proportion of Spanish-speaking FFA members. After hearing a lot of discussion among teachers representing a wide range of views, I wanted to share my own opinion about the value of establishing a Spanish FFA Creed Speaking contest at the local and state level.

One of the points that came up about the Spanish Creed during the CATA Meeting on February 28th was that students can already compete in the FFA Creed competition in Spanish if they choose to. While this is true, not very many students compete in Spanish or other languages because of the limitation for fair consideration. When a student participates in the FFA Creed and competes in Spanish there are not always native Spanish-speaking judges available. I think that the Spanish FFA Creed will provide a means of representation that Spanish speaking students don’t have currently in FFA. 

Having the Spanish Creed be its own separate competition would allow Spanish speaking FFA members to feel like they have a place in the great organization of FFA. It would give students the opportunity to compete and participate in a public speaking event that really gets students into the door of competing in FFA. The representation would also be there for them as well, by having judges who speak Spanish and being asked questions in Spanish. These students will also see themselves being represented by the individuals coaching the Spanish Creed at their school.

Representation is one of the many reasons I decided to become a teacher in general. I want to be the person I never saw growing up. When I was in school the only teachers I ever saw that looked like me were Spanish Language teachers. I want to be that difference when I become an Agriculture Teacher and be the person I never saw growing up. Especially in the world of agriculture I want all students to know the many opportunities there are in the agriculture industry. Specifically in Latino culture many parents don’t want their children involved in agriculture at all because they think they will just grow up to be a field worker. My hope as a future educator in agriculture is to change that mindset. I hope my students and their parents will see me and understand that there are many careers in agriculture that will help young people fulfill their passions and be successful.

I did not grow up with an agriculture background and my own parents are not involved in agriculture in any way. When I told them I wanted a career in agriculture other than being a veterinarian they were skeptical and did not understand how I could be successful. After much explaining of why becoming a teacher in agriculture was so important, my parents understood and I was able to teach them things about agriculture that they never understood before. 

I hope that as a newly-credentialed agriculture teacher, I can be a coach for the Spanish  FFA Creed Speaking contest. I hope I can encourage students that they will have a place in FFA no matter where they come from or what language they speak. Truly, I think that the Spanish Creed as a separate competition will open so many doors for so many different students to be a part of an organization that will give them lifelong opportunities.

A video of the Spanish FFA Creed produced by the National FFA Organization.

Creating a Self-Sustaining Horticulture Facility

By: Matthew Smith, Teacher, Sequoia High School

Ornamental horticulture is a very beneficial course for students’ scientific exploration. It connects life science, biology, climate, environment, art and even business to real life applications. These are critical skills for students to connect in-class scientific theory to real life designs in their own landscapes, or even turn these skills into a business/career.

There are a number of challenges to successfully operating a horticulture facility. One roadblock is facilities and/or funding for the program. There will be various start-up costs but if you run your horticulture program as a nursery business, your program will grow quickly and students will begin to see the returns as well. As with any business, you must consider your product to be sold, resources that you have available for the program, and how to sell your product. The main goal is to create a self-sustaining horticulture program where students can learn by doing and gain valuable hands-on experience through real life application. 

Resources for the horticulture program range from your advisory committee, to your industry partners, and the resources that you build into your program facility. Building your program is going to rely on help from your admin, grounds keepers, and custodians, in addition to industry/community support and student participation. The teacher will be the driving factor in facilitating all of this because you have the knowledge and skills to put this together to work for your program. Designing your landscape to be a functional aspect of your program is critical. Using your industry connections to accumulate various plants to use in your design can help you start and sustain your program through propagation. These industry connections and your advisory committee can also be used to help design a self-sustaining horticulture facility. I recommend using these connections to build your program to the size of the space you have on campus. Start small and build your way up to a functional self-sustaining facility. From here, some programs are fortunate enough to build full scale farms and nursery facilities that are run and sustained by hands-on student participation and self-sustaining facility designs. 

In a horticulture class your product is the easy part to figure out—plants! However, producing the product is a completely different task depending on donations, resources, facilities and student and teacher skills. Let’s face it, sometimes a green thumb is helpful but don’t let this be a hindrance to knowledge. With the right facilities such as a greenhouse, shade house, or even a shaded area at your school you can propagate various house plants and landscaping plants with cuttings from mother stock. At Sequoia HS (Merced) I’m lucky enough to have all of these things at my disposal to propagate plants. Growing vegetable seeds also creates plants that can be sold at a plant sale. However, common landscaping plants such as lavender, rosemary, lantana, various herbs, and even tall grass shrubs are great for propagating with students at a low cost. Using multiple rooting hormones (ex. Hormex, Honey, cinnamon, aloe-vera, aspirin) to propagate these plants can be presented using the scientific method with students. Turning this into a lab project is a great way to show students how plant anatomy grows with explanations of meristematic tissues and growth zones. In turn, your students have gained long lasting plant knowledge using hands-on skills while creating a self-sustaining supply of plants that can be sold.  

Once you have accumulated the space, support, and materials needed to produce your product, it’s time to sell the product. Most schools have one major factor working in favor of plant sales—location. Most schools are placed in common areas that are easily accessible by the public making advertising fairly easy. Advertising is important for your plant sale as “people that know will show” to your sale. More traffic will account for more sales typically. By collaborating with other pathways and/or incentivizing student participation in a Horticulture Club with FFA/SAE credit, you can garner students support for advertising and marketing your sale. Also the use of social media can help boost advertising and attract support for your program. Advice from colleagues in my district has been to plan, set a date(s), and run with it no matter the type of support. Over time the work itself will be a selling factor for industry support and student participation. Growth of your plant sale will build over time with consistency and quality. Something also to consider is keeping prices lower than a commercial nursery or landscaping operation. At the end of the day, this is a school activity and gouging your customers isn’t going to make repeat customers. Your school’s plant sale will serve to fund your program costs, fund part of next year’s materials, build your facility and further build industry support. Overall this is for students to gain hands-on experience in business and marketing while utilizing scientific theories of plants through self-sustaining program resources. 

A plant sale is a great resource for students to practice hands-on skills with self-sustaining resources while generating funds for your horticulture program. Overall, building your horticulture program serves to build student skills in horticulture, landscaping, and nursery management that translate into future careers and/or post-secondary education. These are valuable skills that reinforce scientific theory and business management skills in students. Ultimately, the agriculture teacher can make the most impact on students by building a self-sustaining horticulture program for students to build valuable hands-on skills.

Sacramento Scene: Change on the Horizon

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

May is an active time in the state’s Capitol. The “May Revise,” a modified proposed budget composed using current revenues, will be released by the Governor on or before May 14th. Legislative subcommittees have approximately two weeks to consider the proposed changes to the budget and negotiate its contents. Additionally, the movement of bills increases in the legislature as the June deadline for passage looms closer. 

These are intriguing times around the Capitol. The focus has moved away from the pandemic and is now focused on the volatile economy. In addition, a large group of legislators is readying to leave the building as they have termed out or are not seeking re-election. The June 7th Special General Elections and Primaries are on the horizon. Additionally, campaigning for the November 8th General Election is heating up.

Below is a list of bills tracked by CATA that relate directly to agricultural and career technical education. As these bills move, CATA supports those beneficial to the profession and opposes those that are detrimental. These actions of support and opposition take the form of meeting with legislative members and staff, written and oral testimonies at hearings, and working with other like-minded advocates toward a shared outcome.

Current Bills of Interest

AB 2044 (O’Donnell) – An act to amend the Education Code relating to career technical education classes and graduation requirements. Currently, the statute in the Education Code allows high school students to use Career Technical Education (CTE) courses to meet graduation requirements. Passage of this bill would extend this statute for another five years.  

AB 2058 (O’Donnell) – Career Technical Education Incentive Grant (CTEIG) Programs and Strong Work Force Program consolidation. This bill would consolidate Strong Work Force Program funding if passed, making the CTEIG allocation $450 million annually. Funding would be available in the 2022-23 fiscal year. 

AB 2617 (Holden) – Dual Enrollment Programs: Competitive Grant. This bill would appropriate $500,000 in a competitive grant program to start up middle college or early college high schools that promote dual enrollment.

AB 2088 (Copper) – Career technical education: California Pilot Paid Internship Program. This program would establish the California Pilot Paid Internship Program, which allocates $575 million to the California Department of Education to provide grants that establish or expand public-private paid internship programs for students. 

SB 871 (Pan) – Public health: immunizations. This bill, if enacted, would add COVID-19 vaccinations to the list of required immunizations needed to attend public or private elementary or secondary schools. The author has put this bill on hold. This hold shelves the bill, and it will no longer progress through the legislative process.

Other Governmental Actions

COVID-19 Vaccine requirements for California Schools has been postponed  The California Public Health department announced that COVID-19 vaccines will not be required for students during the 2022-2023 school year.  This action has been postponed to be revisited for 2024. 

Empowering Others

By: John Williams, CATA Secretary

In my last article, I expressed the need for the members of our association to speak up and say what is on their mind. After some reflection, I thought it would be good to talk about empowerment and what we can do to help each other speak up and encourage each other to serve. I understand that this is not easy for many of those in our profession. As we enter our careers, we hear names of teachers who have been in the profession for many years, and early on I remember feeling intimidated by experienced teachers serving in leadership roles. In many ways it seemed easier to let experienced teachers do all of the talking, leading and serving. In my first job as a teacher, I had the privilege of working alongside a an experienced teacher who had high expectations for our department, and expected us to step up and serve outside of our campus and chapter. She was the person who encouraged me to run for section office and nominated me for my position. This type of encouragement and mentorship enabled me to continue to serve CATA through the operation division, region office, and now as a state officer. This is just one example of how an individual can empower someone else to serve the teachers in our association and not be afraid to speak up when needed. 

Our association has hit a flat spot. Flat spots are nice—there is no resistance, however complacency may become an easy attitude to have for those who are in leadership roles. I am not saying we all need to rise up and do a complete makeover, but there are definite changes that need to be made to our profession to address teacher retention, home/work balance, and how we maintain a growing organization—not just in teacher numbers, but in moral, leadership and organizational change. How does this happen if we are in a flat spot? It is up to the members to take on new roles and bring in new ideas. We have an opportunity to really do great things in our profession moving forward. Society may be in shambles, but the great thing about the CATA is the ability to problem solve and move forward and ultimately move on from a very painful pandemic induced coma on our lives. I guess the question is, how?

We have a very large population of teachers in their first ten years of their career. Statistically, we tend to lose teachers around years five through seven. I do not have an answer to this turnover, but keep in mind this is a prevalent issue for all educators—not just agriculture teachers. Those teachers who have been in the profession longer than ten years now have a huge opportunity and responsibility. The opportunity to mentor, encourage and empower our younger teachers. When we go to region meetings and the “old dogs” tend to be the most vocal, it can be intimidating. Take a moment at those meetings and introduce yourself to the next generation. It is our responsibility to make sure these young teachers feel welcomed and in an environment where they can speak their piece, ask questions, and have an opportunity to learn. I am guilty of assumption, I tend to assume all agriculture teachers know the curricular code, where to find information on AIG, or other things that come with experience—that is wrong on my part. I have to remind myself that I had great mentors that helped me along the way and many new teachers may not be as lucky as I was. It is our responsibility to empower these new teachers and give them a voice because the future of our profession is relying on us. 

The CATA is a dysfunctional family. I do not say that in a bad way, all families have issues just as our association does and we are allowed to be dysfunctional as long as we continue to address the important issues and move forward. I enjoy the “family” aspect of the profession. The fun part is that even when we do not agree with someone else, we can address our issues and still be at another event enjoying each other’s company. This brings me into the next aspect of this article: we need to stop taking things so personally. It is great that we have passion in what we are doing, but we cannot allow that passion to overcome our abilities to think and see the other perspective. We might not agree on everything, but our ultimate goal is student success. It helps to remember that the other person has the same goals in mind as you do. When we can see things from a different lens it allows us to see the whole problem and gain a better understanding of all parties. Agriculture teachers tend to lean on one side and can be narrow minded, but at a section/region/state activity our commitment to listening and understanding each other can help broaden our perspective. When we can understand one another better, we are able to become empowered to work through an issue. 

For the young/new teachers: welcome to the family! You may not feel your voice is heard and it might not be yet. I challenge you to meet and get to know some of the seasoned teachers. The best place to do this is at the social parts of our conferences and meetings. Sit down next to a teacher who has been in the profession for 15-20-25 years, ask them what it was like when they first started teaching. The stories you will hear will be memorable, but what you get out of it will last your career. If you do this once or twice a year/semester soon those individuals will reach out to you or be incredibly open to sharing information, curriculum and help in general. In my brief 13 years of teaching, I have never once been turned away from a conversation from a seasoned teacher. The times I chose not to reach out are the missed opportunities I have had in this profession. Coming into this profession is a challenge, keeping up with all of the expectations of being a teacher can seem impossible, but remember every teacher in this profession has gone through some kind of adversity and when you realize you are not alone, you will better understand why the older teachers tend to speak out more. 

Some things to consider as we finish this school year: summer conference is right around the corner and is in-person for the first time since 2019. If you are a teacher who has been teaching at least 10 years, try to make a new friend, reach out to the younger teachers, and use this opportunity to teach them about the CATA organization and its value in education. Those of you teaching 10 years or less and are in need of help or have questions, take this opportunity at Cal Poly in June to also make a new friend, listen to some old stories, learn about the organization and gain a resource of individuals who want to help you succeed. There are multiple social events at the end of each day to allow for this to happen. I have many mentors and I have become a mentor to many as well—can you say the same? This year we have much to celebrate as an organization. Take some time to celebrate completing this year, catch up with people you have not seen in multiple years, and try to find a way to feel empowered. When you take the initiative, you will grow as a leader and may even become a mentor or gain a mentor. Hope you all have a great end of your school year, I look forward to seeing you all at Cal Poly in June.

Department of Education Update: State Conference Reflections

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

As I sit here I can’t help but think back to last week when we welcomed some 6,000 FFA members, advisors, and guests to Sacramento for the 94th Annual State FFA Leadership Conference. After two years of alternative conferences, it was exciting to once again have an in-person event. 

As I stood in the back of the arena prior to the opening session, I could not help but reflect on what we had missed the past two years. Most certainly as I looked around the arena, I could not help but become a bit emotional.

Even being in a position to meet in Sacramento was a team effort. The many meetings, conversations, and changes that have occurred in the past few months were important in putting together the 2022 conference. There was more than one occasion when I was not sure if we would be able to meet at all.

The conference itself was the result of a total team effort. With that in mind, I want to extend my sincere thanks to the many individuals who joined in the planning and delivery of the 2022 State Conference. 

First, a BIG thank you to the teachers who, under unusual circumstances, trusted that we were doing everything we could to pull off the annual celebration of California FFA. It seemed that each week new details were shared that changed what was being planned. Teachers asked questions and served as the conduit for information. We appreciate the support and comments. What teachers accomplished in the past few months is a testament to their fortitude. I am forever grateful for the work agriculture teachers do.

Mr. Mooney put together an arena staff that worked well together to ensure that the sessions were run efficiently and that members and honorees were recognized in a professional manner. Working two jobs for much of the year, Mr. Mooney delivered a State Leadership Conference in a new venue that made us all proud. His leadership with the State FFA Officers was evidenced by their performance both on and off the stage. Thank you is most certainly not enough to show how appreciative we are of the work he has done.

However, Mr. Mooney was not the only individual who went beyond their normal work to help in the delivery of the conference. Taline, Sarah and Jennifer from Mosaic were instrumental in us being in a position to even have an in-person event. Their continued belief in what we do was heartwarming. I appreciate their guidance through the many steps as we navigated the ever-changing health and safety requirements.

Toosje Koll and the FFA Foundation Board were with us at every turn. They were instrumental in finding volunteers to help in a myriad of events. In addition, their commitment to the program was evident by their continued success in finding donors so that we could provide awards, industry tours, and a career expo. So often the FFA Foundation is behind the scenes providing what is needed. We are thankful that they are there to support our students and programs.

It should also be noted that the FFA Center staff of Trisha, Kerry, Maria, Jennifer, Cari, Maureen, and Matt were there every step of the way. We are very thankful for the numerous hours they shared both before and during the annual conference. They are a remarkable group and one that I am glad is on our team.

To Jasmine, Roman, Genevieve, Serena, and the rest of the support crew that operated behind the scenes, THANK YOU for taking time from your “real work” to help in pulling off this unique celebration. We know that without this group of dedicated individuals, the sessions would not have even happened. This group returning to help is a showcase of the quality of individuals that we have the privilege to work with.

I also want to express my appreciation to my staff. Jill, JessaLee, Jackie, Shay, Greg, and Hugh have taken on many new assignments over the past few months, worked exceptionally hard in meeting the many new deadlines, and guided the many aspects of the conference. Even in tough times, they continued to support our goals and push us through to the finish line. I could not ask for a more selfless and dedicated group of individuals. I am truly honored to be able to work with and spend time with each one of these outstanding individuals.

Finally, to those that are not mentioned, and there are many of them, we know it takes a village to pull off an event of this size. I wish I could list every name to share just how broad the support was. We thank you for making the sacrifices to be part of our extravaganza.

I sincerely hope that everyone knows just how much we appreciate them and value their contribution. In the end, I trust that they will accept my simple thank you as a symbol of my gratitude.

THANK YOU!

Scorecards and Career Development Events

The Need for Transition 

The California Agricultural Teachers’ Association (CATA) owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Dr. Mike Spiess of Chico State University for developing a field day-specific tabulation system that has been used for decades for Career Development Events (CDE). The system was developed in the ’90s and has been updated since that time by Dr. Spiess. Far before his retirement in 2018, Dr. Spiess warned the profession that a long-term tabulations plan would be needed moving forward. He would tell anyone who would listen that he wouldn’t be around or running the system forever.

Finding a long-term sustainable tabulation program became a priority to maintain and support tabulations for CDE events moving forward. In 2017, discussion and research began to identify the path ahead for the tabulation of CDE events in California.

Why JudgingCard

JudgingCard was identified as the best alternative for the current tabulation system for the following reasons:

  • The National FFA and many other large states (Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Missouri, etc.) use JudgingCard for CDE Finals.
  • The JudgingCard system also includes a registration system that eliminates contest hosts from having to collect fees and track down delinquent payments.
  • JudgingCard works in conjunction with AET and has the capability to upload results directly to student record books after CDE events.
  • Being a national company JudgingCard is continuously updating and evolving.  
  • The staff at JudgingCard is very responsive and easy to work with.

Scorecards and the Curricular Code 

The General Rules section of the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association Curricular Code is specific to the scorecards used at State Final Career Development Events. The Curricular Code states that the scorecards to be used for state finals contests must be posted 30 days before the state finals event. The code also indicates that this posting of scorecards will supersede any samples found in the specific event rules.

The information below referring to scorecards is in the Curricular Code Introduction Section II subsection H:

Contest scorecards to be completed by contestants used for all state finals contests will be posted on the web at least 30 days prior to the date of the event. Directions as to how the cards should be marked are encouraged. Such posting will supersede any samples found in specific event rules. Common standardized forms such as those created by Scantron may be referenced by name”.

CATA Executive Committee 

In January, the CATA Executive Committee put out a recommendation related to scorecards for the 2022 State Finals CDE contests. The recommendation included the following: “The CATA Executive Committee recommends that Career Development Events (CDE) State Finals sites can choose to use the system of scoring they are most comfortable using for the 2022 CDE competition year, JudgingCard or the previous Microsoft Access System. For consistency, the Executive Committee also recommended that State Finals CDE choosing to use the JudgingCard system use the same scorecards used in the Chico State Judging Field Day.”

The Executive Committee noted that it was essential to give CDE State Finals host autonomy to select the scorecard that best fits their situation. Therefore, all CDE State Finals hosts have or will use a combination of JudgingCard and the Access System for tabulations.

Thank you to our CDE contest hosts! 

Much appreciation goes out to the high schools, community colleges, and universities that have hosted contests and field days. Many of them have taken on the challenge of learning a new system and done the prep work and training to use the JudgingCard system where applicable. Anything new takes time, resources, and patience to implement. CATA is very grateful for all the hard work before and during a contest put forth by hosts. The extra time needed to learn JudgingCard for many of those contests was substantial.

Change always involves a learning curve, and moving to the JudgingCard System will undoubtedly come with some bumps in the road. There will be a transition period similar to the one endured when moving to the Dr. Spiess Microsoft Access System. The principle of grace and gratitude should guide us during this transition.

Superior Region News

By Cali Griffin, Loyalton High School

Howdy everyone from the Superior Region! Programs are in full swing, running up and down the state, busy as ever, along with several programs that have been rebuilding their programs.

South Lindhurst High School will be participating as a test site for a Water Diversion unit that was created through the Yuba Water Agency. They are very excited to be working with several other schools to work through this curriculum and help to develop it more. It is focused on drought in California as well as getting to know our local watershed (Bullards Bar). The kids will be learning through engineering practices and developing solutions for the current dam to be a better source of flood control. At the end of the unit, the kids will also get to go to Bullards Bar and explore and learn about the dam and the watershed through a hands-on field trip. 

Hannah Wrenn was hired in August to restart the Quincy High School FFA program. Since starting the program she has had taught several periods of junior high students who are eager for their freshman year so they can be a part of the FFA. She also has an officer team full of go-getters who have really put in the time to get their chapter started. The high school classes are: Natural Resources, Greenhouse, and Agriscience. The Quincy High School students have been eager to get out and compete, and they show an eagerness to experience new things after the last few years of being affected by the pandemic. Prior to being hired at Quincy High School, Hannah earned her bachelor’s degree from California State University, Chico, and then taught at Red Bluff High School for the 2020-2021 school year. 

Alex Whitney was welcomed to Lassen High school in the fall of 2020. Originally from Fall River and TCU, Alex is teaching sustainable agricultural biology, floral design, and greenhouse. Alex coaches Novice Parliamentary Procedure, Creed, Job Interview, Floral, and Opening and Closing. Alex has been an eager and exciting addition to the program. 

In retirement, Holly Egan has been working with Chico State to mentor student teachers in the credential program. You have probably seen her the last two years on various high school campuses helping to ensure our new teachers are set up for success. Holly coached the state-winning vegetable crop team last year and is coaching Susanville FFA’s Floriculture team this year. Next year, she will be completely retired!

The Superior Region CATA had two Teachers of Excellence! Way to go Superior Region. Caroline (Cali) Griffin from Loyalton High School and Stacey McWilliams Dutra from Yuba City High School. Way to go, gals! The Teacher of Excellence Award is a prestigious award that is given to someone who has been teaching for over ten years, has a strong involvement in professional activities, has helped multiple students, and who has improved their program with innovative instructional techniques. 

Certifications:

Through iCEV, the following certifications are available to your students this spring: 

  • AMSA Culinary Meat Selection & Cookery
  • AMSA Food Safety & Science
  • AMSA Meat Evaluation
  • BASF Plant Science
  • Benz School of Floral Design Principles of Floral Design
  • Center for Financial Responsibility Personal Financial Literacy
  • Ducks Unlimited Ecology Conservation & Management
  • EETC Principles of Small Engine Technology
  • Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science
  • Elanco Veterinary Medical Applications
  • Express Employment Professionals Career Preparedness
  • HBAA Residential Construction Skills
  • National Horse Judging Team Coaches Association Equine Management & Evaluation
  • NCLCA Principles of Livestock Selection & Evaluation
  • Southwest Airlines Professional Communications.

AgAlign Tier 1 Certifications will be utilized by many of our Superior Region programs including ag mechanics, biology, chemistry, and floriculture. The platform through AET will be a first and we look forward to having our students get closer to being certified and going into the work world.

Sacramento Scene: Significant Months Ahead

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

Term limits, redistricting, and numerous political opportunities outside the state capitol have prompted the exit, or planned exit, of a decade-high number of legislators this year. 26 assembly members and state senators have opted not to run in November or have already left their offices. Added to that number are seven senate members that will term out in 2022.

Currently, four vacant assembly seats will be filled with a specialized April Election, and Assemblymember Fong of Los Angeles was elected on February 15 in a similar special election. 

Among these lawmakers exiting the capitol are many friends of agricultural education. Assemblymember O’Donnell, Education Chair and champion of Career Technical Education (CTE), has plans to return to the classroom to teach Civics. Former Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes of Rancho Mirage may run for Congress. Andreas Borgeas, a Republican from Fresno, and Jordan Cunningham of San Luis Obispo will not seek another term. Adam Gray, the Assemblymember from Merced, is running for Congress, and Jim Cooper from Elk Grove is running for Sacramento Sheriff. Assemblymember Frank Bigelow from Madera is also not seeking reelection. Those are just a few of our friends that have or will leave the state capitol. After the November election of the 120 legislators in California, 33 will be new.

Several of the lawmakers mentioned above are trying to finalize their legislative priorities before exiting the capitol. Some of the bills below are authored by departing lawmakers pushing final agendas. All the below bills that will have impacts on agricultural and CTE education are being tracked by CATA.

AB 2058 (O’Donnell)  – Career Technical Education Incentive Grant (CTEIG) Programs and Strong Work Force Program Consolidation. If passed this bill would consolidate Strong Work Force Program funding, making the CTEIG allocation $450 million annually. Funding would be available in the 2022-23 fiscal year. 

AB 2617 (Holden) – Dual Enrollment Programs: Competitive Grant. If enacted, this bill would appropriate $500,000 in a competitive grant program to start-up middle college or early college high schools that promote dual enrollment. 

AB 2088 (Copper) – Career technical education: California Pilot Paid Internship Program. This program would establish the California Pilot Paid Internship Program, which allocates $575 million to the California Department of Education, to provide grants that establish or expand public-private paid internship programs for students. 

May and June are significant months in the legislative process. The revised budget will be released in May. This document, known as the “May Revise,” will incorporate up-to-date state revenue tax information. This revised budget will be scrutinized by the legislature, and negotiations will ensue. The 2022-23 California State Budget will ultimately be voted on by both the assembly and senate.

The legislative cycle for bills concludes in June. All bills that pass the assembly and senate will be sent to the governor’s desk for approval. There will be a clear picture of what things will look like for the upcoming year by this year’s CATA Summer Conference.

Universal Technical Institute Teachers’ Lounge at State Conference

By: Tracy Kilby, Universal Technical Institute

We’re excited to let you know that Universal Technical Institute (UTI) will be attending this year’s FFA State Conference this month as an official sponsor!  They will be sponsoring our teacher lounge where you will be able to relax and watch each session on a live video feed in the Golden 1 Center.

Also, if you have students who learn better by doing and are looking for meaningful agricultural career paths, then Universal Technical Institute may be a great fit.  They can find UTI at Booth 203 at the Career Expo and each student that comes by the booth will get a FFA – CA blink Fendt tractor pin.

In addition, we are offering a few tours to our UTI campus during the conference to let those interested see first-hand our state-of-the-industry facility. 

See the below flyer to hand out to your students.