California Department of Education, November 2020 Update

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

The election has come and gone and yet everything still remains the same in Sacramento. Discussions are occurring on when CDE will be returning to the building and at what capacity as well as how every student should be tested and who should be paying that fee.

Funding Topics

  1. Perkins – Funding has not been reduced nor have the rules changed. Perkins must be expended for CTE programs and cannot be used to supplant. Reach out to your Regional Supervisor should you have questions on allowable expenditures.
  2. CTEIG – Funding is constant, no reductions have been made. The latest round of grants that were scored last month, will be reviewed and approved by the State Board of Education during their January meeting. 

CALAGED 

  1. Redesign – The current webpage is undergoing a radical redesign by a new vendor. At the first of the year we will be moving to the new webpage. I am excited at what I have seen and the new layout of the site.
  2. AET – AET will be the new site for all student entries. We will no longer be adding or changing students in calaged. AET is also the site where teacher information will be entered and updated. AET will become our data portal. All current information in calaged for both students and teachers will be migrated to AET in late November.

Other Information

  1. Agriculture Incentive Grant
  • AO400’s have been sent to district superintendents for their signatures. Please work with your Superintendent to make sure they have signed and returned the form. We must collect all AO400’s before we can issue checks to Districts.
  • Discussions are continuing regarding the application updates.
  • Fall 2020 – Regional Meetings will be a time questions can be asked of the region’s representative to clarify what the committee is recommending.
  • Spring 2021 – State Agricultural Education Advisory Committee will review the proposed application and provide suggestions and thoughts.
  • Summer 2021 – Summer CATA Conference will provide a final opportunity for teacher input. 
  • Summer 2021 – State Staff will submit the new application to the Department of Education for approval.
  • January 2022 – New application along with instructions will be posted.
  • June 30, 2022 – Programs wishing to be considered for funding through the Agriculture Incentive Grant program bust submit the newly approved application. 

2. Leadership Continuum

  • Greenhand Conferences – Registration is live for Greenhand Conferences and can be completed through the registration process on calaged. Once you have registered an email will be provided on how you can access the new materials developed to help teachers and students through the virtual event.

3. FFA 

BIG congratulations to students and teachers who took part in the 93rd National FFA Convention. 

  • National Officer
    • David Lopez, Holtville FFA, elected National FFA Western Region Vice President
  • Proficiency Winners
    • Nine winners are the most in any one year for California.
    • Ag Mech Design/Fabrication – Cole Marchy, Turlock
    • Ag Sales Entrepreneurship – Alyssa Laredo, Merced
    • Beef Entrepreneurship – Hunter Aue, Merced-Golden Valley
    • Environmental Science – Spencer Stephens, Merced-Golden Valley
    • Equine Science Placement – Deyvet Carbayal, Madera
    • Fiber and/or Oil Crops – Peter Bliss, Merced-Golden Valley
    • Nursery Operations – Abigail VanKlaveren, Modesto
    • Sheep Production – Madison Woods, Gustine
    • Specialty Crop Production – Eric Quezda Ridge, Nipomo
  • Agriscience Fair Winners
    • Four winners tied the most in any one year for California.
    • Environmental Sciences Division 4 – Isabella Albiani & Isabelle Alves, Elk Grove
    • Food Products & Processing Division 3 – Mia Gillum, Hanford
    • Food Products & Processing Division 5 – Liesl Wolf, St. Helena
    • Power, Struct. & Tech. Systems Division 4 – Sophia Albiani & Eden Hamming, Elk Grove
  • Other Awards
    • 409 American FFA Degree recipients and 35 Chapters honored through the National Chapter Program.

Sectional Leadership Nights hosted by the State FFA Officers in cooperation with the Regional FFA Officers are currently happening throughout the state. To date over 1,000 students have taken part in these leadership development events.

Stay tuned as more information will be forthcoming in the near future regarding leadership development events, state leadership conference updates and any calendar adjustments.

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/

California Department of Education, October 2020 Update

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

It continues to remain quiet in Sacramento as the State Superintendent has issued a statement effectively mandating that staff stay at home until December 31. Only essential staff should be in the building. Even when 2021 rolls around, the consensus is that only about 25% of the employees will return to work in the office. There will be a gradual return to maintain safety and address ongoing health concerns.

What is really going on in Agricultural Education? Let’s take a gander through the myriad of topics.

Agriculture Incentive Grant

  1. 2020-2021 – Funding list was sent to the CDE Budget Office for approval. Once approved, it will go upstairs for processing and approval by the administration. Agriculture teachers will be notified when the AO400‘s are mailed to District Superintendent.
  2. 2022-2023 – Due to the current circumstances and the desire to make sure we are listening and doing our best to put together effective changes to the current application, the implementation date for the new application has been adjusted to June 30, 2022. Specific questions or recommendations should be directed to Mr. Mooney.
  3. Fall 2020 to Spring 2021 – Agriculture Incentive Grant Committee will meet to review proposals from teachers and make a final recommendation to State Staff.
  4. Fall 2020 – Zoom meetings held to solicit input and discussion from teachers. 
  5. Fall 2020 – Regional meetings will be a perfect opportunity to ask your region’s representative questions to clarify what the committee is recommending.
  6. Spring 2021 – State Agricultural Education Advisory Committee will review the proposed application and provide suggestions and thoughts.
  7. Summer 2021 – Summer CATA Conference will provide a final opportunity for teacher input. 
  8. Summer 2021 – State Staff will submit the new application to the Department of Education for approval.
  9. January 2022 – New application along with instructions will be posted.
  10. June 2022 – Programs wishing to be considered for funding through the Agriculture Incentive Grant program must submit the newly approved application. 

Career Development Events

  1. On October 19, a meeting will be held with institutions who host field days to review schedules, options, etc.
  2. Cotton Judging, Natural Resources, Citrus Judging, Tree Pruning and Vine Pruning State Finals will be held in a virtual format.
  3. Agriscience Fair will operate under a different timeline this year. Judging will not occur during the State FFA Leadership Conference. Mrs. Goehring will be providing an update with details and the new timeline.

Leadership Continuum

  1. Greenhand Conferences  will be held virtually. November 2 is the date when materials will be available.
  2. Made for Excellence Conferences and Advanced Leadership Academies will be held in a virtual format also. Registration and other information will be forthcoming from Ms. Garrett.
  3. Sacramento Leadership Experience looking into the possibility of  postponing the event to later in the spring in hopes of an in-person event. Ms. Garrett will be providing details as they are confirmed.

FFA

  1. Section Leadership Nights hosted by the State FFA Officers in cooperation with the Regional FFA Officers are currently happening throughout the state. Over  1,000 students have taken part in these leadership development events to date.
  2. National FFA Convention registration is open! Information relative to the challenge events, updated schedule, benefits of registering, etc. was posted here on October 1.

Stay tuned as more information will be forthcoming in the near future regarding leadership development events, state leadership conference updates and any calendar adjustments.

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/

September 2020 CDE Update: Welcome to 2020-2021

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

As the 2020-2021 school year begins, I cannot help but think back to that September day in 1980 when I welcomed those first students into my classroom. I was a 120 pound 23-year-old who resembled the students more than the faculty. I can vividly remember shaking when I stood in front of the class to introduce myself and take attendance. I will not even pretend to remember what I taught that day, but I am sure it was not important or done very well.

Over the years, each opening day was met with enthusiasm and a keen interest in meeting those new students. The nervousness I encountered that first day continued each year. Even today when we roll around to September, or August now, I find myself anxious to start a new year.

I can only imagine how you are feeling this year. Not only are you welcoming in a new group of students, you are meeting them for the first time via a computer screen. Often I wonder if I am part of some science fiction movie in some alternate universe, waiting to awake from some odd dream. However, when I pinch myself, I realize that it is reality!

As each of you begin the new school year, I want to extend my personal thank you for choosing to be an agricultural teacher. There is no nobler profession than that of teaching, except, being a teacher of agriculture. The coming year will most certainly be filled with new experiences, some failures, many successes and a bucketful of memories.

If appropriate, raise your cup of coffee, your bottle of water, or your beverage of choice and let’s toast. “May 2020-2021 be a year where we embrace social gatherings, a time we build lasting relationships and when we can strive to be bigger than ourselves. May 2020-2021 be the year where you accomplish your goals and realize your dreams. May 2020-2021 be the year in which you realize your potential and when you become a mentor for others. May 2020-2021 be your YEAR!”

To the best teachers in the world, enjoy your chosen profession and greet each day with the nervousness and excitement you had that first day! Welcome to 2020-2021.

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/

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 http://calagteachers.org/

California Department of Education Update, June 2020

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

As I sit here in my study looking out at the morning sun, my mind wonders at what I should share. There is so much happening that it is difficult to find that one point to focus on. So, let’s take a different approach. Let’s visit on what is happening at the California Department of Education.

We have a new Branch Deputy and a new Branch Name. Kindra Britt is the new Deputy Superintendent for the Access for All Branch. As a good agriculture teacher, I have quickly done research to find out what I can about our new Branch Deputy. Luckily, I have found that she is familiar with FFA and is supportive. She even has former ag teachers in her rolodex. I am looking forward to sitting down with Kindra when we return to the office and answering her questions about what we do and how we do it. In my short year as the program manager, this is the fifth Branch Deputy that I will have worked with.

On June 8, Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, published a guide to re-opening schools. As part of this handbook, there was a brief section on Career Technical Education. This guide is not a book, yet it is still pretty comprehensive. Since each local district will develop their own plan, this is simply some guidance from CDE.

We received an extension regarding the submission of the Perkins V State Plan. The plan is to be submitted to the USDE by June 15. Currently the plan that has been developed is on the Governor’s desk waiting for his signature.  We are hopeful that he will sign the current plan and we will then be able to meet the June 15 date.

The biggest thing happening at CDE is the State Budget and its impact on education. As with local districts, we are anxiously keeping an eye on the State Capitol to see what the final verdict will be regarding funding for schools. For those of us in CTE, we are hopeful that funding will be restored so that we can continue to drive change and improve local programs. Will we be furloughed or receive a salary reduction? When will we be returning to the office? What does travel look like? These are all questions that still remain.

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/

California Department of Education Update, May 2020

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

When I was fortunate to be in the classroom, I looked forward to the Spring where I could spend every weekend with students. Traveling the state in a van created some lasting memories. Unfortunately, this year the Spring experience was cut short. But, with some hard work by teachers and creative thinking, we are in a position to provide some semblance of a State Finals in many of our LDE’s and CDE’s.

I want to personally thank those teachers that have stepped up and found a way to deliver a virtual State Finals for our students. It will most certainly be different, but then different could be better!

For many, the question circles around qualifying for a National Finals and thus the concern regarding what National FFA may or may not be doing. We are monitoring news from the National FFA on a daily basis to ensure that we are providing the most up-to-date details to teachers. At this time, National FFA has shared that around mid-May they are hoping to have an answer regarding how CDE’s and LDE’s will be handled this year. We will provide those details as they are released.

Please know that our decision to move forward with providing opportunities for our students was not dependent upon National FFA. We wanted to do what was best for California and for our students. We developed committees in each contest area that was chaired by the coach of the State Champion team from last year. Each committee was challenged to determine if it was appropriate to offer a State Finals and if it was possible to have a virtual experience. The committee reports were reviewed by State Staff, CATA Executive Committee and Teacher Educators.

It was determined that individuals participating in Career Development Events (CDE) or Leadership Development Events (LDE) that end at the State Level who are part of the state winning team or the state winning individual will be considered as State Champions and will not be eligible to compete in that event in future years.

However, individuals participating in CDE’s or LDE’s that lead to competition in National Finals shall be reinstated should National Finals be cancelled. If National Finals are conducted, either virtually or in person, then members that are recognized as State Champions will not be eligible to compete in future years in that event. In addition, should it be determined that participation in the National Finals is prohibited due to the current pandemic, students will be reinstated.
The following schedules are being provided to help you prepare should you elect to have students take part in CDE’s or LDE’s. For specific information regarding a CDE, visit this link. To register for a CDE event, please visit this link.

LDE Calendar 2020

CDE Calendar 2020

Proposed Calendar

May 20 Agronomy State Finals

May 21-22 Computer Applications State Finals

May 27 Ag Pest Control State Finals

May 29 Vegetable Crops State Finals

June 11 Nursery/Landscape State Finals

June 12 Marketing (CoOp) State Finals

June 17 Livestock Evaluation State Finals

June 18-19 Farm Records AET State Finals

June 20 Horse Evaluation State Finals

June 25 Forestry State Finals

June 26 Grapevine Judging State Finals

June 26 Meats Evaluation State Finals

July 7 Farm Business Management State Finals

July 8 Best Informed Greenhand State Finals

July 9 Marketing Plan State Finals

July 11 Ag Sales State Finals

July 14-15 Ag Mechanics State Finals

July 16 Fruit Tree Judging State Finals

July 17 Ag Issues State Finals

July 25 Dairy Cattle Evaluation State Finals

Dates to be Determined

Floriculture State Finals

Adv Parli Pro Reg Finals

Nov Parli Pro Reg Finals

Electing to Not Conduct State Finals

Ag Communications

Ag Welding

Farm Power and Machinery

Milk and Dairy Foods

Poultry Evaluation

Small Engines

Soil and Land Judging

Veterinary Science

Each individual, student, teacher, parent and stakeholder must address the decision that is best for them. If teachers elect to not participate this year, we most certainly understand that decision and respect it. If teachers elect to take part in one or more CDE or LDE, we respect that decision. We realize that there is no solution that will be met with everyone’s approval. But, we do hope that we will all appreciate the thoughts that go into making these tough decisions and respect each other for doing what is best for their students.

Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to myself or a member of the State Staff. 

This Spring is not what we are used to, but hopefully you are staying healthy and taking advantage of the extra time you are able to spend with family. Be safe my friends.

California Department of Education Update, April 2020

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

I woke up in a cold sweat, shaking in disbelief at what I had just dreamed! It had to be the strangest nightmare I’ve ever had. There was this strange disease that was taking over the earth and closing down countries. Schools were closed, sporting events disappeared and I could not see my family. As I calmed down and rose from the damp sheets, I clicked on the TV to catch the morning news. NO! It can’t be, not today, the world can’t be coming to an end. 

My nightmare was reality. Who would have ever thought this could happen to us. With all the science research and attention to minor ailments, how could this have happened? Even today I find myself waiting to awake from my nightmare and find the world as it should be.

As uncomfortable as I feel, I have not been affected personally; at least not yet. There are families that have not been able to say their goodbyes to loved ones. I find myself wanting to stay in my comfort zone and continue to operate as usual. But it is not business as usual.

I feel for seniors as they are missing that opportunity to celebrate the last four years, either in high school or college. I feel for the student who had the lead in the school play that was about to open. I feel for the athlete that was hoping to have a great season and sign that letter of intent with the college of their choice. Every single person has been affected by this wicked disease.

The reality of the situation continues to take shape as days progress into weeks, and weeks into months. It is hard to grasp the true impact as there is no end in sight, at least not yet. When the light at the end of the tunnel becomes bright, it will be time to regroup. 

It is with hope that we look toward the future and begin to develop a plan. This plan will not be ideal and it most certainly will change, but it will be the beginning of the healing process. We do not have all the answers at this time. It will take all of us, the entire agricultural education family, for any plan to work.

At this time, the State FFA Officers and Mr. White are developing an engaging virtual State FFA Leadership Conference. Details will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.The hope is that the event will be one that builds on our members and becomes a showcase for their accomplishments.

State Proficiency Awards will be announced April 15 and press releases will be posted daily on our many social media pages. May 1 will find the scholarship recipients announced. Then, on May 15 the Agriscience Fair results will be released.

This month, the State Officers are coordinating the first ever “FFA Idol” competition. FFA members are displaying their talent in an April Madness format where two members will be paired daily with the one receiving the biggest support by the public, advancing to the next round. The competition will culminate with the crowning of the State Winner in early May. To watch the competition, head to our Instagram and Facebook pages.

Committees have been formulated around each career development event in the hopes of identifying alternatives as we move towards a format for state finals. We have asked coaches to review the curricular code and look closely to determine what “must be” included. They have also been tasked with developing a virtual contest, should that be determined as the best alternative.

No, business will not be as usual. But that does not mean that we cannot find ways to celebrate the accomplishments of our members and find ways to allow students to begin the healing process. Yes, there will continue to be changes in any plan that we come up with. Yes, there will always be those that will not appreciate the way things are going. But, as long as we communicate with each other, we will have a plan.

As I prepare to return to my bed for the evening, I shake my head and can only hope that when I awake, this will all be a dream…

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/

California Department of Education Update, March 2020

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

Change seems to be inevitable here at CDE. March 1 saw Lupita Cortez-Alcala transition from CDE to a new position at West Ed. Lupita is a dear friend of Ag Education and the FFA.er presence will be missed. She understood our mission and saw first hand its impact at the 2019 State FFA Leadership Conference. Her comments to those in attendance still resonate today. She often shared that the letters she received from students and teachers made her feel proud to be a leader in education. I know that Mr. Mooney will miss her hugs and I will miss her leadership and desire to be a role model for students and teachers. We wish her the best as she moves into the private world at West Ed.

With the departure of Lupita, we want to welcome our new Chief Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Stephanie Gregson. Dr. Gregson brings an incredible hybrid of educational and leadership experience that stems from her previous role as a teacher and administer at the district level, her tenure as the former Director of the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division and as the Deputy Superintendent of the Instruction & Measurement Branch. I am looking forward to meeting Dr. Gregson in the coming weeks. Her commitment to California’s students will align nicely with what we do in Agricultural Education.

Coronavirus

The Coronavirus seems to be the only story each night in the news, with new details changing by the minute. We at CDE and FFA are making every effort to stay informed with the latest updates and their effect on our programs. With the closing of schools, colleges and universities, our normal Spring routine has changed. When we are prepared to make recommendations, a new revelation or announcement is made. At this time, we are reviewing all of our options in an effort to provide a State Leadership Conference as well as to hold State Final events. Given the information we have, we can most certainly agree that what occurs will not follow our usual pattern. However, please know that we are working diligently to ensure that what we do provide will be professional and comprehensive. As this continues to be a fluid situation, new information will be shared as it becomes available.

Award Results

If you have not already looked, award results can be found here. This year, Proficiency Award winners will be determined based on the application scores. The rankings of each area by the three scores will be used to determine the final placings.

For State Scholarships, we will work with the sponsors to determine if they wish to conduct virtual interviews. Those that wish to can use an interview along with the application scores in determining the winners. In instances where the sponsor does not wish to hold virtual interviews, the winners will be determined by their application scores only.

In the Agriscience Fair, winners will be determined by their application scores and a virtual display. On-site interviews will not be held this year.

As we move forward, additional decisions will be made relative to award programs and when official announcements will be made.

Ag Incentive Grant

Final allocations for the 2019-2020 Ag Incentive Grant are being processed and will be sent to finance in the coming week. Those with adjustments will be receiving a revised AO400 which must be signed by the Superintendent. We will keep you informed when those are mailed.

Due to the cancelation of events and the closing of schools, the final date for expending 2019-2020 Ag Incentive Grant funds has been extended to September 30, 2020. All funds must be encumbered by this date and included in the Report of Expenditures which is due October 15.

Perkins funds, based on the requirements at the Federal Level, must adhere to the current guidelines. CTEIG funds, which is already a year behind in implementation, will also be held to the current requirements. Should these be adjusted in the future, we will provide teachers with the details.

State Finals

With the cancelation of field days and even some state finals, a contingency plan is being developed. This plan, in cooperation with host sites, will provide some direction for when and where State Final events will be held. Please know that it is extremely likely that State Finals as we have come to know it will not be the same this year. We will make every effort to follow the curricular code to the best of our ability. But, some State Finals may be at different locations. As these plans are developed, additional information will be provided. 

With everything that is happening, extended school breaks, cancelation of events, etc., the one point of stability may simply be knowing that change is occurring. In agricultural education, adjusting has never been something that we are afraid of; typically we embrace change and may even look forward to something new. Your students are looking to you for leadership during these uncertain times. I am confident that with your assistance and understanding, that we will survive the worldwide event and be in an even better position as a “family”.

Finally, I want to extend congratulations to those that are receiving their State FFA Degree. This is the highest honor a State Association can bestow upon a member. Those that will be receiving the Golden Key should be proud of what they have accomplished. And to the teachers, thank you for encouraging your students and helping them through the process. When they walk on stage and receive their degree, you must feel pride in what they are accomplishing and the part you played.

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/

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 http://calagteachers.org/

California Department of Education Update, January 2020

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

Before I delve into my article for the new year, I want to formally welcome JessaLee Goehring as the North Coast Region Supervisor. JessaLee is a product of the FFA, having earned her American FFA Degree as a member of the Lodi FFA Chapter. She completed her credential work at Fresno State and her master’s at Chico State. JessaLee has taught at Patterson HS, Lodi HS and most recently at Galt HS. She received her Teacher of Excellence in 2013 and served as the Central Region President in 2017. Please join me in welcoming JessaLee as the North Coast Region Supervisor.

I would also like to take a moment to thank the North Coast teachers for their support in this transition. Although not ideal, I truly believe that the changes have created a staff that has a unique set of skills and talents that will benefit teachers and students.

2019 was most certainly a year to remember. For many it was a year with personal achievements while others saw their professional goals being met, and for some, it was a year that they will quickly want to forget.

For me, it was most certainly a mix bag. In February 2019, I was honored to be selected to serve as the Program Manager for Agricultural Education. Upon assuming the role, as with any new position, I quickly realized how much I needed to learn. It was fortunate that we had, and still have, friends on the fifth floor. These individuals have made it clear they wish to support Agricultural Education and the FFA. This support has allowed us to move forward with new staff and a new focus on helping teachers and students.

Although there have been many bumps in the road, some that were paved over quickly and others that were much deeper, the team that has been assembled has worked together to meet each new challenge. As we move into 2020, it will undoubtedly be a year with new opportunities for success and continued challenges to stay relevant. 

Some of the goals will include:

  1. Establishment of a committee to finalize changes in the Agricultural Education Incentive Grant which will be implemented in June 2021.
  2. Development of middle grade agriculture curriculum with the work of the Vision 2030 committee.
  3. Work with the FFA Advisory Committee to ensure that our programs and awards are meeting the needs of our diverse population.
  4. Partner with other like organizations in delivering agricultural education K-Adult.

Teachers will be called upon to help in not only addressing the goals listed, but in helping with other important topics that arise. It is through this support that we will be able to continue to stay on the cutting edge of education and provide our students with the skills necessary to be successful.

Be on the lookout for the next opportunity to serve. That may come at State Conference as a delegate committee advisor or as a member of the committee that will be reviewing AET. When that opportunity arises, I look forward to your participation and ideas.

2019 will go down in the history books as an extremely successful year for California FFA and Agricultural Education. But, with a full staff and quality teachers, I am excited for what lies ahead in 2020. 

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/