Submit Chapter Highlight Videos!

By: Hannah Garrett, California FFA Leadership Coordinator

We are looking to highlight chapters throughout California and ask for your help in this venture. We are asking for chapters to submit a 60 second Reel/Tik Tok-esque video highlighting what makes their chapter unique or different from other chapters across the state. These videos will then be used for online conference curriculum and featured across our social media platforms to highlight our diverse 330+ FFA chapters. And to hopefully help us all feel a little more connected during these odd times.

Here are the details:

  • The videos should be in a .mp4 or .mov format, a file no bigger than 2 GB, no more than 60 seconds long in length and in a landscape format.   
  • The video should open with students stating their chapter name, their home city and their region.
  • Use the “Limitless” conference theme song. Click here to download and use whichever 60 second part of the song fits your video best. 
  • Name the file as ChapterName.mp4 or .mov  
  • After your video is created submit the video using WeTransfer and send it to news@californiaffa.org (No need to create an account. Select the file you want to send, under “send to” enter news@californiaffa.org, under “your email” of course enter your email, write your full chapter name in the message and hit “Transfer.” It will ask you to verify your email before the upload begins. Be sure to wait for the entire file to upload before exiting your web browser.)   
  • Please submit your chapter highlight by October 18th to be featured in GLC (ITC).

This could be the perfect project for a leadership class or chapter officer team! Here is the highlight video for the FFA Center that the State Officer Team created yesterday.

We look forward to highlighting your chapter! If you have any questions please email hgarrett@californiaffa.org.

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

Agriculture Incentive Grant Updates

By: Hugh Mooney, Regional Supervisor, California Department of Education

In September, we had a state-wide Zoom meeting to discuss the changes to the Agriculture Incentive Grant that will move us from an input driven funding model to an output driven funding model. Through work done by the committee and the state staff, the new funding model is based on more than forty different factors. In addition to becoming an output-based funding model, it is my belief that we will once again have a funding mechanism that will provide incentives for program improvement.

As we prepare for the next state-wide Zoom discussion, our committee thought it would be best to focus on specific portions of the plan. For the next Zoom we will focus on the Basic Grant Criteria and the Criteria for Classroom instruction (Part B). Subsequent Zoom meetings will focus on the Criteria for FFA, SAE and Outstanding Program. The committee is working to develop some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) that we will share before the next Zoom. If you have questions you would like addressed, please forward them to a committee member or your Regional Supervisor.

As we transition to greater involvement with AET on components of our website, reports will become available that will allow you to quantify your program’s progress in meeting quality criteria. There are many reports that AET is developing for us to make progress toward implementing this Output Based Funding Model for the 2022-2023 school year. This continues to be a work in progress. The committee realizes that many of you want to sit down and calculate how much funding your program will qualify for. We do not have the tools to determine that at this time. Next spring those tools likely will be available to all. One thing that we hope people will realize is that we expect no program to qualify for full funding in all areas. 

Committee members

Cali Griffin, Superior Region –  cgriffin@spjusd.com

Lauren Peterson, South Coast Region – lpeterson@smcjuhsd.org

Dick Piersma, Central Region – dwpiersma@att.net

Randy Mendes, North Coast Region – rmendes@sthelenaunified.org

Doug Sehnert, Southern Region – dsehnert@fuhsd.net

Clay Freeman, San Joaquin Region – clay_freeman@kernhigh.org

The next statewide Zoom meeting to review the future changes to the Agriculture Incentive Grant will be Monday, October 12 at 3:00 p.m. The invitation to the Zoom will come to you from your Regional Supervisor. We hope to send you FAQ’s at that time. If you have specific questions, please share them with a committee member, your regional supervisor, or contact me directly.

Topic: Statewide AIG Zoom #2

Time: Oct 12, 2020 03:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Meeting ID: 856 8949 9371

Passcode: UtmB7t

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

Positive Parent Mail

By: Shay Williams-Hopper, CATA President-Elect

Getting the mail is my favorite part of the day. While I know that on most days my mail is going to be filled with junk flyers and bills, every once in a while, peeking out from the bills is a special gift, written with love, a note from a family member or friend. I always smile as I run my hands over the seams, wondering what the message inside will be. Occasionally, it is a thank you note, sometimes it is a card just to say hi, but regardless of the message, the feeling of receiving that letter makes my day 100 percent better, each and every time.  

In the 2018 school year, I had a student named Dominic who was that squirrely, ninth grade, jokester boy. You know the kid, the one that shows up everyday, and begs for your attention in the most unappealing ways. Dominic and I found a mutual understanding and we were able to work together with each other on most days. At the start of that school year, I decided to write 100 notes home to students in 100 days. In my 14 years of teaching, I often neglected to call home to tell parents about the amazing things their students accomplished in my classroom.  This was the year, I was going to change that. I made some postcards through VistaPrint, that said ‘Positive Parent Mail….not a bill, not junk mail, just a note to tell you how awesome your child is!” and got to work. Each day, I picked one student to send a note home about, thanking their parents for raising children who quite frankly are incredible. 

Then came that day. Nothing was going right, and I was just in a mood. When Dominic walked in that day, I was not in the mood for shenanigans. He sat close to my desk, walked in, looked at me and asked, “Are you okay Mrs. Williams? You look like you are not okay today.” I admitted to him that he was right, it was that day, but I would be fine. I mean, I am a professional, and I will push through it because my students deserved that from me. I saw a shift in Dominic in that minute. He made a decision to work hard, help out when needed, and rallied the class to do the same. He made my letter that day, a simple choice. As the class left, I pulled out a postcard and wrote a note to his mom to tell her how much I appreciate Dominic and was lucky to have him in class. Stamped it and dropped it in the mail and forgot about it. 

A week later, in the middle of class, I received a call from the front office telling me that a parent was demanding to speak with me right now. Of course my mind raced, I was quickly running the events of the day, last week, and month through my head trying to determine who I had angered. When the call was transferred to me, this parent introduced herself to me as Dominic’s mom. She had received my letter and only had her 10 minute break at work to call me. She began to cry and thanked me for the note. She told me that she was a single parent who often struggled with raising Dominic and his siblings while working full time. In all of his schooling, Dominic never received a compliment from a teacher. The only time a teacher called was when a problem arose, which with Dominic, was often. She thanked me, and told me how proud of her son she was and couldn’t wait to share the card with her son.  The next day, when Dominic walked into class, he immediately came over and gave me the world’s largest hug.  It completely caught me off guard!  He told me how his mom shared the postcard with him, and it now hung on his refrigerator at home. It made a difference for that kid. Did it change Dominic forever…of course not, but it did give him a push in the right direction in my classroom, on campus and at home.  

In a time when student morale and emotions are at an all time low, I challenge you to take a minute and write a note to one student or their parent. Share with them the amazing things you have learned about them this year. Bring that moment of joy and excitement to their mailbox.  Lead with your heart forward and teach your students to do the same.  

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/

Sacramento Scene, October 2020

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

Sacramento Scene 

The last day of September marked the deadline for Governor Gavin Newsom to pass final judgment on bills passed at the end of the legislative session in August. The following is a summary of two bills related to education that were vetoed:

AB 331 – Governor Newsom surprisingly vetoed Assembly Bill 331. The bill passed by the Assembly and the Senate would have mandated high school students pass an ethnic studies class to graduate from high school starting in 2029-2030. Newsom sighted the continued disagreement over a proposed model ethnic studies curriculum as the reason for not supporting the bill. The Governor was quoted as saying, “In my opinion, the latest draft, which is currently out for review, still needs revision” (Fensterwarld, 2020).

AB 1835 – This bill rejected by the Governor would have made the first significant change to the K-12 Local Control Funding Formula since its inception in 2013. The bill authored by Assemblymember Weber would have eliminated a school district’s ability to carry over funding budgeted for low-income students, English Learners, and foster youth to be used the following year in any category deemed necessary. Newsom acknowledged a problem with the law but sighted flaws in AB 1835 that would make implementing it difficult (Fensterwarld, 2020).  

The November ballot brings with it two propositions that could have an impact on education. It will be up to California voters to determine if they are implemented. The propositions on the ballet are as follows:

Proposition 15 – Initiative Constitutional Amendment – Increase funding sources for public schools, community colleges and local government services by changing tax assessment of commercial and industrial property.

If passed, this proposition would amend Proposition 13, a tax initiative passed in 1978. Passage would create a “split-roll tax” changing the rules for assessing commercial and industrial properties’ value. Properties would be reassessed every three years at market value. The reassessment’s revenue would be allocated to schools, community colleges and county and local governments. Learn more

Proposition 16 – Legislative Constitutional Amendment – Allows diversity as a factor in public employment, education, and contracting decisions.

If passed, this proposition would allow government decision-making policies to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to address diversity by repealing Article I, Section 31, of the California Constitution. This part of the constitution was added by the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996. Proposition 209 prohibits State and local governments from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to individuals or groups based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment or education. Therefore, Proposition 209 bans the use of affirmative action in the California public sector.

The focus now in Sacramento turns to the election in November. Some think that voting in California will make little difference because of the supermajority in the State. But several elections will have an impact on your community, school and program. Making informed decisions about your representative in the Assembly and Senate and school board members, and city or county leadership, have local significance. Get out and exercise your right to vote.

Who We Are

AET is a powerful tool that serves the agricultural education community in countless ways. The system is continuously improving and evolving and can be used for endless analytical analysis of students, teachers and programs. AET provides an insight into the makeup of the secondary agricultural education teachers in California.

Of the total 965 secondary ag teachers in California, 47% have been teaching less than five years, and 64% have been in the profession for less than ten years. Females make up 60% of the ag teaching profession, with the largest demographic group of ag teachers being females with under ten years of experience.  

On the other end of the spectrum, only 68 teachers have over 25 years of service, encompassing 7% of the total population.

Figure 1 –  Total number of California agriculture teachers is 965 individuals. The majority of the teachers are females comprising over half of the group. The largest subgroup of secondary agriculture teachers consisting of 40% of the total, is females with ten years or less experience.

How is this information useful? This data should be considered when developing professional development, messaging, committees, events and communications. Are we designing programs and professional development to meet the needs of our younger demographic? Are the largest demographic groups being represented across the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association’s leadership structure and committees? Knowing who we are will help us better serve our membership.

Matt Patton, Executive Director, California Agricultural Teachers’ Assn.mpatton@calagteachers.org209 744-1605

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