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GROWING OUR FUTURE A TEXAS AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION MAGAZINE

SUMMER 2020


SUMMARY 2

Immersive Technology in Agricultural Education

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What Might a Student Gain from Participating in the Agriscience Fair

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Florence FFA Members Test Bacteria Count When Washing Chicken in the Kitchen Sink

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Starting Over at a New School and in a New Community

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An Effective Leader: A Public Servant's Perspective

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By Members for Members: Viral FFA Jacket Videos Lift Spirits

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Development: Do You Lead or Do You Follow?

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Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas Mentor Program

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Growing Professionally with the National FFA Organization’s Teacher Ambassador Program

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From the Range

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Growing as a Professional

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Developing Student Potential

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Development‌Make it a Habit

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Implementing Programs of Study in Agriculture Food and Natural Resources

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Texas Young Farmers Updates

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Texas FFA Alumni and Supporters Updates

Gowing Our Furture: A Texas Agricultural Education Magazine 614 East 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701 512-472-3128 Editor/Layout Designer/ Content Director Ashley Dunkerley Assistant Editor Tori Rosser Cover Photo Acquired from the My Texas FFA Project

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IMMERSIVE TECHNOLOGY IN AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION

BY: D R . O P M C C U B B I N S TEXAS A&M UNIVERSIT Y A G R I C U L T U R A L L E A D E R S H I P, E D U C A T I O N A N D C O M M U N I C A T I O N S A S S I S T A N T P R O F E S S O R

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e have just experienced a truly remarkable paradigm shift throughout education. A shift that saw educators swiftly transition from traditional face-to-face content delivery practices to alternate, remote teaching models. For some, this transition was easy. For others, it was mentally and physically exhausting. Whichever category fits your situation, just know that your hard work and dedication to the students in your program are very much appreciated. You probably don’t need a reminder, but technology is ubiquitous throughout all levels of education. Immersive technology has experienced a recent surge, and I would highly recommend leveraging the transformative power of this type of technology as you begin planning for the next semester. We will cover the basics of immersive tech and then dive into some of my favorite immersive tech tools that you can use to take learning to the next level.

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What is Immersive Tech?

opportunities for AR and VR to be leveraged to elevate learning. To ease that burden, here are a few immersive tech tools I would recommend integrating into your curriculum as appropriate.

Immersive technology replaces or extends existing reality. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are the two most common types and terms associated with immersive technology.

YouTube

Augmented Reality (AR) extends a user’s reality by overlaying a digital artifact over the real world. Snapchat filters or Pokemon Go are popular examples of AR. Retailers like Amazon and IKEA have AR functions built into their apps. Virtual Reality (VR) immerses users in content. Traditional VR requires a VR-ready computer and a VR head-mounted display. This can be expensive and not accessible to many. However, Mobile VR is more accessible because it leverages existing technology we carry in our pockets every day. It utilizes smartphones to view 360º content. Simply place a phone into a Google Cardboard (or any other VR viewer) and the experience becomes more immersive.

Immersive Tech Recommendations

YouTube has tons of great 360º VR content. Search ‘360’ or ‘VR’ or visit the Virtual Reality channel to explore several examples. You can watch YouTube VR content via traditional VR headsets, on your phone (in VR mode or normal), and a desktop browser.

YouTube has great instructions for accessing VR content on each of As a former agricultural science the platforms found at vr.youtube. teacher, I am aware of the com/watch/. challenges of exploring new tools while managing an Supervised Google Expeditions Agricultural Experience program. Just navigating the immersive Expeditions allow students to visit tech space can be overwhelming. places from around the world in VR The number of applications or and bring abstract concepts to life tech tools alone can spur anxiety. with AR. Use a Google Cardboard Agriculture, Food, and Natural to immerse students in the VR Resources curriculum is full of expeditions. There are many pre-

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Photos courtesy OP McCubbins and the AggieXR Lab.


many agriculture specific experiences, so I decided to create my own. I have spent the past year working with Think Digital to build an application to house these immersive agricultural experiences. My passion project, the ‘AggieXR’ app. AggieXR houses several immersive experiences related to agriculture. I am developing new Google Tour Creator content and working on lesson Tour Creator is a Google platform plans to accompany the existing that allows you to create and content. publish virtual tours. You can use your own 360º images or We used the app in a third-year Google Street View images. The veterinary medicine course to 360º scenes can have audio, promote rural clinics and have voice narration, and points of had great feedback from students. information text boxes. Tours We are working on more content can be viewed on the web via a to come. The app is currently live desktop or mobile device. To view on the iOS App Store and Android you with a starting point for Google Play. potential immersive tech to adopt. Exploring tech can be I am always open to assist you as overwhelming. Integrating tech you explore, so feel free to reach in your curriculum can help take out. You can find me on Twitter learning to the next level. I hope (@opmccubbins) or via email at that my recommendations provide opmcc@tamu.edu. existing ‘Expeditions’ that you can use in your class. You can explore tours created by National Geographic, the American Museum of Natural History, and more. You can check out this massive list of AR and VR Expeditions at bit.ly/ ARVRExpList.

in VR, use Cardboard, or another VR viewer, to take the virtual tour to the next level. Dr. Trent Wells, a colleague from Southern Arkansas University, and I are currently exploring the utility of conducting virtual SAE visits with this technology. Preliminary results are promising and may offer a way for teachers to extend their reach and provide feedback for more students' SAEs. AggieXR When I first became interested in immersive tech, there weren’t

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Registration is open via the ATAT Online Membership system

Due to limitations of the Waco Convention Center and the desire to maintain the health and safety of our members, our association will not be hosting an in-person event this year. This means that the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas Professional Development Conference will move to an online format for 2020.

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BY: A N D R E A NO R D M A N F L O R E N C E H I G H S C H O O L A G R I C U LT U R E S C I E N C E T E A C H E R

WHAT MIGHT A STUDENT GAIN FROM PARTICIPATING IN THE

AGRISCIENCE FAIR A

gricultural science teachers often find ourselves trying to portray what our career looks like to the everyday person. Explaining the ins and outs of our daily lives, and all the acronyms we live by. Of course there’s LDEs, CDEs and SDEs, but don’t forget SAE, ATAT, AST or AET. It is easy to see how it can become confusing to those outside the profession. I think most ag teachers would agree that in order to understand it, you have to live the lifestyle. Even so, there are still aspects of this job our own co-professionals are still unfamiliar with, not to mention those outside of our career circles. One of those opportunities that poses some questions is the agriscience fair. What might a student gain from participating in the agriscience fair? What does it encompass? Are those kids doing real research projects? How do they even get started? The thought of trying to implement research projects for students can be a little scary, but the benefits and possible rewards to the student for their work are immense. These students are being taught, as early as seventh grade, how to complete and write research using APA style. Students learn how to properly develop a research question, implement the scientific method, write a complete research report, and design a display poster in order to present their findings just as they would at the collegiate level. Students who conduct research projects have the

opportunity to earn scholarship money, earn degrees, and apply for awards. These students can apply for a star award in each degree level and proficiency awards, which only adds to their scholarship opportunities. “The reward from participating in science fair isn’t just possible scholarships or awards, but mainly the feeling of accomplishment that you get from being able to present the research you did and the hard work you put in,” said Emily Adams, Rudder FFA member. “It is a huge confidence booster when you get to share what you learned, and are able to know that even if you don’t place at an event, you were still able to complete an incredible task.” Projects are placed in six different categories – Animal Systems, Environmental Services/Natural Resource Systems, Food Products and Processing Systems, Plant Systems, Power, Structural and Technical Systems, and Social Systems. Within these categories students are split into different age divisions and then split once more based on if they conducted their research project as an individual or part of a team. Students conduct their research and experiment at either school or at home and complete their written report before the actual event. Once they have completed these steps, they then create a display board and prepare an oral presentation in time for the contest. Judges

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“STUDENTS LEARN HOW TO PROPERLY DEVELOP A RESEARCH QUESTION, IMPLEMENT THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD, WRITE A COMPLETE RESEARCH REPORT, AND DESIGN A DISPLAY POSTER IN ORDER TO PRESENT THEIR FINDINGS.”


are usually former FFA members who work in the industry and are knowledgeable of conducting and writing research. Once all of the interviews between the students and judges are complete, the public can peruse the science fair and take a look at all of the student's work. One can find students who study the effects of different feed additives on animal growth or performance, students who test different mechanical designs of equipment and their efficiency, or even those members who are conducting survey research into areas of public knowledge and awareness of production agriculture. These students compete at the annual Texas FFA Convention with their projects for scholarship money and a spot at National Convention. Outside of the annual state convention, students have opportunities to present their research at most of the major livestock shows in Texas for great rewards. Not only does it build their resume, but many of the contests provide scholarship money for the winners. San Antonio Livestock Exposition is the largest, giving out $10,000 scholarships for their

winners. “The agriscience fair is the one activity that brings all of a student’s classes together," said Ryan Pieniazek, Krum Agricultural Science teacher. "A student puts in practice math, English and science while also getting to hone in their public speaking skills. The agriscience fair is a well-rounded opportunity for students and they are gaining real-life experience with it.” Oftentimes, parents are heavily involved in these projects as well by not only financially supporting the research, but helping students practice their presentation at home, or even helping their ag teacher get them to some of the contests. “Agriscience fair allows students to not only gain knowledge while exploring a new entity but builds their confidence and presentation of self, promotes professional and personal communication skills, encourages higher educational goals and develops lasting friendships,” said Sally Fazzino, a Rudder FFA parent. “It is truly the growth I saw in my girls and the

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impactful relationship they built with their ag teacher throughout the process and that was the most amazing thing to see.” All in all, the benefits for students conducting research projects do not stop at the Texas FFA Convention. Students can compete in the other science fair contests available, apply for star and proficiency awards, and it puts them ahead of their peers when they enter life after high school. I would urge all ag science teachers to find a way to provide this opportunity for their students.


BY: L A N I P I E P E R T E X A S F FA N E W S S TA F F

FLORENCE FFA MEMBERS TEST BACTERIA COUNT WHEN WASHING CHICKEN IN THE KITCHEN SINK

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lorence FFA members Macey Hilton and Beau Gilmore set out to research the difference in bacteria count when using different disinfecting methods of washing raw chicken meat. “We originally came up with the idea when we came across a twitter post from the CDC saying you should not wash your chicken before you cook it, so we decided to test it,” Hilton said. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it is estimated that Salmonella bacteria cause about 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the United States every year. The purpose of their research titled Meat Me at the Kitchen Sink: Testing the Effects of Washing Chicken in the Kitchen Sink and the Bacteria Count, was to educate others about the hazards of not properly cleaning the kitchen sink after rinsing raw chicken and how it impacts the spread of foodborne illness. 8

“We did two different trials testing two different methods,” said Gilmore. “For each method we swabbed bacteria on petri dishes.” The students began by washing raw chicken in the sink then utilized their chapter’s incubator to test disinfecting methods. Those methods included cleaning and rinsing the sink and area with cold water, then using Dawn Dish Soap. According to their research, no matter the method of disinfecting, there was still bacteria growth and cross contamination in the sink. The CDC states that if fewer people wash their chicken, less Salmonella cases would be recorded. Hilton’s and Gilmore’s successful agriscience fair project was recognized as the 2019 Texas FFA champion and and National FFA runnerup in the Food Products and Processing Systems category.


JULY 6-10, 2020 DUE TO LIMITATIONS OF THE DALLAS CONVENTION CENTER AND THE DESIRE TO MAINTAIN THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF OUR MEMBERS, OUR ASSOCIATION WILL NOT BE HOSTING AN IN-PERSON EVENT THIS YEAR. THIS MEANS THAT THE TEXAS FFA STATE CONVENTION WILL MOVE TO AN ONLINE FORMAT FOR 2020.

INFORMATION WILL BE POSTED ON TEXASFFA.ORG AS IT BECOMES AVAILABLE.

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BY: J E S S I C A R E E V E S I N G R A M T O M M O O R E H I G H S C H O O L A G R I C U LT U R E S C I E N C E T E A C H E R

STARTING OVER AT A NEW SCHOOL AND IN A NEW COMMUNITY

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hen I was first asked to write an article about to starting over at a new school or in a new community, I jumped at the opportunity to share things I have learned with my peers. In a time when we are all dealing with massive amounts of change in every single aspect of our lives, this article hit me in a way I was not expecting.

I was blessed to teach at an amazing school, with amazing kids, great teaching partners in a very supportive community. However, as administration across the original school district began to change, I felt we were being led in a new direction. This was the first time I really began to understand how hard it could be to adjust as an experienced ag teacher, learn new technology, learn to teach new subjects, move children to new schools, make new friends, and more.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 As I began to write, memories flooded my mind of the way things were before I had made major career changes, and very raw emotions began to overwhelm and consume my thoughts. So much so, in fact, I actually said I could not finish the article because I couldn’t put together an intro or conclusion for the things I had collected to share. Then I realized that those emotions were okay. It is not easy to start over at a new school or in a new community. However, I hope my experience can help you through the process.

Throughout my first school change, I was so blessed to find the most patient, loving, helpful teaching partners who guided us all through our new adventure. Life, work, and friends, for me, were great. However, the changes were not so fabulous for all of my children. As my husband and I prayed and deliberated how to best navigate these changes, we came upon changes we were not in any form or fashion looking for. During that time a small school, far from where we considered home and far from our wonderful friends and family, began to ask if I would consider making a change. Heck no, I was happy! I really wrestled with making the changes life brought to our family. After I turned the job down three times, my husband and I began to realize the Lord had other plans for our family - more change!

For the first 16 years of my teaching career,

“A NEW SCHOOL GIVES YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO BASICALLY START OVER. YOU GET A FRESH NEW START THAT CAN REJUVENATE YOUR CAREER.”

“For there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed.” - Ecclesiastes 3:17 Like many ag teachers, I can firmly say I 10


am not a fan of change, but so often it is important for you, your career, and your family. The question is how do we as ag teachers navigate starting over at a new school and in a new community? I have learned and relied on these tips through changing schools. A new school gives you an opportunity to start over. A fresh new start can rejuvenate your career. If you were working too much or too little, this can be adjusted in a new district. In your old school, you created an expectation of your work ethic. This can be adjusted for the better in a new school. You get to try new things. You can teach new courses, train new teams, supervise new species of livestock, compete at new contests or shows, etc. There are hundreds of phenomenal ag teachers across the state who will help you adjust to these new challenges. Find experienced teachers who are willing to share their teaching materials, livestock knowledge, and more. Changing schools allows you to get organized. Throw out the old, organize what you want to keep, and start fresh. If you move to a new Texas FFA Area, it is like starting over. People may have heard of you or seen you at contests, but they don’t really know the true you. You will meet new teachers and have to gain their respect for your work ethic and passion for students, but dive right in! Sign up for open opportunities, even if they aren’t in areas you are used to. These will broaden your abilities and experiences and allow you to get to know good people in your new area. Working with new teaching partners takes time. Remember, it is like a new marriage. You will each have your own strengths and weaknesses. Find them, appreciate them, and learn to rely on each other. Create a duty calendar that shows who is responsible for what throughout the year. When possible, have lunch with your teaching partners to share information about the events coming up and how you will tackle them all. You must also learn to “live’ together and share the same space and students. There

“YOU WILL LEARN A LOT OF THINGS THE HARD WAY, BUT YOU WILL NOT FORGET THEM.” are times you will not always be happy with the other person. Each day is a new day; don’t hold grudges. Not knowing new students and parents is hard. All you can do is just be you! Start getting to know your officer team before school starts. You can use a fun activity or event to do this. If there is not an updated constitution, bylaws, set of barn rules, etc., create those with your teaching partners so everyone is on the same page before you start school in the fall. Not knowing the school and FFA traditions can lead to stepping on people’s toes by accident. Don’t be afraid to ask people questions and ask for forgiveness. You will learn a lot of things the hard way, but you will not forget them. It is important to remember change is hard for everyone; not just you. Teaching partners, school staff, students, and parents all have adjustments to make with new teachers on board. Do not come in and try to change everything in an already successful chapter. Sit back and figure out why they are successful. Learn. If you have suggestions you think would benefit the program, politely offer, but don’t get offended if they aren’t accepted right away. Old habits are hard to break, and traditions hold strong in some programs, even if you believe there is a faster or better way of doing them. We are often taken out of our comfort zones to be blessed with new experiences, new opportunities, and new people we would not get to experience. The first year after a change will be hard and a lot of work. You will have a lot of growing pains, but it will also be amazingly rewarding to find your place and your people. You can do it! 11


AG TEACHER SPOTLIGHT

BETH ZUILHOF

WACO-MIDWAY HIGH SCHOOL TENURE: 9 YEARS

WHY DO YOU TEACH AG? I teach ag because my high school ag teachers made such a huge impact on my life. I have always said if I can impact the life of one student the way my teachers influenced mine, I would be happy. Going into high school I didn't even know what FFA was! I am so grateful I ended up in an ag class and that my teachers encouraged me to become involved in FFA. If not for Dean Fuchs, John Ford, David Fleming, and Amanda Kacal, who knows where I would be today!

WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT AG EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT? Society is so far removed from production agriculture that they often misunderstand and mischaracterize it. I feel it is essential for students to learn where their food comes from and how connected their lives are to agriculture. In addition, the FFA aspect of ag education is so important too. I know personally that my life would look vastly different without it!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FFA MEMORY? This is another difficult question, but I can narrow this one down to three memories. First would have to be having one of my students win the state Junior Prepared Public Speaking Contest as a 7th grader. Second would be the time I had a student win a $10,000 scholarship from the San Antonio Livestock Show's public speaking contest. Lastly, when I had a group of four students I began my wildlife CDE career as 8th graders placed 5th at the state contest their senior year. It is so fulfilling to see students be rewarded for all their hard work. Their efforts being rewarded is the absolute best feeling as an ag teacher!

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B Y: S E N AT O R C H A R L E S P E R R Y T E X A S S E N AT O R F O R D I S T R I C T 2 8

AN EFFECTIVE LEADER:

A PUBLIC SERVANT'S PERSPECTIVE

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hank you for the opportunity to contribute to your great organization by discussing a topic that provides immense value to Texas agricultural science education. I believe that agriculture education is one of the few remaining arenas for cultivating future leaders in our country. Through my ten years of experience in the Texas Legislature and 58 years of life, I hope to provide you with some insight on effective leadership that will help you become a better leader. An Effective Leader Must Be Grounded in Good To Do Good I believe there are certain basic truths when it comes to leadership. An effective leader must be grounded in principles that are never changing. These should be non-negotiable precepts which are the beginning and end of every decision point. The source of these principles will determine whether the leader's initiatives rise above self-interest and are for the good of all. An effective leader understands wisdom can come from learning from others while maintaining a core set of principles to live by. In my life, God has provided me some basic principles including humility, sacrifice, relationship building, and personal responsibility. An Effective Leader Maximizes Everyone’s Potential An effective leader understands all people have a God given purpose. Leaders should willingly create the opportunity for every person under their authority to maximize that purpose.

An Effective Leader Sets Expectations for Themselves In my personal experience, the attributes defining a leader can be both learned and organic. My childhood was less than perfect, but it was filled with a healthy dose of the fear of God, hard work, discipline, and respect for my elders. I grew up in a blended family of seven, with my parents leading by example. My parents always encouraged us to gain an education, set goals for ourselves, and to do the best we could to accomplish those goals. Their careers were not high paying, but they always found a way to keep moving forward. High expectations were the norm. Some people are blessed to have a loving and nurturing environment, while others are not. Both environments produce life experiences that can create effective leaders. The motivation may be different, but it is up to the individual to turn these challenges into a positive influence. An Effective Leader Has A Little Help Along the Way My personal journey includes a few mentors who have served as a source of inspiration and encouragement. Their impact has helped me grow into the person I am today. Over the course of my life, there have been certain individuals, teachers, and coaches that were blessed with the spiritual gift of encouragement. These people left a lasting impact on my life by taking the time to invest in me as a person. For example, a teacher inspired me to run for class office. When challenges and complexities arose within our family that seemed insurmountable, a friend stepped

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“BY LISTENING TO ALL PERSPECTIVES, ACCEPTING CONTRIBUTIONS, AND UNDERSTANDING DIFFERENCES, A LEADER TRULY CAN MAKE THE MOST INFORMED AND EFFECTIVE DECISIONS.”


in to provide guidance and reason to overcome. At the time, these individuals seemed irrelevant, but reflecting back, these were defining people and moments in my life that have shaped me into who I am today. An Effective Leader Is Humble and Servant Minded Humility is usually developed under less than optimal circumstances. It should be grounded in faith by recognizing God has a plan and that we are not God. There is no room for pride or credit taking. I have always tried to be servant minded and flexible with where I believe God wants me to be. I tell people God must have a sense of humor, as evidenced by his placement of me in public service. I believe that my desire to stay humble and seek wise counsel has made me a better legislator and a better person. An Effective Leader Listens An effective leader understands that by listening to others, better results are achieved. The best leaders understand they are the sum of their team. When everyone works in counter to contribute to the team’s goals, everyone succeeds. By listening to all perspectives, accepting contributions, and understanding differences, a leader truly can make the most informed and effective decisions. That said, on

the rare occasions where consensus is unattainable, a leader must make the call based on their principles and, most importantly, take responsibility for their decisions. An effective leader realizes their limitations, takes their tasks seriously without taking themselves too seriously, and can admit when they are wrong. An Effective Leader Respects Others An effective leader strives to respect others and does not demand respect. Relationships are built on trust and respect, both of which are earned qualities. Respect must be given in order to ultimately be received. An Effective Leader Is Trustworthy and Consistent An effective leader understands trust is gained through consistency in application of their principles, courage to speak the truth, and the diligence to see a task completed. I have learned I have to trust people. I guard against depending on myself. If doubt as to the people’s support creeps into my thought process, I have to remind myself when the people are given the best information available, they can be depended upon for their support. Doubt is contrary to the precepts discussed above. That said, doubt can serve as a reminder to return to the basics.

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An Effective Leader Is Not Born by Natural Birth, But Born Out Of The Time At Hand I believe there are different leaders for different times. I also believe that everything is coordinated within God’s grand plan. There are leadership roles for perpetuity and leadership roles for seasons. For those who have gained public trust, leadership can be seasonal. For example, during World War II, United Kingdom Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain used very different leadership styles which garnered the trust of the public during the same season. Both believed they were right in their approach to handling the season of possible world domination

“I AM CONFIDENT THAT THE VALUES FFA EMBODIES AND THE LIFESTYLE IT PROMOTES WILL PRODUCE EFFECTIVE FUTURE LEADERS OF THE NEXT GENERATION.”

Photos courtesy of the Office of Senator Charles Perry.


by Germany. History has clearly shown that Churchill was correct. Their approaches to war were very different, however, and as unpopular and difficult a decision was to be the aggressor against overwhelming odds, the prospect of losing all freedom was worth the potential cost. When a leader stays true to their principles and maintains the courage to speak the truth through any obstacle, they are certain to gain the people's trust even through difficult times.

FFA fills a void where the family dynamic can be missing, encourages by instilling confidence, and establishes a positive environment for personal growth. This organization is even more vital today than when it was first started. The urbanization of the population, the breakdown of the family, and a public school system dealing with challenges beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic further the need for exposure to everything the agricultural lifestyle has to offer. I am confident that the values FFA embodies and the lifestyle it promotes will produce effective future leaders of the next generation.

An Effective Leader Maximizes Their Situation True leadership is not determined by circumstance, but by maximizing the role of leadership we find ourselves in.

At the end of the day, God has a plan. Be flexible, seek His will, and lead in accordance with it.

You may be wondering how this applies to being an elected official. I believe the cliché “iron sharpens iron” is appropriate for describing public service. There are certainly leadership learning opportunities within the public service environment. As a public servant, I hope to employ all of these elements of being an effective leader. I hope the message is clear that what I believe makes a good and effective leader is a composite of many different influences.

“AN EFFECTIVE LEADER UNDERSTANDS WISDOM CAN COME FROM LEARNING FROM OTHERS WHILE MAINTAINING A CORE SET OF PRINCIPLES TO LIVE BY.”

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Educators do more than teach They nurture, encourage and inspire our youth. And in trying times, they step up and adapt to the challenge. We applaud you.

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Teach Ag Tips SCHOOL DIRECTIVES

AND COPING WITH COVID-19 CHALLENGES BY: RAY PIENIAZEK, AG TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Follow Directives - Do what your district asks you to do. In times of stress, assume positive intent and remember that your school districts are looking to provide safe and meaningful educational experiences. Follow any and all directives you are given. If you are told no travel, then don’t travel. Adaptability - Show that you are adaptable to unique situations. There are so many valuable experiences a student can do at home that provide them opportunities to grow. Reading, writing and math skills can be easily done with your students without much assistance. Simple activities like journaling their daily experiences can make them think about what is happening around them. Be Supportive - Agricultural science educators are a different breed. We care about our students deeply and think about them more than just when they are in our classrooms. Support them and remind them we will survive this and be even stronger. We continue to encourage everyone to to follow the directives provided by their local community and to focus on proactive measures regarding personal and community health. Please continue to monitor information from the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services for the appropriate next steps. 18


AG TEACHER SPOTLIGHT

JASON WOODS ROYAL HIGH SCHOOL TENURE: 15 YEARS

WHY DO YOU TEACH AG? My background in production agriculture and my great experience as an FFA member in high school led me in this direction. When the opportunity arose to teach in my hometown, I knew I had to jump on it. Currently, I get to teach with four of my best friends and former classmates. As a teacher, I love seeing how this profession helps mold our students into productive citizens and leaders in their chosen fields.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FFA MEMORY? Winning the state contest in senior skills in 2013 and 2018 are high on the list. However, I think it is watching our deserving FFA seniors receive a Texas FFA Scholarship after graduation. It isn’t just one accolade that puts them on the stage, it’s four years of hard work and dedication to academics, FFA competitions, SAE programs, officer duties, and community service endeavors that gave them the opportunity. Those recipients are the ones who become our future ag teachers, veterinarians, industry leaders and business professionals. It's a great feeling to know you played a role in getting them there.

WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT AG EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT? Agriculture is one of our most vital resources, and it’s so important that our youth has a grasp on the subject. Our program provides so many opportunities for students, regardless of their background or interests. The problem-solving and leadership skills they pick up in our classrooms and activities make them better prepared for the world that awaits them.

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BY MEMBERS FOR MEMBERS: VIRAL FFA JACKET VIDEOS LIFT SPIRITS

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t is inevitable that Texas FFA members will find ways to stand together in solidarity and support of one another through uncertain times, even if it is as simple as posting a positive, trendy, video on social media.

through her participation in the organization.

The recognizable blue jackets of many Texas FFA members have become the star of multiple uplifting viral videos during this spring season of social distancing.

The result was a little National Blue and Corn Gold sprinkled on to the viral video trend.

Emily Dreyer of Tuloso-Midway FFA captured and edited footage so it looked as though Texas FFA members from across the state were passing their jackets to one another. “I saw a social media trend where you pull something into the frame and then toss it out, and I thought about how I could put the FFA stamp on it; that is when I decided to use the jacket,” said Dreyer. Equipt with the knowledge she was not the only one who was missing FFA, Dreyer decided to utilize one of the resources she discovered 20

“FFA cultivates incredible relationships,” said Dreyer. “I reached out to members via Instagram to participate.”

Across Texas, many members found a way to put their own unique spin on the trend. This group includes Rachel Bradford of Troy FFA, who saw an opportunity to highlight her fellow graduating seniors who were tasked with hanging up their FFA jackets for the last time this spring. Instead of passing their jackets, they ceremoniously took them off for the final time. “I never envisioned my senior year ending with me hanging up my blue jacket virtually,” said Bradford. “Although not anywhere close to the same as hanging up our jackets at a banquet, I felt it was a fitting alternative to give seniors the closure we each deserve.”


Both members stated they were pleasantly surprised at the number of participants clamoring to be a part of their video creation process. In the end, both projects had collectively more than 170 submissions from across the state. “I never would have thought we would have received the number of videos we did, but it was awesome to see them keep coming in one after another,” said Bradford. Out of this unusual time have emerged opportunities to uplift spirits. “After I posted the video, the responses warmed my heart,” said Dreyer. “A lot of people were saying it was exactly what they needed to be reminded of, that they are a part of something bigger.” Both members emphasized their goal was to simply spread encouragement and provide a sense of unity during this season of uncertainty.

“AFTER I POSTED THE VIDEO, THE RESPONSES WARMED MY HEART,” SAID DREYER. “A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE SAYING IT WAS EXACTLY WHAT THEY NEEDED TO BE REMINDED OF, THAT THEY ARE A PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER.”

“The one thing I want people to take away from the video is that Texas FFA members are a part of something bigger,” said Dreyer. Bradford echoed, “Family is a term we use often to describe the Texas FFA, and I think through leadership and the members of the Texas FFA, we have become an even more close-knit family during these challenging times.”

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B Y: M I T C H E L L DA L E P R E S I D E N T O F M C R E E F O R D A N D T E X A S F FA F O U N DAT I O N B O A R D O F D I R E C T O R S C H A I R M A N

DEVELOPMENT DO YOU LEAD OR DO YOU FOLLOW?

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e ask ourselves many questions as we go through life, and the answers impact not only the present but the future. Google defines the word development as “the process of developing or being developed.” What first came to mind when I thought about this was servant leadership. As you think about your personal development, the development of the students in your care, or corporate culture, I believe the definition of success would be to answer the question… “yes!” Whether you are focused on developing yourself or others, it is essential to build and establish great relationships in your communities, in businesses, within the school district, and in the classroom. Developing sustainable relationships in the professional world expands your knowledge base and assists you in not only accomplishing your personal goals, but those of others around you. I always encourage students to be lifelong learners, which simply means keep developing. Agricultural science teachers are clearly in the development business, shaping young people to grow and be the leaders of tomorrow. Your efforts prepare students by building their foundations and expanding

their perspectives on both the world around them and the future ahead. Like a good coach, you have to know your players’ strengths, weaknesses, perceptions, then put them in a position to be competitive and win. By encouraging them to chase their dreams - no matter how big or far away they might seem - you are both leading and following. Leading those you are developing and following those who impacted your own professional development. There are several ways to encourage development, but I believe none is more important

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“DEVELOPING SUSTAINABLE RELATIONSHIPS IN THE PROFESSIONAL WORLD EXPANDS YOUR KNOWLEDGE BASE AND ASSISTS YOU IN NOT ONLY ACCOMPLISHING YOUR PERSONAL GOALS, BUT THOSE OF OTHERS AROUND YOU.”


than community service. When we focus on community service and serving others, not only do we grow and gain personal satisfaction, we set the example and plant seeds that will grow others' awareness of the significance of serving others and the communities around them. Leaders don’t create followers, they inspire more leaders. Reflecting on the original vision of the Ford Leadership Scholars Program, we hoped to create a premier leadership development program which would have a lasting positive impact on the students and their communities. This is just one example of a significant tool you can use as you build and develop relationships in your communities and grow awareness of the opportunities and benefits available in Agricultural Science Programs and the Texas FFA. You, nor your students, have to be Ford

Leadership Scholars to make a community impact. Look around your community, find a need, and mobilize your students to action, service, and servant leadership. As you think about being your personal best, think about being helpful. Helpful in growing and developing those around you. No matter if you are leading or following, keep developing.

“YOUR EFFORTS PREPARE STUDENTS BY BUILDING THEIR FOUNDATIONS AND EXPANDING THEIR PERSPECTIVES ON BOTH THE WORLD AROUND THEM AND THE FUTURE AHEAD.”

Photos courtesy of Mitchell Dale.

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BY: TO R I RO S S E R S P E C I A L P R O J E C T S C O O R D I N AT O R , A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N O F T E X A S

AGRICULTURE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS MENTOR PROGRAM

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hree years ago, the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas identified a real challenge - new teachers were leaving the agriculture science teaching profession in increasing numbers. A group of stakeholders were assembled and tasked with identifying the challenges new teachers were facing and coming up with a solution to help support them throughout the challenge of their first year in the classroom. The Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas Mentor Program was created in response. New agricultural science teachers face the same challenges teachers from every discipline face in their first year: classroom management, relationships with students, parents, and administrators, balancing home and work life, even simply adjusting to the demands of a career after spending many years as a student. Throw in the added challenges of managing an FFA program, livestock and project center responsibilities, dealing with a booster or alumni group, on top of preparing students to be competitive in leadership and judging activities, and it’s easy to see how a new teacher can become discouraged, disappointed, and burned out. The Association decided that pairing new teachers with a retired master teacher was, and is, a valuable way to support them through what is often the most difficult year in the classroom. “Having an experienced teacher come to my classroom provided the support I needed,” said Sarah Robertson, East Bernard ag teacher and mentee. “It gave me more confidence in my skills at times where I sometimes doubted myself.”

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While there are many successful mentorship programs out there that use peer to peer mentorship, we feel that utilizing mentors with both a vast amount of experience and more time to commit to the program is of the most value to our teachers. Mentors are paired with two first year teachers, most often in the geographical area in which they themselves reside. Several on-site visits throughout the year are made to observe the mentee’s classrooms, in addition to on-going correspondence throughout the year. “It was nice to have someone on my side who has done it all and knows people,” said Jacqulyn Longino, Stockdale ag teacher and mentee.”My mentor helped me with anything I needed help with and always found an answer.” While establishing the program, the group of stakeholders defined 12 major areas of concern for mentors to focus on with their mentees. While not an exclusive or exhaustive list of everything our

“AS THE MENTOR PROGRAM CONTINUES TO GROW IN SIZE, IT ALSO CONTINUES TO GROW IN OUR LEVEL OF SUCCESS. EVERY NEW TEACHER WE CAN KEEP IN THE PROFESSION IS A SUCCESS STORY.”


mentors assist with, those topics, which make up our New Teacher Handbook, are: Managing Teacher/Student Relationships

A N E XC E R P T F R O M A PA S T A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N OF TEXAS NEWSLETTER

Developing Good Classroom Basics Managing Finances and Budgets Developing Healthy and Productive Relationships with Administrators

THINKING

Managing Livestock Show Validations and Entries Effectively Promoting Agriculture Programs

OF THE

Developing Good Time and Task Management Skills Developing and Effective Summer Plan Developing a Good Classroom and FFA

Balance

Between

PAST

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Balancing Personal and Professional Life

the

Developing a Calendar and Deadlines for the Program Keeping Good Student Record Books.

YEARS

To date, the mentor program has helped over one hundred new teachers across the state through their first year of teaching. According to our end of program survey data, 87% of participants would highly recommend that other first- year teachers apply for the program, with 85% rating the effectiveness of the program. An outstanding 96% of teachers who go through this program have remained with the profession.

THE DOINGS AND HAPPENINGS IN YOUR ASSOCIATION From November 1982

“Azle ISD feels blessed to be included in this program and have the wisdom of an experienced mentor,” said Suzanne Murr, Azle administrator and mentee supervisor. “I believe it ended up being a valuable experience for all three of the teachers in the agriculture program.”

"Do Ladies Teach Vocational Agriculture? Texas has approximately 40 women teaching vocational agriculture this school year. They are an asset to our program and add greatly to its professional ranks. The female enrollment of the Future Farmers of America is a confirmed 8,060. They have taken their rightful place in all phases of the vocational agriculture program and Future Farmers of America activities. Winning teams work together."

Over 95% of administrators who have had a teacher participate in the mentor program have said they would welcome our program back to their school the next time they find themselves with a first year ag teacher. Feedback has included that we not only benefit teachers, but the whole school and students, and that our program can be valuable for every teacher in the department. This program would not be possible without the generous financial donation from Herman and Bobbie Wilson. Mentors are compensated for their travel, time, and expertise.

During the 2020, Texas had 992 women teaching agricultural science that were Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas members and the female enrollment of the Texas FFA Association is 61,271.

As the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas Mentor Program continues to grow in size, it also continues to grow in our level of success. Every new teacher we can keep in the profession is a success story.

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Teach Ag Tips SUMMER PREPARATION TIPS

END OF YEAR WRAP UP AND WIND DOWN BY: TRAYLOR LENZ, ANGLETON

As we approach the end of the school year, it is a great time to both reflect on the past year and prepare for success in the year ahead. 1. Look back to see what worked in your classroom and what didn’t work as well as you hoped. How can we make those learning opportunities better for future students? 2. Think about the activities your chapter participated in and assess if you want to change any of those activities. You may end up dropping some events or adding better activities. 3. Take time to inventory your shop, greenhouse, barn, etc. and see what supplies need to be replaced. 4. Before the business office staff leaves for summer, get all bills paid and book summer travel. 5. Look into summer workshops and participate in state degree check to help your area evaluate degrees, etc. 6. Make sure your administrators have your plans for summer work days and FFA activities. Sending a reminder to parents and students about procedures and expectations can hopefully reduce stress. 7. Visit with your validation committee members to plan for the validations that take place over the summer. It is also a good time to visit with parents and students who will have projects on feed over the summer to make a plan on project visits. I hope you had a great year and that you will find time to recharge over the summer for another successful year. 26


B Y: L I LY P R U I T T C H A V E Z H I G H S C H O O L A G R I C U LT U R E S C I E N C E T E A C H E R

GROWING PROFESSIONALLY

WITH THE NATIONAL FFA ORGANIZATION’S TEACHER AMBASSADOR PROGRAM

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hen I was a new teacher, I spent so much time looking for resources, soaking in as much information as I could, and asking those around me for advice. Ten years into my teaching career, I found myself getting too comfortable. I wasn’t growing as much professionally as I did in those early years, which drove me to begin looking for something that would allow me to both grow professionally and give back to agricultural science education. In early spring of 2019, a friend of mine suggested I apply for the National FFA Orgization’s Teacher Ambassador Program. The following April, I was accepted into the program.

overwhelming finding resources those first few years can be. Even as an experienced teacher, I had no idea how many resources National FFA has readly available to us. Like many ag teachers, I had used the FFA Student Handbook lessons, but until I became an Ambassador I had no idea about Blue 365 lessons, Retiring Officer Addresses, SAE for All, the SAE Video Library, and so much more. As part of my commitment, I regularly share many free resources provided by National FFA through social media. Finding and sharing curriculum and classroom resources with other ag teachers has always been a strength of mine, and now I get to do it in a formal capacity. Through this work I have been able to develop deeper relationships with fellow educators because of our mutual interest in sharing resources.

My first task as an National FFA Teacher Ambassador was to attend training in Indianapolis, Indiana at the National FFA Center. I had no idea what to expect, but I was excited to visit the center for the first time. It was amazing to be able to see historic items such as the first FFA jacket and view first-hand the expansive history of the organization, which I get to teach kids about every fall.

Presenting workshops is another part of the Ambassador program that I have become passionate about. While I had assisted presenting workshops before, I have had to learn to step out of my comfort zone to present solo. Recently, I have presented during a district wide in-service day, to this past spring’s block of student teachers at Louisiana State University, and to teachers across the country during a webinar sponsored by the National Association of Agricultural Educators.

Our training consisted of an informational session regarding the resources available to teachers via National FFA. We were also asked to provide feedback to the staff regarding the usefulness of those particular resources. In addition, I was able to connect with other ag teachers from across the country with diverse backgrounds who teach in various rural, suburban, and urban programs. Being able to connect with teachers from other states provided me with a different perspective as an educator and an FFA advisor.

Being a part of the National FFA Orgization’s Teacher Ambassador Program has allowed me to continue the professional growth I was searching for a couple of years ago. I encourage you to actively search for growth opportunities. Whether that is finding inspiration from a veteran teacher, discovering fresh ideas for curriculum and engagement, or actively participating in teacher organizations; all in all I believe that the resources are available, you just have to find what works for you.

One of the most rewarding parts of being a National FFA Teacher Ambassador is being able to connect teachers, especially early career teachers, with the right resources to benefit their classroom. I remember how 27


BY: T E R R Y B A I Z E P R E S I D E N T O F T H E A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N O F T E X A S A N D H A M I LT O N H I G H S C H O O L A G R I C U LT U R E S C I E N C E T E A C H E R

FROM THE RANGE

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hat a crazy spring for agricultural education and the Texas FFA! In my wildest dreams I never could have foreseen the events that have happened, or not, over the past few months. I wish I could write this article congratulating you for finishing up banquets and on all of your spring career development and livestock exhibition successes. Even the summer events, such as leadership camps, the Texas FFA Convention, the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (ATAT) Professional Development Conference, have been affected. Many hard decisions have been made by Texas Team Ag Ed, with many more to come.

leadership and development be new challenges to face. I experiences this summer. can only hope once this passes, we can return to some sense One of these new experiences of normalcy and get back to provided by ATAT was Ag Teacher the business of educating our Talk Tuesdays. If you did not students. I do not know if things have the opportunity to join one will ever be the same again, but of these, I would encourage you I have no doubt that whatever to go watch them. They can be the future may hold, we will find found under the Resources tab a way to meet these challenges on the ATAT website, under and come out stronger on the video gallery. I sat in and found other side. them very uplifting. That being said, my hope is for I want to applaud the Texas FFA all of you to have a relaxing staff, area coordinators, and summer after the stressful spring those involved with completely we have had. Again I will close reengineering the way we with a quote from Clay Tarpley, submit scholarships, awards, my superintendent, “Do your and degree applications. District job, act right, and have fun!” and area officer elections, and speaking development events all See you from the range. had to be held in a completely new way with just a few short weeks to prepare. I was involved “I HAVE NO DOUBT in a small way in making this happen and I am amazed at the THAT WHATEVER amount of work done in such THE FUTURE MAY a short period of time to make everything come together. The HOLD, WE WILL FIND level of innovation exhibited A WAY TO MEET was nothing short of miraculous. THESE CHALLENGES There is truly no end to what we can accomplish if we work AND COME OUT together. STRONGER ON THE

While I could dwell on the negatives and what could have been, I choose not to. The old saying goes “when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade,” and I believe agricultural educators, Texas FFA, and the ATAT have been doing just this. Austin and Ray, along with the FFA and ATAT staff, have been working tirelessly to navigate these uncharted waters and ensure you and your students will have meaningful and relevant As we move forward, there will

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30 51


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AG TEACHER SPOTLIGHT

TRAYLOR LENZ

ANGLETON HIGH SCHOOL TENURE: 22 YEARS

WHY DO YOU TEACH AG? I teach ag to motivate the next generation to become involved in agriculture and help feed the world. I enjoy seeing young people reach a goal or understand a new concept. Competitions are also another motivation for me.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASSROOM MEMORY? My favorite classroom memory is when my landscaping class designed a project around a memorial bench at our ag barn.

WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT AG EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT? Ag Education is very important because we are preparing students for a great future. Finding new ways to feed 10 billion people is going to be a huge task, so giving today's students the background to get there is very important.

DO YOU HAVE ADVICE ON BALANCING WORK/ HOME LIFE? This is a difficult question. I have been very blessed to have a very understanding wife and family. They know how much I enjoy teaching agricultural science and being an FFA advisor. It is all about surrounding yourself with people who understand your passions in life. It is giveand-take on both sides.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF AS A FIRST-YEAR TEACHER? Be patient. You can’t do it all in the first year. They say it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert. That's about four or five years to reach that level. Also, do not be afraid to ask for help!!

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Teach Ag Tips YOUR SUMMER BREAK TO DO LIST

TASKS YOUR FUTURE SELF WILL THANK YOU FOR BY: MICHELLE VASBINDER, RUDDER

Refect - Take a little time to reflect on this past school year. List out what went right, what went wrong, and what would make your life easier. This gives you an action item list you can tend to throughout summer. Nothing changes or improves without a little reflection. Curriculum Building - I am sure the last thing you want to think about is lesson plans! However, now is the time to set your school life up. It is an amazing feeling to have your lessons in order so in August you walk in that door prepared. We know how many things pop up in a single school day, and by having your classroom plans set you will eliminate a magnitude of stress. Start by editing your scope and sequence, listing out lessons that need to be added to and built. Take a few days to reach out to teachers at neighboring schools and collaborate on your lessons. The best planning I have ever done was when surrounded by my neighboring College Station gals. Professional Development Planning - Think about what kind of professional development you can use. Don’t wait until ATAT Conference to decide. Plan ahead! My first few years of teaching I missed out on awesome professional development opportunities I could have greatly used because I simply didn't realize I needed it. Invest in yourself throughout the summer, not just one week of it. Rest - You made it! Though our jobs really never end, June should be a month of rest and relaxation. Take some time for yourself to do whatever rejuvenates you. Burnout is real, but can be prevented. Recharge your batteries so come August you are not only rested and ready, but pumped about the new school year. I hope you spend time resting and recharging, and I hope this helps you prepare for another year in the life of an ag teacher. 33


BY: R AY P I E N I A Z E K A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N O F T E X A S E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R

GROWING AS A PROFESSIONAL

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re you an active participant in your own growth and development as a teacher? Are changes happening around you that you are not ready for? You can take charge of your own development! Personal development can include local inservices, reading on your own time, going to workshops, or attending our Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas Professional Development Conference each summer. As Steve Jobs said, "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." Become involved in your school district's local inservice planning by offering up your knowledge. Ask to be a part of the inservice planning process, or offer to be a presenter so it becomes more valuable to you and all involved. Being an active participant in your training shows you are an asset and you value what administration is doing. Share the great things you are doing in your classroom and community. You can also offer to conduct a workshop on a topic you are well versed in to the community education or adult education providers in your school and

community. This can provide opportunities for content development while also working on your educational techniques. In light of recent happenings in our world, you must be able to adapt and change the way you do things. Reading personal development books is a great way to grow on your own. Many of you use Amazon Prime, which has innumerable books you can download and read. There are also many websites and blogs with materials for growing and improving both yourself and your classroom. Taking care of your health to ensure you can handle another year of rigor is something you must consider.

In addition, our association would love to start offering more summer workshops outside of our annual conference setting. When I first started teaching, it was common for teachers to go to multiple workshops to improve their knowledge. Think about attending livestock or wildlife management extension workshops. If you need CEUs for your certificates, attend relevant workshops as often as possible to stay up to date.

If you are not growing, how do you expect to keep your students up to date with what is happening in the world? The motto of “learning to do and doing to learn” is important to all of us. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, Our Association’s Professional “Tell me and I forget, teach me Development Conference is held and I may remember, involve me each summer to develop you as a and I learn.” teacher and person. We strive to develop a well rounded educational opportunity through our planning “BEING AN ACTIVE process. You can map out which PARTICIPANT IN workshops are most valuable for you, attend the general sessions YOUR TRAINING to see what is happening with your SHOWS YOU ARE profession and motivate you for the coming year or visit with our AN ASSET AND exhibitors to find new resources YOU VALUE WHAT to utilize in the classroom. Our advice is to experience as much as ADMINISTRATION possible, keep an open mind and IS DOING." you will be able to find something to help you.

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R

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BY: AU ST I N L A RG E T E X A S F FA A S S O C I AT I O N E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R

DEVELOPING STUDENT POTENTIAL

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reek philosopher Plato is said to be the first person to coin the phrase “necessity is the mother of invention.” There is no doubt the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented the necessity for invention in all facets of society. The virus has impacted individuals, families, communities, and organizations throughout the Lone Star State; the Texas FFA Association is no exception. As the state officers and staff have worked to innovate solutions (reimagine programs, readjust program delivery methods, and craft multiple contingency plans), we have continually circled back to “why” we do what we do in agricultural education and through the FFA. I’m a huge proponent of reflection, I always have been, and this prolonged period of social isolation during COVID-19 has provided a lot of time to reflect on our organization’s vision and mission. The mission of the FFA organization is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership,

personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. This mission guides our actions, so we can achieve the vision of growing dynamic leaders, building robust local communities, and strengthen the agriculture industry through an informed consumer base and skilled talent pipeline. When I think about it, development is truly at the heart of what we do in agricultural education and the FFA. The Society for International Development (SID) defines development as a process that creates growth, progress, or positive change. This definition seems to align closely with our organizational mission and vision, and our belief that through a student’s involvement in our program we are seeking to grow them, progress their station in life, and become a catalyst for change in their communities. Premier Leadership: Often we think of the leadership opportunities provided to students like the State Excellence Conferences, State/Area/District Leadership Camps, Officer Training Workshops, District/ Area/State FFA Conventions, and other formal leadership

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training programs that students go through. Personal Growth: Typically, we equate this tenant of the mission to serving in officer roles or as members of a committee, setting goals and working to achieve them, and the social-emotional growth students gain through relationships and mentorship. Career Success: Competitive Events, Supervised Agricultural Experiences, and the attainment of FFA awards and degrees are usually highlighted when we want to talk about our organization's commitment to career success. In this current unprecedented

“TIMES SUCH AS THESE REINFORCE THE FACT THAT WE SHOULD BE FAR MORE DRIVEN BY OUR MISSION, RATHER THAN THE “THINGS” WE NORMALLY DO.”


time, many of the traditional activities and strategies we have employed to bring our mission to life are null and void. Personally, I’ve struggled with the constant decisions to postpone, reformat, and cancel the events and student experiences which consume our spring. Admittedly, for a while I was so upset at all the things we couldn’t do that I forgot what was the most important. Times such as these reinforce the fact that we should be far more driven by our mission, rather than the “things” we normally do. We just have to get creative to make good on our promise of holistic development for students during this period of prolonged social distancing and campus closures. As you look to help your students, campuses, and communities heal after COVID-19, I implore you to keep our mission in mind as you think about establishing your new normal. How can we do more at the local level to make our mission possible for more students? How do we phase back into our routines of leadership conferences, officer elections, and competitive events with a different outlook on the “why” behind those activities? I’ve heard it said before that what you focus on, expands. Let that sink in for a minute.

If the focus of what we are doing is just to get students elected, to have the most delegates, or to win a banner/buckle, then once we accomplish those goals our purpose ends. If we look at everything we do through the lens of our mission, the intent should be about developing student potential, and the outcomes of that focus have no limit. There have been a lot of tough decisions made over the last several months, and we may not be through with them. There have been some tough pills to swallow, a lot of hard news to deliver, and so much worry and anxiety about our students and communities. When I made the switch in my mindset to focus less on the lost opportunities and more on our mission, I can tell you that I’ve been able to tackle my work with a renewed sense of vigor. The winds of premier leadership, personal growth, and career success are filling my sails. I’m excited to work alongside our students and staff to innovate during this time of necessity to make sure students are still being developed, just in a different way. Stay safe and well my friends, I look forward to seeing you all soon!

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BY: A A RO N A L E JA N D RO T E X A S F FA F O U N DAT I O N E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R

DEVELOPMENT…MAKE IT A HABIT

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’m your constant companion. I’m your greatest helper and your heaviest burden. I’ll push you onward, or drag you down to failure. I’m at your command. Half the tasks you do might as well be turned over to me as I’m able to do them quickly and consistently. I’m easily managed. All you have to do is be firm with me, show me exactly how you want it done, and after a few lessons, I’ll do it automatically. I’m the servant of all great people. Of course, I’m also the servant of those who have failed. I’ve helped make great individuals, and I too have made less than desirables. I work with the precision of a marvelous computer and the intelligence of a human being. You may run me for profit or run me for ruin, it makes no difference to me. Be easy with me, and I will destroy you. Be firm with me, and I will put the world at your feet. Who am I? I’m a habit. Humans are creatures of habit. Do we have positive or negative habits? Habits embracing the status quo or habits developing a growth mindset. Do we have

habits and traits we want to pass on to our children, families, workplace, and community? It has been said we are one of the most easily programmed animals of all. Many professionals estimate 95% of our day is administered out of habit. Our days are routine.

and competitions all arise. What about the stewardship of the organization? There is generally not a lot of discussion on this topic. However, when I ask, if they ever talk about where your teacher went to college, wow! Slogans, chants, and hand gestures abound. We need to establish a culture and habit of “What lies behind us and what the organizational stewardship lies before us are tiny matters of FFA as much as we do for our compared to what lies within college alma maters. us,” stated Oliver Wendell Holmes. He was right on track Changing the habit will require when talking about our example. some time and effort. First, you Unfortunately, many people have to be aware of the situation have done things the same way you wish to change. At the Texas so long they’ve ended up in a FFA Foundation, we have had rut. I have heard that a rut is a interns who will send an email or grave with the ends kicked out. write a letter that begins with a college word or phrase – this is a Goals and priorities often drive our habits and individual development. For instance, if “WE NEED TO we say that our organization is ESTABLISH A “the best,” two questions come to mind: according to who, and CULTURE AND what is the bar we are using HABIT OF THE to make that claim? Each year during Foundation Ambassador ORGANIZATIONAL training at convention, I ask STEWARDSHIP OF the students some general FFA AS MUCH AS WE questions about what their teacher visits with them about. DO FOR OUR COLLEGE Things like agriculture, stock ALMA MATERS." showing, community service, 38


time for coaching and professional development. Our audience hails from colleges and universities all over the United States. We are proud of our local colleges and universities but, this is not the habit in communication we want to develop. Who is setting the bar on expectations of excellence? What subject are they an expert in? What credentials, awards, or recognitions identify their expertise as valid and credible? Working with blue-chip companies and organizations with incredible brand equity, professional credentialing, and recognized expertise help the Foundation staff (and all of Texas Team Ag Ed) glean best practices and standards which develop habits of excellence.

Improving habits can be developed in small stages. Being aware of habits and their impact on your life goes a long way in developing productive habits. Review and assess your progress regularly. Once positive habits replace the negative ones, chances are you’ll be excited and looking for more ways to accommodate this newfound excitement in life. The result of all of this is happier relations. That is development. Everyone agrees we could use a little less stress in life. It is not easy to change a habit, it takes time and dedication. Everyone is in favor of progress, it is the change they don’t like. Development is a lot like leadership. If it was easy, everyone would want to do it.

Examine your daily routine for areas of improvement. Are we developing ourselves as a better leader, or is that just encouragement we give to others? If at this point we’re feeling a bit uncomfortable, good. We are out of denial and on the road to repairing the ruts.

“ONCE POSITIVE HABITS REPLACE THE NEGATIVE ONES, CHANCES ARE YOU’LL BE EXCITED AND LOOKING FOR MORE WAYS TO ACCOMMODATE THIS NEWFOUND EXCITEMENT IN LIFE.”

Place a priority on the positive behavior you are incorporating, for example; slowing down in the morning and spending a few moments of quality time to enjoy this incredible experience called life.

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Inspiring sessions led by more than 65 educators representing 22 states

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THE AET

Educational Resources to Support the Classroom Thank you for working with us and allowing us to assist your students We hope to bring innovations that help support your program and capture data to support your CTE program and Perkins Come see us at the booth at the Texas Ag Teachers’ Conference Be sure to check out our virtual SAE Management workshop listed on JudgingCard.com

Questions? Contact info@theaet.com today 41


BY: L E S H U D S O N T E X A S E D U C AT I O N A G E N C Y C T E S P E C I A L I S T

IMPLEMENTING PROGRAMS OF STUDY IN AGRICULTURE FOOD AND NATURAL RESOURCES

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areer and Technical Education (CTE) programs in Texas will move to statewide programs of study in the fall of 2020. These programs of study for Agriculture Food and Natural Resource (AFNR) were developed to prepare college and career ready students for highwage, in-demand occupations in Agriculture. There are six approved programs of study in AFNR: 1) Agribusiness, 2) Animal Science, 3) Applied Agricultural Engineering, 4) Environmental and Natural Resources, 5) Food Science and Technology, and 6) Plant Science. These programs of study allow Texas to meet the federal program approval requirements within the Strengthening CTE for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Frameworks for the programs of study are located on the TEA website on the CTE page under approved statewide programs of study. Why are programs of study good for students? The programs of study in AFNR were developed, with help from industry leaders, by using labor market information to prepare students for success after graduation. Students

who complete a program of study meet the requirements needed to graduate with a Business and Industry or STEM endorsement, if they have met the math and science requirements for the STEM endorsement in the aligned program of study. Students are also able to participate in FFA, giving more opportunities to grow and develop valuable career and leadership skills. Why are programs of study good for districts? Programs of study benefit school districts in several ways. A school district must offer the minimum number of programs of study to qualify for Perkins funds. The number of programs of study required is based on the number of high school students in your district. CTE students will no longer be coded using self-reported data based on intent; instead, students will be auto-coded based on the CTE courses they have completed in a program of study. Students will now be coded as non-CTE students, CTE participators, CTE explorers, CTE concentrators, or CTE completers. Only CTE concentrators and CTE completers will be considered CTE learners for the purposes of federal and

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state reporting. Schools may use Perkins funds to support courses in a program of study. What you should know about the transition to programs of study. In some schools, the AFNR programs of study will look similar to the locally developed course sequences designed to meet the Business and Industry endorsement requirements. In other schools, the programs of study could create changes in their AFNR programs. To develop a program of study in AFNR you must offer three or more courses,

“THESE PROGRAMS OF STUDY FOR AGRICULTURE FOOD AND NATURAL RESOURCE (AFNR) WERE DEVELOPED TO PREPARE COLLEGE AND CAREER READY STUDENTS FOR HIGHWAGE, IN-DEMAND OCCUPATIONS IN AGRICULTURE.�


for a minimum of four credits, with at least one course being a level three or level four within an approved statewide program of study. A school can offer a course in a program of study every other year, giving smaller schools the ability to offer programs of study with limited resources. If a school has a program of study in Animal Science or Plant Science, they can use the Advance Animal Science and the Advance Plant Science to fulfill a course in the program of study and a science credit. Offering one of these AFNR courses for science credit can increase the opportunity for an active student to complete a program of study in a full schedule. Many of the courses in the AFNR programs of study have an option to add a lab or field experience to a course giving schools the option of extending a course to two credits. The Practicum in Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources is a great opportunity for students to get work based learning experience, develop their SAE projects, or earn an industry-based certification. The recommended industry-based certification for each of the AFNR programs of study are located on the program of study frameworks.

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If you have a problem with the services provided by this credit union, please contact us at: VATAT Credit Union, 614 E. 12th Street, Austin, Texas 78701; (512)Ǧ472Ǧ3258 or (800)Ǧ777Ǧ1825. The credit union is incorporated under the laws of the State of Texas and under state law is subject to regulatory oversight by the Texas Credit Union Department. If any dispute is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may also file a complaint against the credit union by contacting the Texas Credit Union Department at 914 East Anderson Lane, Austin, Texas 78752Ǧ1699; (512) 837Ǧ9236 or online at www.cud.texas.gov

DORMANT ACCOUNTS—WE ARE REQUIRED TO TURN OVER TO THE STATE INACTIVE ACCOUNTS. CALL & SET UP ACH OR LOANS TO STAY ACTIVE!

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For more information on programs of study or any AFNR questions, please reach out to les.hudson@ tea.texas.gov.

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DISH is proud to support Texas ag education. Introducing the DISH Ambassador Program, a new way to fundraise for Texas FFA chapters Are you an FFA advisor? Learn how your chapter can participate in the DISH Ambassador Program at dish.com/FFA

FFA and its members are not authorized retailers of DISH products and services, for information on DISH products and services please contact DISH directly. Door-to-door distribution of materials regarding the DISH-FFA program is prohibited. Telephone solicitation in connection with the DISH-FFA program is prohibited. Use of the FFA Name or Mark does not represent an endorsement by FFA of this product or service or an endorsement by FFA of the manufacturer or provider of this product or service. From October 24, 2018 until June 31, 2019, for every new and qualifying former customer that signs up under DISH’s Digital Home Advantage program, FFA will receive $200.00. Restrictions apply. Program not available in AL, HI, IL, MA, MI, SC. See website for details.

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B Y: S A N D R A C H O AT E S TAT E E X E C U T I V E S E C R E TA R Y

TEXAS YOUNG FARMERS

UPDATES W

hile the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of changes to our world, not all of them have been bad. The Texas Young Farmers Board of Directors hopes we have all experienced some valued family time and learned to check our blessings more often than our to-do list. COVID-19 has forced all of us to adapt to changes in our thinking, our habits, and our daily life. We are praying for those who have lost loved ones and believe God has a plan and purpose for all. As we enter the summer season, we want to focus on the positive changes. At our 2020 State Convention in Denton, Texas, we established a “Chapter Challenge.” We are encouraging all Texas Young Farmers Chapters, Texas FFA Alumni and Supporters Chapters, and FFA Booster Clubs to participate. We believe this is a great way to engage and challenge your adult organization members!

• Invite your Area Texas Young Farmer VP to a meeting or event. • Host a chapter recreational activity. • Host a leadership training activity for adults and youth. • Have a chapter activity with your local FFA members. • Show appreciation to your local agricultural science teachers. • Show appreciation to a local agriculture business. • Participate in a local community service activity or event. • Promote agriculture in your community.

Agriculture advocacy and adult education is a major part of our organization’s mission and essential to the agriculture industry. We believe your local Texas FFA members are some of the best advocates for agriculture you will ever meet, and we want to encourage the adults working with those members to also promote our industry in their communities.

Complete as many of these tasks as you can. We feel sure there are some you already have planned. Take a picture (or two, or ten!) and submit them with a short description. Further instructions The 2020 Texas Young Farmer can be found on our website at Board reminds each of you to stay www.txyoungfarmers.org. safe, stay healthy and encourage you to step up to the challenge! If you are interested in establishing

We challenge your organization to complete the list prior to the 93rd Annual Texas FFA Convention, July 5-9, 2021. The Texas Young Farmers will highlight participants and recognize the chapter(s) we think were outstanding. • Host a youth education activity. • Show appreciation for your local first responders.

a Young Farmers Chapter in your community, county, or area feel free to contact any of our board members. Their names are below and their contact information can be found on our website. We would be happy to visit with you and get you moving in the Young Farmers direction!

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B Y: K E L LY W H I T E T E X A S F FA A L U M N I P R E S I D E N T

TEXAS FFA ALUMNI AND SUPPORTERS

UPDATES

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gricultural science teachers are known for making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. It is a rewarding, yet challenging and stressful job. You don’t have to do it alone! There are other organizations and affiliates you can lean on to provide assistance. These are support groups. What is a support group? Each Alumni affiliate or chapter is different in the support they give. My local FFA chapter’s support group is the Lake Travis FFA Alumni and Supporters Affiliate. They provide financial support, physical support, and can be a positive, vocal group of supporters in your community. If you don’t have one of these groups, here is how you can develop one supported by the Texas FFA Association and the National FFA Organization. Who can become an FFA Alumni and Supporters member?

state, and national level.

affiliate program providing basic support to all volunteers at the local How do you establish a new affiliate. A minimum of 10 local FFA Alumni and Supporters affiliate members will continue to affiliate? be in place for the affiliate to be considered active. Local FFA alumni affiliates are required to have at least 10 A National Life Membership is a members who have paid National one-time $200 investment in the FFA Alumni member dues and future of our organization. Your State FFA Alumni dues; have a investment ensures the FFA will constitution/bylaws in harmony be around for future generations with the National FFA Alumni of agriculturalists. You will help Bylaws; have a council of elected provide leadership training members; submit the completed opportunities to as many FFA application for local charter, a members as possible so they can constitution/bylaws, a completed exert an influence in their home roster, and national and state and community. National Life dues to the Texas FFA Alumni and members receive a membership Supporters Association. card, a membership certificate, a lifetime subscription to the FFA How much does an FFA Alumni New Horizons magazine, the ability and Supporters membership to attend personal and professional cost? development conferences and conventions, and many more For an Annual National member benefits. Membership, Texas has opted for the National FFA Affiliation If you have any questions Program. Annual membership please feel free to contact me at fees are $100 per local affiliate kbwhite63@gmail.com. (plus any state dues), providing basic support to all affiliate “YOU DON’T HAVE members. A minimum of 10 local affiliate members will continue to TO DO IT ALONE! be in place for the affiliate to be THERE ARE OTHER considered active. Annual fees are waived if the local affiliate has at ORGANIZATIONS AND least 25 life members at the end AFFILIATES YOU CAN of the preceding membership year.

Anyone can be an alumni member! Membership is open to anyone interested in supporting and promoting agriculture, agricultural An Annual State Membership fee education, and the FFA at the local, is $100 per local affiliate for the

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