NEWS A Texas Team Ag Ed Publication
Developing Culture Michael Meadows, Simms
In 2014, I had the privilege of participating in the Texas FFA Foundation LEAD experience. It was one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my professional career. I wish every ag teacher could participate in this week long, traveling, leadership event. One item we talked about was organizational culture. I had heard and had read about this term, but still didn’t know much about it. After the LEAD experience, I had a much better understanding of how it could help any organization reach success. I have noticed over the years that certain Agricultural Education programs take on the personality of the ag teacher. Obviously, teachers have a tremendous influence on their students to the point where their habits, beliefs, and values are reflected in the student’s actions and attitudes. This phenomenon is very relatable to organizational culture. When building organizational culture, the mission and core values permeate every facet of the organization. They are posted in numerous places, mentioned regularly, and reinforced by each member. Over time, these core values become the reputation
of the organization. This doesn’t happen by accident and doesn’t occur overnight. It takes a focused, concentrated effort to develop a culture that helps the organization reach its goals and be successful. I began to think about the culture in our ag department and FFA chapter in Simms. It became obvious to me that a certain culture existed and could be observed in the actions, attitudes, and values of our students. Without even trying to cultivate a specific culture, one had developed. This made me question how we could increase our chances for success and make improvements by intentionally cultivating and developing the culture we desired. My teaching partner and I have always tried to instill characteristics like honesty, integrity, responsibility, patriotism, and a strong work ethic in our students. These core values are desperately needed in our society and developing a culture around these characteristics in our programs will benefit our students even after they leave us. I challenge you to reflect on your program’s culture. Is it what you want it to be? Involve your students to develop a mission
and identify what core values are important to them. Post these all over your facility. Each time a student reads them, they will be reminded of what is important in your department and it will begin to effect how they go about their business. Student input is important. We all know if they feel some ownership, they support it and help you promote it. As the teacher, you must reinforce the culture by what you say, what you do, and how you do it. We must “walk the walk,” not just “talk the talk.” Developing a healthy culture is another tool to help us be successful in molding the students in our programs. Until next month, be safe!
Contract Time Barney McClure, VATAT Executive Director
For many teachers this is the time of year to begin looking for the “offer of employment letter” for next school year. It is possible that some teachers are on a two-year contract, but they are a definite minority. For everyone else, this is a key time. Under current school law, a teacher must be notified if they will receive an offer of employment no later than 15 days before the last day of instruction. That could be as late as mid-May, but most districts will start the process in April. They will often ask for a signature from the teacher stating they would like to be considered for a contract the next year. While not a binding contract, this letter gets the ball rolling. Even after signing a contract, the teacher may resign with no penalty as late as 45 days before the first day of instruction. That date usually falls during the first or second week in July, but depending on your school calendar, may be earlier or later. Administrators looking to fill a staff usually won’t be happy with a resignation after the teacher signs a contract, but it does happen. After the 45-day window, a district may put a “flag” on your certificate for two years if you resign during that period. This designation makes you unemployable as a teacher during that time frame. It is possible for the district to release you from that contract if you request it after that 45-day restriction if they can hire a suitable replacement. That hiring process can take a month or more to complete, and if another district is waiting on you, it puts them in a bind. Currently there are two kinds of contracts being offered. The first is a probationary contract, usually offered for three years to a beginning teacher. While good for the duration of the contract, there is no right to an ensuing contract. Districts may inform the teacher that “for the good of the district,” they have decided to make a change. Experienced teachers moving to a new district may also find themselves on this type contract their first year in the new job. The second type of contract is called a term contract. It must be renewed each year, and a teacher has some right to expect an ensuing contract. If another contract is not 2
offered, there must be some reason documented. In some cases, it doesn’t take much to trigger this happening. A teacher doesn’t have to be put on a growth plan as an intermediate step in this process. Our association can step in to help if a teacher finds himself or herself in this situation. We can help some teachers keep their job, while with others we aren’t as successful. There are some of our elected leaders who think all teachers should be on a probationary contract with no right to be renewed. This is brought up at times as giving local districts more flexibility in hiring and retention. We will be watching. I would hate to see this happen after a teacher spends $50,000 to $75,000 on an education, takes a job, moves to a community, and then finds he or she can’t really count on long-term employment. With all this said, most teachers in wellrun districts can look forward to a rewarding, long term career that matters. Our program depends upon this.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE VATAT.......................................1 - 2 Foundation..............................4 Alumni................................6 Young Farmers......................8 - 9
WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK OUR MEMBERS FOR A WONDERFUL 2017 AND WISH YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES A HAPPY & HEALTHY 2018. WE LOOK FORWARD TO SERVING YOUR FINANCIAL NEEDS IN THE UPCOMING YEAR & WELCOMING NEW MEMBERS INTO OUR GROWING FAMILY. PLEASE CONTACT US TODAY TO FIND OUT HOW WE CAN SAVE YOU MONEY ON YOUR RECENT VEHICLE PURCHASES, AG/FARM EQUIPMENT OR CONSOLIDATING HIGHER INTEREST CREDIT CARDS FROM THE HOLIDAYS!
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Carlos X. Guerra, La Muneca Cattle Co.
Animo is my favorite word because it represents the positive traits of a leader and winner – commitment, dedication, desire, passion, spirit and heart. A person without animo will never optimize their potential. I encourage all our young people to be good role models and do it with animo! As a way to inspire others, I close all of my communications with the word animo. It is a constant reminder for others and myself to live a legacy- a legacy forged in commitment, dedication, desire, passion, spirit and heart. My family decided to start a La Muneca Cattle Co & Friends Animo Award at the American Jr. Simbrah Round Up and at the All-American Jr. Brahman Shows. Our goal is to to reward some great kiddos who are helping others ahead of themselves. These students are winners in life – far more important than any honors in a show ring. Our first winner at the All-American Jr.
Brahman Show was Megan Lambert. Her attitude, performance and testimony inspired us and others to create The Brahman Foundation has created over $100,000 in leadership, educational, scholarship and showmanship opportunities for hundreds of Jr. Brahman enthusiasts in just two short years. Please remember these three sayings 1) No one has ever drowned in sweat, 2) The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary 3) the most famous ten two letter words: if it is to be – it is up to me! Animo inspires others to dream big, work hard and be the best they can be while empowering those who will follow in our footsteps. I share this story to challenge others to do their part to change the world and make it a better place for all young people wanting to make something of themselves with hard work and lots of animo! Animo mis amigos!
wake up on the bright side® ©2017 LQ Worlwide, LLC. All rights reserved. LA QUINTA is a registered trademark of La Quinta Worldwide in the US and certain other countries.
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UPDATE Go Ahead
Kelly White, Texas FFA Alumni President
Telling you to “go ahead and brag” may not be the best advice because we all know someone that works our nerves due to their bragging. So perhaps let’s not brag too much on ourselves but brag about others. Actually, let’s not call it bragging- let’s call it positive advertisement. Here is some positive advertisement about the Texas FFA Alumni! Each year, Texas FFA Alumni gives out the following awards and recognizes individuals at the Texas FFA Convention: • Four Washington Leadership Conference scholarships totaling $550 each • Four $500 scholarships • Ten $500 local grants • Partners with the Past State Officer’s Alumni and welcomes the outgoing state officers by paying their Lifetime Dues • VATAT Professional Development Conference sponsor
All a chapter has to do to be considered for a above mentioned award is to have an active local FFA Alumni Affiliate. The Texas FFA Alumni Association operates on money raised from dues and at the annual Alumni Auction, held in conjunction with the Texas FFA Convention. Donations from our supporters have averaged almost $15,000 a year for the past 4 years. We hope to see you at this year’s auction. So, go ahead and brag! Do you want to provide “positive advertisement” about your alumni affiliate? Email email@example.com Go to http://texasffaalumni.ffanow.org/ and register to get timely updates and messages. Grants and scholarship information can be found as well.
THERE CAN’T BE A GAME WON WITHOUT A GAME PLAN See what Texas FFA students have to say at mytexasffa.org 6
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3/15/18 3:57 PM
UPDATE Notes From
Bob Young, Texas Young Farmers Executive Secretary
There are not many times in the world of agriculture when we aren’t busy. Texas Young Farmer Chapters are currently conducting numerous local activities within their communities. The greatest aspect of these activities is that they are geared to benefit people—people in agriculture and people who may not realize that they are involved in agriculture. Just as farmers and ranchers have had to adjust production practices in order to produce quality products that meet the demanding needs of consumers, Young Farmer chapters have had to improve their products as well. These products are service and education. I’ve had the pleasure to see Young Farmer members assist ag teachers and FFA members at several local stock shows. Several chapters conduct activities to acquaint elementary students with the world of agriculture, to help them to realize where food and clothing really come from. I marvel at how hard these chapters work cooperatively and continuously on fundraising projects to provide scholarship opportunities for graduating seniors. Often, Young Farmer chapters provids the monetary assistance to the FFA Chapters with trip expenses. Young Farmers share their expertise in various areas of agriculture to help train leadership and judging teams, advise students about career and educational opportunities, and teach all-important communication and life skills, part of everyone’s development in life. But we also know that Young Farmers do not limit their activities to agriculture. We have chapters who provide free meals to service veterans. We have chapter members who 8
regularly read to elementary students. They build playground equipment, volunteer at the local VFD, and visit nursing home patients during the holidays. So, yes, just as in the FFA, the main goal of Young Farmers is to provide service. And when we make the most of service opportunities, we affect the entire community. As they say, “You just can’t beat a deal like that.” I have to brag about our State Officer Team this year. Many of them have already contacted ag teachers and agricultural leaders in their communities to spread the good news about Texas Young Farmers. We will have a State Officers meeting on April 7th in Bryan/ College Station to discuss and plan yearly activities and projects. Also on the agenda is a discussion about positive adaptations that we might make in order to attract more members and meet the needs of the diversified society in which we live. We’ll review the “Program of Work” and ensure that we adhere to its guidelines. Additionally, we’ll prepare for the Young Farmer State Convention, which will be held in Temple on January 10-12, 2019. All the things mentioned above are what constitute the “busy” part of our participation in projects and activities for the good of all the community. We may tell ourselves that we are too busy to take on any new responsibilities, but the truth is that responsibilities are the sources of additional opportunities. Until next time, remember the words of Leonardo da Vinci: “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
Texas Young Farmers Officer Spotlight Savannah Martinez, Secretary and Area XI VP She is a Colorado native, but Texan at heart. Her love of agriculture and dedication to the food industry makes Young Farmers the perfect fit for her hobbies and interests to flourish. Her Young Farmer career began at Colorado State University where she was nominated to compete in the Colorado Young Farmers Spokesperson for Agriculture Contest. After winning, she continued her Young Farmer ambitions by becoming the National Young Farmers Ag Communications Contest Winner in San Antonio, Texas. National Young Farmers sent Savannah to Washington D.C. for the Agricultureâ€™s Promise conference where she was able to communicate the importance of agricultural education programs to her congressmen/women. This experience encouraged her to stay involved with Young Farmers, and she remained a state officer in Colorado for many years.
However, she couldnâ€™t shake the love she felt for Texas and has happily found a home in Gonzales, Texas as well as with the Texas Young Farmers Educational Association. As a Food Technologist by day, CrossFit athlete by night, and rancher everywhere in between, Savannah enjoys her busy life. She is looking forward to serving on this officer team, which is full of passionate and ambitious leaders.
Thank You to Our Texas Young Farmers Sponsors Ag Workers Mutual Insurance Company
Anthony & Jo Matula Mac & Jo Nell Lamascus
Texas FFA Foundation
Randy Lenz, Stay Tuff Fence
L. A. & Janis Muehr
Koopman Catering, Allen & Connie Koopman
Thank You to Our 2018 Texas Young Farmers Officers President
VP Area I
VP Area II
Stephanie Wood Barney McClure
VP Area III
Clovia Ketchum Herbert Casey
VP Area IV
VP Area V
VP Area VI
VP Area VII
VP Area VIII
VP Area XI
VP Area XII
Photos From the 64th Annual Texas Young Farmers Convention 2017 Winners of the Ag Expressions Contest
2017 Winners of the Basket Contest
1st place - C. J. Johnson, Bryan Chapter 2nd place - Savannah Martinez, Gonzales Chapter 3rd place - Toni Fox, Teague Chapter
1st place - Savannah Martinez, Gonzales Chapter 2nd place - Megan Hausenfluck, Bryan Chapter 3rd place - Charles Rochester, Gonzales Chapter
2/28/2018 12:03:16 PM
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614 E. 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701
Upcoming Events April
1st Texas Young Farmer Scholarship Deadline
15th Texas FFA Convention Media Deadline
1st State Officer Candidate Application Deadline
1st VATAT Scholarship Application Deadline
21nd State CDEs, Lubbock
25th Ford Leadership Scholars Interviews
26th State CDEs, Stephenville
2nd Texas FFA Convention Chorus Deadline
27th State CDEs, Huntsville
15th Foundation Ambassador Application Deadline
28th State CDEs, College Station
Officers Michael Meadows, President
Tammy Christian, Vice President
Terry Baize, Secretary/Treasurer
Barney McClure, Executive Director Ashley Dunkerley, Communications Karen Jones, Membership Services Tori Rosser, Special Projects