NEWS A Texas Team Ag Ed Publication
Spotlight on Agriculture Education Shane Crafton, Henrietta
Congratulations! You have now officially survived another stock show season. I want to commend everyone on your many successes over the past three months as you traveled all over our great state to compete with your student’s projects. The people of Texas are definitely interested in what we do because I think I waited in line behind every one of them at some point over the past few weeks. I do believe the crowds have never been bigger than what we saw this year. This month I would like to discuss a little about leadership in the Agriculture Education family. Fred Fiedler once said, “The quality of leadership, more than any other single factor, determines the success or failure of an organization.” I think this statement is so very true about our Ag Education family. We have always been truly blessed with great leadership in Austin, and our current executive directors are prime examples of that excellence in leadership. Take a moment and consider the kind of people we have leading, representing and simply being the face of our organizations. Mr. McClure at the VATAT is one of those individuals who you know has your back in any situation. He has lived his entire life in service to our organization and to the students of the Texas FFA. Mr. McClure remains calm and makes very sound, intelligent decisions on our behalf. He is respected around
the state and always strives to make our profession better in everything he does. We should all feel extremely privileged to have Mr. McClure as the face of the VATAT. Mr. Alejandro, who serves at the foundation, is another lifelong family member. His work speaks for itself; look where the foundation was when he started and where it is now. The trait that impresses me the most about Mr. Alejandro is the continuous futuristic outlook he has on the organization. Our foundation is so strong because Mr. Alejandro is always pushing the needle towards where we could be, instead of settling for where we are. Mr. Large, our newest addition, is already making an impact on the Agriculture Education family. I have not had the opportunity to spend much time with him yet, but just from outside observations, I am confident we have the right man for the job. Mr. Large has a burning desire to make the Texas FFA the best it can be, whatever it takes. Mr. Whitson remains as our only connection to TEA. He is challenged with the task of ensuring that Agriculture Education remains a valuable and viable part of the Texas education system for the future. These four men, who comprise the leadership of the Agriculture Education family, play a major role in our success, but I think it is very important that we all understand
that without all of us getting on board, their jobs are impossible. We as ag teachers need to understand that they need each of us to help tell the story of the Texas Ag Education family. Too often we worry about what they can do for us. Why not ask how we can help them sell our product? These four men are all trying to advocate for the members of the Texas FFA, and we have been very successful under their leadership. However, ask yourself this: What if all of us got behind them and pushed in the same direction? How bright would the spotlight on our students be then? We all have the power to shine the spotlight. I challenge each of you to do your part to help advance the future of the Agriculture Education family.
Contract Renewal Season for Teachers Barney McClure, VATAT Executive Director For teachers that are overwhelmed with activities this time of year, contract renewal is the last thing on their minds. For others, it is a critical time in their career. I think it is valuable to review some of the facts concerning contracts. A few very experienced teachers may still be on a “continuing” contract that almost automatically renews every year. Most everyone else’s contracts seem to fall into one of two categories. Probationary contracts are those that most teachers receive within their first three years of their career or possibly after changing schools. They are good for the length of time specified, but carry no expectation or guarantee of ensuing employment. A teacher on a probationary contract may legally not be offered another contract based on the “good of the district” explanation. Term contracts are the next step in employment. While not iron-clad, there is a reasonable expectation
that a new contract will be offered for the next year. In general, there must be good reason for “nonrenewing” a teacher that has been working under a term contract. A teacher doesn’t have to be on a growth plan, but may simply have several write-ups concerning performance. No matter what kind of contract you sign, the district must tell you at least 15 days before the last day of instruction whether you will be offered a new contract. After signing, you have until 45 days before the first day of instruction to resign without penalty. Please call me if you have questions concerning your contract status. In reality, few things are more important to your career.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
VATAT................................................................1 - 3 Texas FFA..........................................................6 - 7 Foundation......................................................8 - 9 Young Farmers.............................................10 - 11
Registration and Housing now open visit VATAT.org don’t forget to check your tenure When registering 2
The VATAT Legacy Endowment is a $50,000 donation towards the VATAT scholarship fund. Gordon Davis’ intention is to recognize individuals who have assisted in CEV’s mission of providing high quality teaching materials to our members. The first 30 names were announced in the February VATAT Newsletter, below you will find the next 22 additions.
Next 25 HONOREES Wayne Blount– Denison High School & CEV Marvin Cepica - Texas Tech University Ernie Eckert – Wall High School Lewis Eggenberger – Texas Tech University Randy Harp – Tarleton State University David Howell – Cotton Center High School Bill Jowell - Sam Houston State University Mark Kroschel – Region 6 Service Center Bill Long – Stephen F. Austin State University Doug Morrish - Texas State University Michelle Pieniazek – Krum High School Jim Prewitt – Landmark Nurseries Pat Real – Samuel Clements High School Kevin Swor - Livingston High School Cindy Schnuriger – Clear Creek High School Stacy Smith - Landmark Nurseries Ed Stanley – Dimmitt High School Jerry Stockton – Texas Tech University Bill Tomlinson - IMS Chris Townsend – Texas A&M University Jerome Tymrack – Texas A&M University, Kingsville Doug Ullrich - Sam Houston State University Gary Vos – Katy High School John Weathers – Lubbock Cooper High School Randall Williams – Texas A&M University, Kingsville
T hank You founder of
Name: _________________________________________ Phone Number: _________________________________ Address: _______________________________________ Send Order Form and Payment To: VATAT Attn: Buckle 614 East 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701
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Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas 5
UPDATE Members Volunteer with Guide Dogs for the Blind
Shannon O’Quinn, Texas FFA Staff
Members of the James Madison FFA Chapter are living to serve through their atypical supervised agricultural experiences. These members have embraced the opportunity to take part in raising and training service dogs for the visually impaired.
Starting in 2015, James Madison FFA took on the new idea of a Guide Dog SAE with the help of Guide Dogs for the Blind, a non-profit organization that provides the dogs for training. Over a period of 15 months, a student fills the roll of a “puppy raiser.” This is a big commitment in which the student will raise the puppy around their daily routine as they prepare to become guide dogs. Puppy raisers are responsible for teaching basic commands, obedience, and oversee potty-training routines. The student will also introduce the puppy to social settings that a visually impaired person might encounter in his/her daily life, such as outings to school, the mall, busy streets, parks, etc.
Between the age of 13-15 months old, the dog is flown to San Rafael, California where it will receive the formal guidework training. When the dog graduates as a guide, the raisers are invited to attend a graduation ceremony in California to formally present the dog to a visually impaired individual for their lifetime partnership. In 2016 while attending the State FFA Convention, James Madison Guide Dog President, Kaitlyn Hunt bonded with Lubbock-Cooper FFA member, Faith Snapp, who is visually impaired and just applied to receive a guide dog. In December, Faith found out she would be receiving a guide dog named Prim, but due to livestock shows commitments, could not attend the graduation ceremony in California. “Kaitlyn and the rest of the 17 members of the James Madison FFA Guide Dog program wanted to throw Faith and Prim a graduation ceremony since Faith was unable to attend,” said James Madison Advisor, Janell McMullan. “From a leader stand point it was also an opportunity I could not pass up to teach my students what the ‘full’ picture looks like.”
Through the help of multiple Lubbock guide dog organizations and the Lubbock area Ronald McDonald House, the James Madison FFA Chapter was able to organize a surprise graduation ceremony for Faith and Prim. After discovering a fellow FFA member from Utah was the one who raised Prim, she was flown in to present Faith with her new guide dog. “I told my students the last line of the FFA motto states, living to serve,” said McMullan. “I think this encapsulates everything that FFA is and everything the Guide Dogs for the Blind stands for.”
Everything Speaks. Always. Austin Large, Texas FFA Executive Director I will never forget my first day of teaching methods class in college. My professor, Dr. Brad Dodson is a master at creating experiential learning moments for students. He started our hour together with a simple statement written on a tear sheet. In bold, colorful, script letters was the phrase “Everything Speaks. Always.” He had us close our eyes and picture the most effective teacher we’ve ever encountered. “What did they do? What did they say? What did their body language portray? What environment had they created? How did they treat you?” he questioned, as we conjured the image of those influential educators. Dr. Dodson put it perfectly, outstanding teachers are those that recognize each action and word, the environment they create and the way they treat people speaks volumes about their competence, confidence and character. We are in a hectic spring season filled with major livestock shows, career development events and award applications. As we travel the state over the next several months, it’s prudent to remember those wise words from Dr. Dodson, “Everything Speaks. Always.” Your students are going to take
their cue from you, their attitudes and actions will mirror your own. How you prepare for, participate in and react after shows, contests and award processes will directly influence how your students respond. Never forget the incredible impact you have on your students, and never forget that at any moment someone’s eyes are fixed on you waiting to see your next move. I share this, not to make you paranoid, but to remind you of the old adage “to whom much is given, much is expected.” I look forward to traveling the state over the next few months to watch you help your students develop their potential for premiere leadership, personal growth and career success. As the buckles and ribbons are earned, banners and plaques are won and degrees and awards are bestowed; remember the incredible role that you are playing in these young people’s lives. Help them stay humble after their wins, and hungry after their losses. Help them to understand that the journey of deepening your knowledge and honing your skills doesn’t always result in first place; their growth is the real prize. “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn” isn’t about experiential earning or experiential winning, it’s about experiential learning.
SEPT. 29 - OCT. 22, 2017
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UPDATE Notes From the Executive Secretary Don Beene, Texas Young Farmers Executive Secretary I have included the information every chapter Filing Tax Forms needs to file your chapter’s taxes. We have For Your Young Farmers Chapter 10 active chapters that do not have a valid EIN because the IRS did not receive a 990N or We have several chapters that have had their e-postcard. I know one of these chapters lost their EIN revoked and if they are not filing this form EIN in 2010 and it has not been corrected, one every year they are being dropped. day someone may check, so I suggest correcting • Each chapter should acquire their year ending the issue. It is not that hard to get another number. date. Follow the instructions to get a number and use a • Chapters must file a tax form. If chapters make different name. For example, if you are Podunk, less than $50,000 dollars they can file the electronic Texas Young Farmers – submit your name as the 990-N form (e-postcard) online. This form must be Podunk Area Texas Young Farmers to get a new filed within five and a half months from the year number. Be sure and change the number on the ending date. bank account. • Questions: Google IRS 990-N and click on the Your state officers are busy planning the 64th first link titled Form 990-N (e-postcard)-gpv. You Annual Texas Young Farmers State Convention to will find information in red on this page including: be held in Kerrville, January 5-7, 2018. The event • How to File schedule will include an ice breaker Thursday • Who Must File evening and educational tours on Friday. Saturday • Form 990-N filing due date will include the scholarship auction, workshops, • Information you will need when filing 990-N contests and will end with our banquet. There will • Search for Form 990-N filings be delicious food, great fellowship and loads of fun. I hope that you will plan to attend.
Thank You to Our Texas Young Farmers Sponsors
Photos From the 63rd Annual Texas Young Farmers Convention
Copper brewing tanks were impressive to see. Newer tanks are stainless to reduce maintenance.
Historic Spoetzl Brewery – the heart of Shiner Beers containing the visitor’s center and store.
The brewing process….an interesting visual.
Fenher & Son Grain Co. is definitely in the technological age – robots move most of the feed and grain saving time, energy and backs!
A historic picture Doc Forsythe found during the tour.
614 E. 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701
Upcoming Events April
1st Texas Young Farmer Scholarship Deadline
22nd Texas FFA Convention Chorus Deadline
1st Begin Late Swine Tag Orders
1st VATAT Scholarship Application Deadline
22nd State CDEs, Lubbock
1st State Officer Candidate Application Deadline
25th State Wildlife CDE, TBD
3rd Texas FFA Association Board Meeting, Austin
27th State CDEs, Stephenville
14th Foundation Ambassador Application Deadline
28th State CDEs, Huntsville 29th State CDEs, College Station
14th Texas FFA Convention Media Deadline
Officers Shane Crafton, President
Michael Meadows, Vice President
Tammy Christian, Secretary/Treasurer
Staff Barney McClure, Executive Director
Ashley Dunkerley, Communications
Karen Jones, Membership Services