NEWS A Texas Team Ag Ed Publication
Do I Need
Michael Meadows, Simms
It always amazes me how teachers are not considered state employees unless it benefits the state. Years without a state salary increase, increased annual healthcare costs, making it advantageous for established teachers to stay in the profession could really get me on my soapbox about what our state is not doing to attract good young teachers. However, I want to focus more we can control to solidify our employment locally. Regardless of what our state does, employment depends on what happens within our school districts and communities. Many factors determine if our local school boards, administrators, and communities consider the job we are doing a success. What constitutes success for an ag teacher differs from school district, maybe more so than any other subject area. Expectations from the community need to be clearly defined for ag teachers to meet them. All of us have strengths, weaknesses, and different aspects of a program that we are more qualified or passionate about. Some may find they are simply not a good fit for a community or school- this is ok! It is very important for the success of the program and the ag teacher that these issues are vetted on both sides before hiring decisions are made. Even after all this, there are still things an ag teacher needs to do to ensure a good working relationship with
school boards, administrators, and the local community. One thing to always remember is to communicate. Communicate with your community about what is going on in your program. It will go a long way in developing a healthy relationship between your ag education/FFA program and your community. Also, don’t keep your supervisor or administration guessing about what you are up. Most of us do a pretty good job of communicating our activities during the regular school year through lesson plans, schedules, and or calendars. However, how many of you turn in a plan for your summer activities? Summer plans help justify longer contracts and gave administrators and idea of how much work ag teachers do over the summer. A few years ago, when TEA no longer required teachers to file a summer plan, many stopped with their local administrators as well. Since then, many ag teacher position contracts have been cut back. Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so. It is also an unfortunate fact that unless you inform them, most administrators have no idea what we do in the summer months or even after normal working hours during the school year. We can’t expect our supervisors and administrators to automatically know what all we do and the hours we put in. It is unrealistic to expect a school
district to offer an extended contract or an ag related stipend unless administrators know it is justified. The responsibility of justification is on us, and a summer plan is great tool to use when seeking an extended contract or stipend. These plans can be as detailed or as simple as you want them to be. There is a great summer plan resource on the VATAT website. Use this, or come up with your own, but do something to inform your school district of what you do as an ag teacher. I hope one thing you include in your summer plans is attending the VATAT Professional Development Conference in Lubbock this July. The VATAT Continue on page 2
Conference 2018 in Lubbock
Do I Need a Summer Plan?
Final plans are being made for our summer professional development conference in Lubbock July 29-August 3, 2018. It is our intention to plan and conduct the premiere education professional development opportunity in Texas. Our board of directors, staff, and elected teachers have been working hard to provide an indispensable opportunity to stay informed concerning new developments in agricultural education, participate in workshops designed to enhance teaching, communicate with vendors, and network with fellow educators. Our partners Texas FFA, the Texas FFA Foundation, and TEA have also had input that will make teachers more effective and efficient during the coming year. We also work with a certified meeting planner to overcome any stumbling blocks that might come up. The Lubbock Convention and Visitors Bureau has helped us in many ways to coordinate our numerous activities. It really does take a village to put on a conference like ours. In addition to meeting in the new twelve area format this year, there will also be some other changes. We have been tracking attendance at workshops and meetings the past two years with a ticketing system. Starting this year, we will be using a new system that utilizes your smart phone. We believe this will be easier for everyone and will give us the information you need to keep track of your continuing professional education hours. (For those of us who don’t have a smart phone, we will have a system in place for you as well. -Just something to make sure no one ends up in a tizzy!) I hope to see all of you in Lubbock. The last time we were there for conference was 2009. Many things have changed since then, but we are looking forward to a productive and profitable week. There may even be a few surprises in store. Make your plans to be there.
staff and conference planning committee have been hard at work for some time planning the conference. I can’t imagine starting a new school year without attending conference. It is the biggest benefit of VATAT membership. Registration for the conference is open on the website. Please call the office if you have questions or problems. I am excited about it and hope to see each one of you there! Until next month, be safe!
Barney McClure, VATAT Executive Director
INSIDE THIS ISSUE VATAT.......................................1 - 3 Foundation..............................4 Alumni................................6 Young Farmers......................8 - 9 2
Do I Need a Summer Plan? Continued
Each year, the Advance CTE organization awards 16 programs nationwide, one in each of the career cluster areas, with the Excellence in Action Award. This year, Carl Wunsche Sr. High School in Spring, Texas was selected as the award winner for the Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Career cluster. The Carl Wunsche Veterinary Science Program was established in 2006 and serves over 100 students from Spring Independent School District. The four-year program prepares learners for postsecondary and career success by providing a rigorous sequence of academic and technical courses. Learners gain critical knowledge and skills and use their experiences to make informed decisions about their future areas of specialization. Learners can earn up to 30 college credits with the Lone Star College System, graduate with 30 internship hours, and earn up to two staterecognized certifications, equipping them with the skills they need for success in a high-skill and high demand industry. “The students, school district personnel and business partners have worked tirelessly to make the Veterinary Science Program one that produces students who are educated, informed, prepared, and equipped with the knowledge and skills to begin their career in the field of veterinary medicine and/ or agriculture or pursue postsecondary education,” said Jessica Graham, M.Ed., LVT, Carl Wunsche Veterinary Science Teacher. The winning program is backed up by compelling data demonstrating impressive graduation rates, credential attainment, dual enrollment completion, work-based learning participation and glowing letters of recommendation. The program strives to prepare their students for a lifetime of career success.
UPDATE I Believe
Kerri LeDoux, Live Like Johnny Organization
I come across so many people who do not know what the Texas FFA is all about. I can honestly say I didn’t fully understand until my son joined this organization in 8th grade, and it quickly became his passion. My son, Johnny Callan, competed in numerous FFA competitions and participated in many events. Although he loved to win, it wasn’t the winning that impacted him most: it was the people he met and got to know along the way. Through the FFA he traveled all over the state meeting new people and developing his leadership skills. Through this experience he found a true passion; meeting and serving others. Of all the contests, Johnny loved Land Judging the most. Looking at land, soil, and various plants while determining their name or usage was exciting and challenging to him. We would be driving down the road and he would yell “Mom, stop!” I would panic and pull over. He just wanted to see if that was yarrow, another of his favorite plants, or something he had never seen before. His team won the National Range Competition and he was high point individual. He enjoyed land judging and mentored other students and helping them practice, empowering them for success. Johnny was blessed with great agriculture science teachers. His teachers invested much of their own time in teaching, practicing and inspiring him to be better. They encouraged him to be more involved, preparing him for career success. He dreamed big and worked hard at it. My son’s goal was to become the president of the Texas FFA Association and National FFA Association. Not just a dream, he had a plan. He said he would accomplish this by working hard, staying humble and having a positive influence on the lives of others. Unfortunately, his life was cut short at the young age of 17. Johnny died in a one vehicle accident while he was headed to a goat show. He loved his supervised agriculture experience (SAE) and the chance to share time with so many FFA friends. Just before we lost Johnny, he wrote this 4
speech. “I’ve found my purpose, my passion, and what I wish to pursue. I want to end my FFA career knowing that I have left a meaningful impact in someone else’s life. I’ve worked countless amounts of hours doing what I can to inspire others.” Over 1,500 people attended my son’s funeral; over 300 of those wore the blue and gold FFA jackets. Johnny lived a legacy and left an impact when he departed this earth. The Live Like Johnny Organization has been established to carry out his legacy and to continue impacting the lives of others, his dream is still alive. As a mom, I know what the Texas FFA is all about. It is equipping our children with life skills empowering them for a lifetime of success. The FFA teaches our children to serve, to be servant leaders and to invest in others. My son was successful, richly blessed and lived a legacy through the Texas FFA. I can only hope every other mom, dad, brother, sister and grandchild can have the incredible experience the Texas FFA has given my family.
UPDATE Texas FFA Alumni News Kelly White, Texas FFA Alumni President
“As the world we live in is so unpredictable, the ability to learn and to adapt to change is imperative, alongside creativity, problem-solving, and communication skills.” - Alain Dehaze I began this with a quote that I am find true for the most part. Our objective as educators are to create an environment that allows our students to learn and adapt to change. This is especially true for those of us that are experienced. We have learned to adapt to change in the Texas FFA in the most recent years and we have survived. The falsehood that I find in this statement is to adapt to change in communication. Granted I don’t know how I would live without the technology. My problem is the old-fashioned method of communication. To have a conversation with our family, friends, students, and community supporters. We find ourselves so reliant on technology that the spoken word has taken backseat to technology. We have some of the greatest public speakers in the FFA. However, they often find they forget to tell their parents or fail to share with you what it is important in their life. Each year the Texas FFA Alumni gives out the following monetary awards. These include: four $500 scholarships; ten $500 local grants; we welcome the retiring Texas FFA State Officers into the Alumni by paying their Lifetime Alumni dues; and lastly we support the VATAT Conference’s Family Night with a donation. The money that we give is raised at our Annual Alumni Auction held in conjunction with the Texas FFA Convention. Items such as scales, airline tickets, boots, retreats, FFA memorabilia, outdoor items, and much more is bid on and goes home with the fortunate bidder. FFA Alumni Affiliates/ Chapters also contribute to our auction by entering in the Alumni Basket Contest (rules for the contest can be found on the alumni website). Texas FFA Alumni Scholarships must be submitted via the information found on the Texas FFA Alumni website. The selection and distribution of these scholarships are handled by the Texas FFA Alumni Governing Body. Please do not register for 6
an Alumni Scholarship via Judging Card. What do you do to get a $500 grant? How must it be used? Be prepared to answer the following questions. What is your Project? What do you want to accomplish? What is your Plan of Action (who, what, when, where, why, how)? How will this project make an impact on your members and/or program and be prepared to have an estimate of what your project will cost. Now you are asking how do I get the free money and what is the catch? All a FFA chapter has to do to be considered for the above mentioned awards is to have an active local FFA alumni affiliate (minimum of 10 members to pay their annual state & national dues by February 1st) and to fill out the applications and have them into the Texas FFA Alumni Association by the June 1st deadline. Grants and scholarships have been denied because they did not meet the requirements or missed the deadline. Applications can be found on the Texas FFA Alumni website at www.texasffaalumni.ffanow.org. Register to get updates about the Texas FFA Alumni.
The Texas FFA Alumni is always looking for testimonials regarding the hard work that your local affiliate does for your FFA Chapter. Contact Kelly White via the website to submit your testimonials.
UPDATE Notes From
Bob Young, Texas Young Farmers Executive Secretary
We are fortunate to have so many good things happening in Texas Agricultural Education this spring. I marvel at how much hard work ag teachers do to provide opportunities for their students, in and out of the classroom. Students are busy practicing for contests, running for officer positions, planning banquets, applying for awards and scholarships and more, while still excelling in classroom activities and projects. I find it amazing how teachers and students alike maintain the focus required to continue to succeed in so many different aspects of FFA. These things that make it extremely easy to support this great program. See the results of all this hard work is easy, but I hope we take the time to appreciate how these success stories began and developed. How was the seed of success planted? Who cultivated it? A large part of the harvest is appreciating the beginning, realizing how it happened and who may have provided the inspiration for its development. Many Texas Young Farmers experienced similar situations when they were agriculture students and now are finding ways to positively affect and influence current students by exercising their support of FFA. You always hear the term “giving back,” and Young Farmers have the means to do so. Some people may have thought that Texas Young Farmers might have taken a step back, but I am proud to say that our organization is very active, sponsoring numerous community-oriented activities each year benefitting the FFA. An extremely important goal of our organization is to provide scholarship opportunities for Texas FFA members. As in years past, we are awarding a total of $7,000 in scholarships this year. There are five $1,000 scholarships available to FFA members of chapters with a state affiliated Young Farmer 8
Chapter. One $2,000 scholarship is available to students applying through the Texas FFA Scholarship application process. At the recent Texas Young Farmer state officers meeting in College Station on April 7, the following five FFA members were selected as recipients of the $1,000 scholarships: Cory Jacob, SinkulePenelope FFA; Audrey Diane, Brown-Dayton FFA; Kourtnee Nicole, Kirgan-Fairfield FFA; Caelyn Michelle, Thompson-Teague FFA; Kaitlin Elizabeth, Newman-Fairfield FFA. We excitedly offer our congratulations to each of these fine FFA members for their accomplishments and wish them continued educational success. Our next state officers meeting will be June 30, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Temple, the site of our 2019 Young Farmer State Convention, January 10-12. We have lots of convention details to discuss and finalize. Our officer team is taking much pride in planning an exciting, informative, and enjoyable convention with great tours, workshops, meetings, and, of course, food. We will also be making final preparations for the State FFA Convention in Fort Worth, July 9-13, and the VATAT Conference in Lubbock, July 29-August 3. I really look forward to greeting and talking to students, teachers, and supporters at our exhibit booth. You know, sometimes we may take for granted the value of the opportunities provided by conventions and conferences, when actually, they provide great learning experiences. So, the busy times continue. Everybody has more places to go and things to do than what seems possible to achieve. We must continue, though, for we must build upon what our purposes are. Until next time, remember these choice words from Aristotle, “If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.”
Texas Young Farmers Officer Spotlight Roy Ward, VP Area VI
Trina Holaway, VP Area IV
Roy Ward was elected as the Vice President for the Area VI Texas Young Farmers Association. He is a college student, scheduled to graduate in May of 2019 from Texas A&M University. Besides his desire to study Biological and Agricultural Engineering, he has an enduring passion for agriculture and ranching. For the past 7 years he has lived and worked on his father’s family ranch alongside his older brother. Roy is the first of seven children to study higher education. At the young age of 10-years-old, college was just a dream. It became a reality when he took out a loan with his father’s help to buy his own cows. Starting out with a small herd of seven, he has now grown his herd to larger than twenty cows. This was not done out of recreation, but this investment was made to help him cover the cost of college.
Trina Holaway has been elected as the Vice President for Area IV of Texas Young Farmers Association. She has been involved with Texas Young Farmers since 2006 and has enjoyed attending the yearly conventions. She has two sons who showed animals at many of the Texas major stock shows, as well as national shows starting in 2006. Currently she assists with her youngest son’s swine operation, Heads Up Genetics.
Thank You to Our Texas Young Farmers Sponsors Ag Workers Mutual Insurance Company Texas FFA Foundation Randy Lenz, Stay Tuff Fence L. A. & Janis Muehr RVOS Insurance
Anthony & Jo Matula Mac & Jo Nell Lamascus Leonard Ebner Producers Cooperative-Bryan Koopman Catering, Allen & Connie Koopman
Photos From the 64th Annual Texas Young Farmers Convention 2017 Winners of the Quiz Contest
2017 Winners of the Digital Chapter Scrapbook Contest
1st place - Roy Ward, Limestone Co. Chapter 2nd place - Janis Muehr, Schulenburg Chapter 3rd place - Scottie Baker, Gonzales Chapter
1st place - Gonzales Chapter 2nd place - Bryan Chapter
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614 E. 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701
Upcoming Events May
1st State Officer Candidate Application Deadline
2nd - 5th State Leadership Conference
25th Ford Leadership Scholars Interviews
6th - 8th State Degree Check 8th Texas FFA Board of Directors Meeting
9th - 13th Texas FFA Convention 30th - Aug. 3rd VATAT Professional Development Conference
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