September/October 2009 | back to school

NAAE's Communities of Practice

October is CoP Month!!

Communities of Practice is one of the most useful resources provided by NAAE.  It connects ag educators from all over the United States on anything and everything to do with agricultural education.  To encourage folks to use this great resource, we are announcing two contests in the month of October.

Individual with most posts on CoP – answer a question, help a colleague, post an idea – all these count toward your post count on Communities of practice.  The individual who has the most posts between October 1 and October 31 will in a NAAE prize package that includes a NAAE embroidered shirt, a Teach Ag T-shirt, and other NAAE goodies.

State with most new sign-ups on CoP – calling all state leaders!  Encourage your members to sign up on Communities of Practice in October.  The state with the most sign-ups between October 1 and October 31 will win a $100 gift certificate that can be used to purchase NAAE merchandise such as plaques, pins, certificates, or anything else we offer.

Good luck, and may the best CoP’er win.  Questions? email Julie Fritsch, NAAE Communications/Marketing Coordinator at

CoP Member Profiles

Have you noticed the new feature popping up every Monday morning on Communities of Practice? We're highlighting a CoP user each week in the NAAE blog. We ask them a few basic questions and let them answer in their own words. Just another way to learn a little more about your fellow ag educators from around the United States.

Just in case you've missed it, here's a recap of the last 3. Read the NAAE blog every Monday to meet another ag educator!

Rose Hartschuh, Bellevue City Schools, Bellevue, Ohio

Loves teaching ag because:
every day is different. Ag teachers have the opportunity to teach exciting curriculum, build relationships with students and community members, and be an advocate for the agricultural industry... sometimes all in the same class period! I love the diversity of activities we encounter and the diversity of the audiences we serve. Not to mention, I have some of the best, and most fun, colleagues I could ask for!

Best thing about Communities of Practice: CoP is a great way to tap into thousands of brilliant minds across the country. At times other ag teachers are the only ones who can understand our struggles and triumphs, and with Communities of Practice, you have a built in support system. The opportunity to improve your curriculum or work through a challenging issue is right at your fingertips. If you're not using it, you should be!

 When she's not teaching, she's: helping on her family's dairy farm or being involved in community activities. She also loves learning new things about a variety of topics and traveling.

Kevin Anderson, Lyons-Decatur Northeast, Lyons, NE

Loves teaching ag because:
I am able to stay in touch with the world of agriculture while working with youth. Seeing them grow and learn makes all the hours worth it. The ag curriculum is always evolving, so each year I get to teach something new and it keeps me refreshed while building on the foundational knowledge. I am able to select what to teach based on student interest rather than a set curriculum/standards.

Best thing about Communities of Practice: Ability to share and glean knowledge from around the nation. I have gotten many ideas that I use in my classes as well as ideas on how to modify some things to make what I already do even better. The ideas that are shared have been tested and worked in a classroom already. It really brings the extended ag teacher family closer together and creates a network of people we may never meet face to face but can learn from and help.

When he's not teaching, he's: Lesson planning. on Communities of Practice. seriously, I have three kids (7, 5, 11 months) that I try to spend my free time with. I coach football, am President of our Church Council, serve on a variety of boards/ councils/committees and volunteer at various other things around the community. It tends to keep me occupied.

Renee Smith, McIntosh County Academy, Darien, GA

Loves ag education because:
Ag is a family, a very competitive family, but you have a close knit group of people who are dedicated to this profession. There are few teachers who have the chance to reach students like we do; our students learn, have fun, and get to show their skills for everyone to see.

Best thing about Communities of Practice: The best thing about CoP is the multitude of ideas; I read everyone's posts even if I don't teach the class because I am always learning something new. Every state, every person, has a different view and I love hearing all of them!

When she's not teaching, she's: Outside. I love to camp, golf and I am learning to kayak, which has been a very fun experience. I also love to travel and work as a coordinator for exchange students from the Republic of Georgia, who come from Future Farmers of Georgia chapters and want to experience FFA across the United States.