Sensational. This is the best way to describe this year’s NAAE Outstanding Middle/Secondary School Agriculture Education Programs.
The NAAE Awards these programs for their overall success, growth, and motivation. Case IH sponsored the outstanding Middle/Secondary Program Awards.
Quincy High School
Instructor: Mike Wallace and Jacque Church
Bowling Green R-1
Bowling Green, Missouri
Instructors: Bruce Werkmesiter, Brock Bailey and John Kallash
Chickasha High School
Instructors: Mike and Shirley Stephens
Union County High School
Lake Butler, Florida
Charlotte Emerson, David Harris, and Tom Williams
Spencer Public Schools
Instructor: Mark Zimmerman
Nonnewaug High School
Woodbury , Connecticut
Instructor: William Davenport, Alex Thomson, George Lyman, Eric Birkenberger, Liz Webb, Condy Walstedt
Having the teaching philosophy of "doing what is best for kids," both instructors at the Quincy agricultural program recognize that students require different methods of instruction. To help their students learn and gain interactive skills necessary to become productive members of society, Wallace and Church have developed a widely diversified curriculum that teaches students a variety of agricultural skills while offering them opportunities to become involved with the FFA and Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs.
Quincy FFA members are involved in their school and community in a variety of ways. Members have participated in numerous community causes, such as the Quincy Farmer-Consumer Awareness Day, Adopt-A-Highway program, Adopt-A-Stream program and a baby animal fair. During National FFA Week, the members plan a school faculty luncheon, a community appreciation breakfast and provide the high school faculty with FFA paraphernalia to advertise the organization.
Chickasha High School in Oklahoma, with agricultural instructors Mike and Shirley Stephens, was named an Outstanding Middle/Secondary program.
With a combined 59 years of teaching experience, Mike and Shirley Stephens have taught students that span the range from valedictorians to special education students. It is their goal as teachers to help each individual student find an area to excel in and then assist in the accomplishment of mutually agreed upon goals. The Stephens view FFA activities as stepping- stones to future personal and career success.
Chickasha FFA members are involved in their school and community in a variety of ways. Members have aided numerous community causes such as Festival of Lights, Avenue of Angels and Main Street USA. Members also provide tornado disaster relief assistance to local farmers and ranchers. Students promote beef and pork at local food centers by distributing samples and recipes. A taco luncheon and sausage breakfast is also prepared to promote the meat to teachers.
According to a strength finder Zimmerman completed at the National Agricultural Education In-service, excellence, not mediocrity, is his measure. Zimmerman, agricultural instructor for Spencer Public Schools in Wisconsin, has demonstrated this high standard of excellence in all aspects of teaching; this is evident by the fact that the Spencer FFA has consistently ranked as a three-star chapter as well as a Model of Innovation.
These successes have come also in part due to a solid partnership with local elementary school teachers. This partnership has enabled the chapter to implement the mentoring program Partners in Active Learning Support (PALS). The PALS program has been in place at Spencer FFA since 1993 and been such a success that Spencer FFA has been asked to make special presentations about PALS at the National FFA Convention. The chapter also conducts a Food for America program to educate young students about food and fiber systems.
Additionally, the Spencer FFA has developed a special partnership with the Spencer Area Chamber of Commerce. Each month, two members attend chamber meetings to learn about chamber business and report on Spencer FFA happenings. Zimmerman has also received the Crystal Apple Award sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.
Much of the success of the Bowling Green agricultural program in Missouri relies upon the shared teaching philosophy of the three teachers Bruce Werkmeister, Brock Bailey and John Kallash. They believe that by offering a wide variety of classes to meet student needs and by setting high expectations for their students, they set them up for success. Students are also encouraged to become active in the FFA. In fact, 100% of the students enrolled in agriculture classes are also members of FFA.
Inclusion of special needs students has been a priority of the program for many years. The program has 92% of the special needs students in both the high school and middle school in the program. These students participate in all areas of the program from classroom activities to showing livestock.
The Bowling Green teachers are also committed to their development as teachers. All three have earned a Master's Degree in Agriculture Education from the University of Missouri and have served in various leadership capacities of professional organizations.
Vocation is derived from the word "vocare" which literally means "a call to service." The agriculture teachers of Union County High School in Lake Butler, Florida believe that they have found their calling. All three teachers, Charlotte Emerson, David Harris and Tom Williams, serve as positive role models for their students as well as those interested in a career in teaching. They have each hosted multiple student teachers. Additionally, all three of the teachers are National Board Certified and have been recognized on the district level as Teacher of the Year. Yet, they continue to actively seek ways to further improve their effectiveness as teachers.
Despite the fact that Union County is the smallest county in Florida, the Lake Butler FFA is a powerhouse in state and national FFA programs. "Ask any teacher in Florida to name the three best agriculture programs and FFA chapters in the state and Lake Butler will undoubtedly make the list practically every time," said Ed Osborne, Professor and Chair at the University of Florida.
"Nonnewaug High School's Agriculture Education program is without question one of the most outstanding in the country," said Amanda Thomson, Vice President of the Connecticut Association of Agricultural Educators. Nonnewaug High in Connecticut has developed a highly reputable and competitive program that selects a limited number of students each year to enter the program from up to 26 surrounding towns. The instructors for the program are: William Davenport, Alex Thomson, Eric Birkenberger, Liz Webb, Cindy Walstedt and George Lyman.
The cornerstone of the Nonnewaug's Agri-Science program is the success of the Woodbury FFA Chapter. In 2001, the Woodbury FFA made history with three National FFA proficiency award winners and again in 2002 when the chapter had 11 judging teams qualify for national competition. The chapter also boosts 100% membership. Furthermore, the chapter was highlighted in the national public television production "Voices of Vision" that was aired last fall.