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Council honors excellence in ag educationCouncil honors excellence in ag education

Five Iowa high schools are recognized for highly successful ag education programs.

May 4, 2018

4 Min Read
CONGRATS: Iowa Council on Ag Education members Ashlynn Lingle (left) and Caitlin Remington present the 2018 Excellence in Ag Education award to Central DeWitt student Heather Cernek and ag teacher Amy Grantz.

The Iowa Council on Agricultural Education awarded Central DeWitt High School with the 2018 Excellence in Agriculture Education award. The award was presented at the Iowa FFA Leadership Conference in Ames April 22-24.

The purpose of the award is to identify what makes a highly successful ag education program in schools and recognize those who model that success. Amy Grantz is the ag teacher and FFA advisor at Central DeWitt High School. The program was nominated for the award by a student in the ag education program, Heather Cernek. The school is located at DeWitt in eastern Iowa.

“Our program makes students aware of unique careers in agriculture through multiple interactive workshops held many times throughout the year, during FFA conventions and leadership conferences,” wrote Cernek. “Guest speakers from local agricultural companies such as River Valley visit our classroom periodically to speak about past career experiences.”

5 schools honored
In the process of choosing Central DeWitt as the overall winner, the council recognized five schools for their activities and effort in achieving excellence in ag education.

• Advisory Committee Award goes to Hampton-Durmont CAL CSD at Latimer in north-central Iowa. The ag teacher is Sarah DeBour. The Hampton-Dumont advisory committee has 15 members representing many aspects of the industry, including small and large producers, ag business and industry, banking, administration, and students. They meet twice a year to review the local curriculum and supporting integration of the Curriculum for Agriculture Science Education through STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) scale-up grants.

• Program Promotion and Marketing Award goes to Central DeWitt High School at DeWitt in eastern Iowa. The ag teacher is Amy Grantz. During National FFA Week this year, FFA flags lined the downtown and a banner hung over the main road in DeWitt. The chapter uses its website, a chapter newsletter and social media regularly to inform the public of the chapter’s activities. Articles are sent to the local newspaper, and local businesses display “proud to support” signs in their windows. Other public events like a petting zoo and pumpkin fest help promote the chapter’s activities.

• Agriculture Career Awareness Award goes to Pleasantville High School at Pleasantville in south- central Iowa. The ag teacher is Monty Collins. The Pleasantville ag ed program holds a schoolwide career fair every other year, inviting the entire high school to attend and learn about a wide variety of careers. Business representatives visit the ag classroom as guest speakers and provide job-shadowing opportunities. Cattle, swine and crop projects are completely managed by the students, who purchase materials, keep records, plant, harvest and conduct marketing.

• Integration of Science Award goes to Midland Community School District at Wyoming in northeast Iowa. The ag teacher is Jamie Christiansen. Midland offers a full strand of Curriculum for Agriculture Science Education. Through these ag science courses, students participate in labs and hands-on experiences that allow for experimentation and inquiry. These courses increase student comfort with science concepts.

• Adult Education Award goes to Southeast Polk High School at Pleasant Hill in central Iowa. The ag teacher is Matt Eddy. The students run the Animal Learning Center during the Iowa State Fair each year. The animal science class is directly involved with the care of the cows that give birth during the fair; this includes chores and veterinarian appointments throughout the year. The main purpose is to provide an educational experience about animals in agriculture that most people do not typically get to observe. Students answer questions from fairgoers and share the importance and impact of agriculture with a focus on the animal industry.

Agriculture education is offered in 235 high schools across Iowa. Ag education employs a three-component model to deliver teaching through classroom instruction, supervised ag experience programs and leadership development through FFA. Students who take an agriculture education class are eligible to join FFA. There are more than 15,200 FFA members in Iowa.

The Iowa Council on Agricultural Education reviews, develops and recommends standards for secondary and postsecondary ag education. Created in 1988 by the Iowa Legislature, the council is appointed by the governor annually and made up of nine voting members. Council members represent all areas of agriculture and diverse geographical areas. The council includes representation from secondary schools, postsecondary schools and a teacher-educator. Ex-officio members include representatives from Iowa FFA, Iowa FFA Alumni, the Postsecondary Agriculture Student Organization of Iowa, Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and members of the Iowa General Assembly.

The Iowa FFA Association is a youth organization of 15,200 student-members as part of 235 local FFA chapters across Iowa. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through ag education. The Iowa FFA Association was organized by delegates from 23 schools at Iowa State College on May 17, 1929, and is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The Iowa Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to local ag education programs. Visit Iowa FFA at iowaffa.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.

Source: Iowa Council on Ag Education

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