The Organic Ag. Academy will give high school and technical college teachers in-depth training to increase their knowledge and awareness of sustainable and organic agriculture and the tools to teach this topic to their students. The long-term impact will be more student exposure to sustainable and organic agriculture and the career opportunities in this field. This will expand the pool of workers skilled in sustainable agriculture practices.
To achieve these outcomes, the Academy project will develop 15-hour training sessions around six sustainable and organic agriculture topics. High school agricultural science and environmental studies teachers and technical college instructors from Horticulture, Farm Business Management, Agronomy, and Dairy Science programs are the audience for in-depth two-day sessions held over three summers. Participating educators will receive lesson plans, curriculum guides, lectures, assessments, teaching tools, and lab ideas to incorporate into their educational programs. Follow-up surveys will measure educator knowledge and awareness gains, as well as how content is being integrated in the participant classrooms/programs. Project results will be disseminated through SARE for potential replication in other geographic regions.
Further, content and deliverables for the six sustainable and organic agriculture topics will be developed with guidance of NCR-SARE (North Central Region-Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education) to ensure they meet SARE quality standards, setting the stage for development of a SARE Teaching Certificate for successful completers of the six training sessions.
Project objectives from proposal:
Outputs of the Academy project include:
- Updated curriculum for six, 15-hour sessions. The curriculum will include six hours of classroom content and seven hours of field work at farm sites, with two hours allocated for travel to/from/between farm sites. Ms. Dantoin, SAFS instructor, will develop the curriculum and share with NCR-SARE to ensure alignment with SARE quality standards.
- Six curriculum guides with lectures, assessments, and suggested teaching tools and labs are created for participant use post-training. Ms. Dantoin, SAFS instructor, will develop the content, including typical lesson plans with timelines outlined, course competencies, learning objectives, PowerPoint lectures with notes, worksheets and quizzes, lab instructions, and lab supply needs.
- Three surveys developed to measure impact of the training (see Evaluation). Ms. Dantoin, SAFS instructor, will develop the surveys with guidance of NWTC’s Institutional Research staff.
- Two, two-day training sessions conducted annually, reaching ten educators (i.e., high school agricultural science and environmental studies teachers, and technical college instructors from Horticulture, Farm Business Management, Agronomy, and Dairy Science programs) at each session. Ms. Dantoin will deliver the course content, reaching a duplicated total of 60 educators over the three-year period.
- SARE Teaching Certificate developed, in coordination with NCR-SARE.