State Summary 2015 — Minnesota
All MAITC resources are available online either at www.mda.state.mn.us/maitc or www.mnagmag.org.
1)student AgMag and AgMag Jr. publications were updated and modernized with new design and layout from a new development contract vendor - Kerry Solberg Creative.
2)MAITC Foundation funded development of a new student website dedicated to our new AgMag and AgMag Jr. publications (www.mnagmag.org)
3)MAITC program staff developed two new children's literature book bundles (K-2 and 3-5) each with a comprehensive companion Educator Guide.
4)MAITC Education Specialist continued to submit ag literacy lessons for review and inclusion in the NAITC curriculum matrix.
Major Program Accomplishments or Outputs
1) through RFP process MAITC embarded on a new era with our student AgMag and AgMag Jr. publications by contracting with a new product development team to include the development of a new student-centered website to serve both publications.
2) planned and hosted a 'Celebrating 30 Years' event attended by over 100 Minnesota leaders in agriculture and education.
3) debuted two new Agricultural Children's Literature Book Bundles (K-2 and 3-5) with companion Educator Guide.
4) secured a $74,500 Specialty Crop Block Grant from USDA for four unique projects to be implemented over the next three years.
5) expanded our Minnesota Teacher Champions Program to five schools.
Major Program Impacts or Outcomes
1) 57% of all pre-service workshops attendees strongly agree and 41% agree their interest in integrating agriculture into their curriculum was stimulated by this presentation.
2) 74% of all pre-service workshop attendees strongly agree and 23% agree the workshop presentation increased their knowledge and understanding of agriculture.
3) Of 40 summer agriculture tour teacher attendees 6% strongly agree they can identify diverse MN agricultural production methods and markets before the tour compared to 73% after the tour.
4) Of 40 summer agriculture tour teacher attendees 12% strongly agree they know strategies to use agriculture as a context in science, social studies, language arts and nutrition before the tour compared to 55% after the tour. 45% also agree after the tour.
Al Withers is both state contact and program director for MN Ag in the Classroom. This is his 31st year of leading the program, currently the longest tenured NAITC state contact. He is on staff in the Ag Marketing and Development Division at the MN Department of Agriculture. Withers holds a B.A. in Speech Communications and Marketing from the University of Minnesota. He has experience in radio broadcasting, the non-profit and business sectors, and in state government. He works closely with MAITC Education Specialist, Sue Knott, who has been with MAITC for 4.5 years. Sue holds a Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Education and a Masters in Education.