Summary 2020 —
Innovative Programming Conducted and Educational Resources Developed
One of our bigger obstacles in New Hampshire is encouraging teachers to explore the need for any level of agricultural education in their classroom. After thinking about our efforts, it occurred to us that just providing resources for teachers without any guidance may not particularly helpful. So we took a step back and created a program designed to lead them through the process of introducing agriculture into their classroom. Grow Your Classroom offers tips on incorporating agriculture, commodity information, a resource list, quick Ag Bite activities, printed lessons, Ag Mags, books and a kit from the AgClassroom Store to make it easy for teachers to get started or expand their agriculturally themed curriculum. We began offering these resource bundles the end of December and have already created new relationships with over 30 teachers.
We developed the following resources:
- As part of our new Grow Your Classroom program, we created two booklets. One offers a roadmap to integrating agriculture into a classroom, New Hampshire agricultural information in the form of statistics and commodity sheets, resource lists and other tools. The second booklet shares a variety of Ag Bite activities and several fully printed lessons from the Curriculum Matrix.
- We also compiled an extensive list of remote learning resources.
Major Program Impacts or Outcomes
Although small in scope, one of our major goals was reached this year with recognition from our State Department of Education. Several years ago, we realized that this agency did not even know our organization existed which prevented any type of support or partnership. We have slowly built this relationship and now the Commissioner contacts me directly with ideas and funding opportunities.
This year I changed my own perspective a bit after realizing that just giving teachers resources and ideas is not effective. Since many of the educators in our state have no connection to agriculture, we need to take a few steps back and guide them along a path beginning with small steps. As a result, we have created our Grow Your Classroom program providing teachers with a starting point, ideas for progression, information, activities, lessons, activity kits, Ag Mags, books and more so that they have all the tools they need to get started. In just a month, we have already connected with 40 new teachers.
Program Leader Biosketch
Debbi has always had some sort of animals around from horses to llamas to swans to sheep. Her three children shared her love of pets and all became FFA State Officers. Due to Debbi's extensive volunteer work with FFA, she was asked to apply for the NH Agriculture in the Classroom's State Coordinator position in 2013. Prior to that, she worked as a bookkeeper and administrative assistant for various organizations. Debbi earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Recreation from Springfield College.