Good Morning North Region,
I hope everyone is experiencing a great year, enjoying a change in the weather, and looking forward to some Holiday's (or furlough days as is the case with us at 4 towers) but nonetheless, some days off to re-energize and spend with family or friends.
I have a few things to re-emphasize and hopefully clear up some confusion on a few others. To keep from assaulting your email, I will address all of these topics at once...so please read all the way through.
1.† Please take 15 minutes between now and next Wednesday to fill out your monthly report for October. Last month, we had a significant increase in the number of teachers that had not submitted their September report by the 10th of October. This also happened to be the first month that I did not send out a reminder. I'm sure I'm giving my reminders way to much importance but I'm going to take the blame for that and promise to do better with my reminders. I know this seems trivial when compared to the rest of what you face in a day but it also takes such a short amount of time. I would appreciate your help.
2. In filling out your report, please be aware that we are trying to head off a few problems that we have identified. It is our intention to be helpful and supportive while at the same time ensuring that everyone is honoring their extended day contract so as not to jeopardize anyone's opportunity to secure an extended day contract. These problems are usually simple misunderstandings of what counts for extended day and how it should be reported. Here are a couple of observations:
††††† A. You need to report every hour you spend on your extended day contract even though you may only get paid for one hour each day. My first Vocational Supervisor told me when I was hired to report only one hour per day because that was all I was getting paid for. Mr. Farmer corrected me at some point and I began recording every hour I worked. This can be very valuable information when justifying a program to your local system. The number of hours most of you put in would astound your county offices. From a legislative standpoint, it speaks volumes about the commitment and dedication Ag teachers have to their programs and drives the benefits per dollar spent through the roof.†
††††† B. The 20 hours per month required by an extended day contract should be evenly distributed throughout the month. The intention is not to work 20 hours over 7-10 days and then go home. If the minimum 20 hours are worked, they should be spread out over 20 days. The average hours worked for the month of September is well over 50. If you put in this many hours total and had a day or two where you put in none, obviously you are more than honoring your commitment.
††††† C. The activities that qualify for extended day funding are limited. Mr. Farmer put it as simply as I have ever heard it put and it has stuck with me for a long time. He said that if it is an activity that any normal teacher would be expected to do...then it probably does not count as extended day. In other words, lesson plans and grading papers are not extended day activities.
Here is the official DOE extended day description:
†Agricultural Education Extended Day Grants.
(i) Supervised Agricultural Experience. Extended day pay shall be provided to any certified
agricultural education teacher who works beyond the regular work day to provide instructional
services and supervise entrepreneurial projects, placement, agriscience, and research projects
related to the studentís classroom instruction.
(ii) Leadership Development. Extended day pay shall be provided for any certified agricultural
education teacher who works beyond the regular work day to provide leadership and career
development opportunities through the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Organization.
(iii) Teachers receiving agricultural education extended day pay shall meet the program
requirements listed in the Agriculture Education Program Standards and Policies Manual.
3. Please invite your Representative and/or Senator to an FFA event. The legislature will convene soon and it will be in all of our best interest to have a positive image of our programs on their minds. A CDE being hosted by your school, an FFA meeting (make sure you have good attendance), a holiday cookout, or a Leadership/Personal Development class all make great events for them to attend. Please take pictures and send them to me so we can include them on the GVATA website. If you have already conducted an event...Thank you very much and still send me some pictures!
4. If you have conducted any type of collaboration activity with an academic area, please send me a description and a brief write-up and/or pictures of the event. Our goal is to develop a small guidebook of collaboration activities that can be shared with all teachers at the Summer Conference. It is becoming more and more important that we show others what we have known all along...that we teach academics and often better than the academics do. We need North Region well represented in this handbook. As of right now...we're not. Please share.
5. If you are teaching in a program that has ever been Industry Certified, I would like to hear from you. It has been many years since any program underwent re-certification. I would like to start with those programs that were certified in the past as they face the smallest hurdle to be re-certified. Also, programs that have recently received a Capital Equipment Grant are likely to have the equipment needed to become certified. Since there is no money for certification, the needed equipment is the biggest hurdle for most programs. If you have the equipment listed in the Industry Certification Guide on our website, I would encourage you to investigate the certification process. Again, anything we can do to raise the prestige and esteem of our programs directly impacts students and gives greater justification for our programs.
6. Start an Alumni! If you can find 15-20 supporters (parents of Officers, past members, ag community leaders, administrators) to come to a meeting, you are well on your way to forming an Alumni chapter. If you can't get together 20 supporters...you need to get out more. Alumni Chapters can be a huge benefit to the local chapter and Blane or myself would love to talk to you about how. If you are interested, please give me or Blane a call.
I know this is a long email but I appreciate your patience. I understand how hard you are working and I feel it is incumbent on me to protect and grow the opportunity for you to do that work. You know the impact you have on kids. All 6 of these objectives are designed to help others see that impact. I am grateful for any help you can offer.
Have a great day, let me know how we can help,
North Region Coordinator
204 Four Towers
University of Georgia
Athens, Ga. 30602