Connecting the Agricultural Education Community Puzzle

Article excerpt

As an agricultural education teacher, one is expected to operate and manage a complete program. As we know a total agricultural education program is comprised of classroom and laboratory, SAE, and FFA. The task of having a complete program may be overwhelming to novice teachers as well as teachers with years of experience. One solution to help alleviate the burden of being totally responsible for educating the agricultural community is to develop partnerships with the various stakeholders in one's local community. According to Abromitis (2009), when schools work with community organizations, businesses, and agencies they become powerful agents of change for students, families, and the neighborhoods around them. The same is true for agricultural teachers who work with various community stakeholders to improve the quality of output for their programs.

When agricultural teachers are able to partner with the local stakeholders of their communities, everyone involved with the endeavor benefits; it becomes a win-win situation for everyone including the students. In order to establish partnerships one must first identify the stakeholders of the local community. Possible stakeholders agriculture teachers can contact include the county Extension office, local businesses, local churches, and the local community college. The local county Extension office will be a bountiful resource with local agricultural professionals that are experts in their respective fields. Local businesses will have various resources. They may be willing to donate various items to help with the activities of the local agricultural education program. Local churches are an excellent resource, especially in rural communities because the teacher will have access to many parents who are active in the community and their children's education. Last, but not least, the local community college is also an excellent resource because of the professionals that the local agricultural education teacher will find when establishing this partnership. The faculty is versed in many subjects, agriculture included, and the partnership will possibly provide the community college with an opportunity to meet and help local high school students who may one day become future students at the community college.

After possible local stakeholders have been identified the next step is to build a relationship with these individuals. If the agricultural education teacher takes the time to build the relationship, it will be beneficial for all. Not only do you have someone to help and support your program, but you are also able to provide the same help and support to the various stakeholders and their needs when the time arises. …