Kellie Claflin, agriculture teacher at Gillett High School attended the 95th annual Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators (WAAE) Professional Development Conference, June 24-27, 2013 in Green Bay. The theme of the conference was “Inquiring minds + Collaboration = No Limits.”
Claflin attended workshops on vertical hydroponic farming, budding and grafting, developing forest health materials, classroom technology, the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) in food science and irrigation in greenhouses. She served on the statewide teacher mentoring committee to help ensure the retention of agriculture teachers across Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Agricultural Education Foundation awarded four grants to middle and high schools. The Gillett agriculture program received $250 to “flip” the food science classes. The grant go towards supplies and software to allow students to watch lectures before coming to class. More information about flipped classrooms can be found here.
At the conference Claflin was recognized as the Wisconsin runner-up of the Teachers Turn the Key Award. The Teachers Turn the Key Award program (TTTK) is a scholarship to allow early career agricultural educators to attend the annual National Association of Agricultural Educators convention, giving them an opportunity to become involved with their professional association on a national level. TTTK participants take part in special programming geared toward agricultural educators in the early stages of their careers.
The conference brings over 275 agricultural educators from both the secondary and post-secondary levels together to network with colleagues, individuals from business and industry and gain tools to assist them in strengthening local agriculture programs.
Agricultural education is critical at all levels of the education system as these classes provide students the skills and knowledge needed for careers in this fast-paced industry. One in five people work in Wisconsin’s agricultural industry to provide food, fuel and fiber to meet the needs of the world.
The WAAE professional development conference gives members an opportunity to participate in hands-on workshops that focus on the latest trends in agriculture, technology and innovative strategies to bring those techniques in the classroom. Agricultural educators are able to meet and network with business leaders, colleagues and sponsors. Above all, the WAAE conference gives the agricultural educator time to revitalize the curriculum and rejuvenate for the upcoming school year.