National FFA gets funding from CSX to continue national ag curriculum

A revolutionary and growing national agriculture education program launched four years ago has received major financial support from the leading supplier of rail-based freight transportation in North America.

CSX recently pledged nearly $700,000 to the National FFA Foundation for the sponsorship of a variety of FFA programs, including the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education™.

Launched in 2007 by the National Council for Agricultural Education, CASE is a national curriculum for secondary agricultural education that provides a high level of educational experiences to enhance the relevance of agriculture, food and natural resources education. The program is an agriscience-based curriculum that includes student assessment, professional development for teachers and teacher certification. Conceptualized and written by agriculture teachers for agriculture teachers, the program is a series of sequential courses designed to prepare students for careers in the food, fiber, fuel and natural resources industries.

CASE provides detailed resources for teaching hands-on laboratory exercises rather than leaving it to the teacher to create instructional aides. CASE develops curriculum utilizing science inquiry for lesson foundation and concepts are taught using activity-, project- and problem-base instructional strategies. CASE also ensures quality teaching by providing extensive professional development that leads to teacher certification.

“CASE is making great strides in our nation’s educational system as more teachers are being trained in the curriculum and incorporating its methodology in their daily lesson plans,” said Rob Cooper, executive director of the National FFA Foundation, the nonprofit organization that secures corporate and private funding for FFA initiatives. “We’re ecstatic that CSX has chosen to support this important approach to agricultural education and we’re working diligently to identify more opportunities for corporate support as CASE continues to expand its reach.”

Since traditional agricultural education offers a balanced approach that joins classroom instruction by agriculture teachers with leadership and character education from FFA and experiential learning, the CASE curriculum incorporates each segment throughout every lesson. Connections are provided as direct ties to the concepts of each lesson and students are extended opportunities to participate in FFA and hands-on learning.

In 2009, teachers began integrating CASE into their classrooms. Since, the curriculum has made its way into 90 schools in 18 states and is being taught by more than 100 agricultural education teachers. Last summer, CASE conducted a series of two-week professional development institutes throughout the country that drew agriculture teachers from 15 states together for 80 hours of specialized training in the areas of inquiry-based instruction, student-directed learning and activity-, project- and problem-based delivery. This summer, CASE will host 11 institutes from June through August at universities in Iowa, Louisiana, Oregon, Maryland, Texas, Kansas, Minnesota, Ohio and New Jersey.

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