Teachers, students can bank on certainties from IAITC

I keep a Magic 8-Ball on the corner of my desk. It serves as a paperweight and even a conversation starter. In the last 18 months, I have often considered using it to help determine direction in our ever-changing world. Although the answer might be “Reply Hazy Try Again,” I want to share some certainties from the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom (IAITC) program.

IAITC remains committed to providing accurate agricultural information to students and teachers at all grade levels. At the state and local level, our programs have become experts in the pivot. There are so few items that are one-size-fits across the state and even at the county level. We remain committed to providing accurate and appropriate agriculture lessons and knowledge.

IAITC is continuing to provide teacher training.

Our Summer Agricultural Academies hosted at the local level showcased agriculture to nearly 300 teachers in June and July. Couple that with an additional 300 participants in our virtual teacher training, Illinois once again led the nation in teacher training in comparison to other state programs.

We will continue to offer teacher training throughout the school year in our bi-monthly After School S.N.A.C.K. presentation. Every other month we will Share New Agricultural Content and Knowledge in a virtual format for teachers as professional development. Teachers can sign up for these professional development opportunities at https://iaitc.co/SNACK1.

Lessons will be provided at the local level with our outstanding network of ag literacy coordinators. Additionally, the state program will drop lessons and activities on our social media pages that can be supplemented with our Ag Mags and additional resources including pollinator and gardening videos.

Our key partners at the state level include the commodity groups as well as programs with Soil and Water Conservation Districts and University of Illinois Extension. IAITC will continue to showcase the efforts of all involved in agriculture as we have done in the past. IAITC is grateful for our partners and their support of the IAA Foundation that make sure all materials are available to teachers and students across the state at no cost.

While this school year might look different than others, will Illinois Ag in the Classroom have a great year? The Magic 8-Ball says, “Without a doubt,” and I agree.

Kevin Daugherty is the education director of the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom Program.