Teacher Champions Program
The Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC) program is excited to continue efforts in connecting K-12 educators with free, standards-based resources and curricular pieces that build agricultural literacy through our Teacher Champions program. MAITC is a program based within the Minnesota Department of Agriculture that has a 25 year history of "promoting understanding and awareness of the importance of agriculture," by providing FREE resources and training to teachers and students. The MAITC program has worked closely with the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education, as well as representatives from the Minnesota Department of Education in the areas of Science, Social Studies and Language Arts to develop and distribute materials that allow teachers to increase their comfort level in agricultural topics and also integrate agricultural content into instruction to meet academic standards.
We know that implementing new curriculum can be a significant undertaking, so MAITC will work with the selected schools to provide training for teachers. We will help teachers at the selected schools become familiar with the MAITC program and its offerings by training MAITC teacher champions and group instruction. With this training, teachers will better understand how agriculture can be integrated into a teachers' core curriculum to enhance student learning.
In addition, each school will be linked to a Minnesota farm family. Throughout the year, this farm family will engage with the school to answer student questions and showcase what it's like to be a farm family. MAITC will also supply the school with information on how to incorporate a school garden into the school's curriculum. This will be done by providing the MAITC School Garden Guide and helping schools network with existing local resources to build or enhance existing school gardens.
Schools applying to become a MAITC Teacher Champion school must have administration support before applying for this opportunity. In addition, each school must identify two Teacher Champions that will be asked to advocate for MAITC within their school. The Teacher Champions will also act as a liaison between the school and MAITC to provide feedback on the program to help improve offerings.
MAITC will host a few activities or events through the school year. Some of those events may include having a farm family speak to a class via Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. from the barn or combine, having the farmer visit the classroom or having an Agriculture Day event at the school.
It is expected that the selected schools will be active participants throughout the school year and that school leadership, champions and teachers will complete a survey in the spring to gauge how the school year went and the value of the program.