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Agricultural Science Professional Development (ACRE) Project seeks to improve the quality of education for students in Grades 6-12 in east central Mississippi by advancing students' understanding and practices of agricultural literacy within secondary science and career and technical (CTE) classrooms. Grades 6-12 science and CTE teachers will 1) develop the skills necessary for integrating food and agricultural science concepts into their classes, 2) explore the opportunities available in food and agricultural science career pathways, and 3) forge multidisciplinary mentorships with university faculty within a variety of fields.The aim of this project is to strengthen and enhance the quality of Grades 6-12 agricultural science instruction through in-service teacher professional development (PD). Grades 6-12 CTE and science teachers will gain increased knowledge of agricultural science disciplines and increased awareness of career opportunities which, in turn, translates into improved and integrated curricula to educate and recruit the future agricultural workforce. The ACRE objectives target improved teacher knowledge and integration of 1) agricultural science content knowledge; 2) disciplinary literacy instruction specifically agricultural literacy; and 3) teacher leadership development. The ACRE experience builds teachers' pedagogical content knowledge and self-efficacy related to agricultural literacy, so they can confidently integrate such practices in their content curriculum and disseminate it in their schools. Thus, we seek to support and refine teachers' skills in the use of agricultural science, literacy, and teacher leadership development to increase students' knowledge, capabilities, and interest in food and agricultural science.The objectives are as follows:Objective 1: ACRE teachers will improve their knowledge of agricultural science as measured by pre-/post and delayed post survey and content items (i.e., discussion posts, reflective journal entries) embedded in professional development. Teachers will make connections to the appropriate content and grade-level curriculum, stated in pre-/post and delayed post survey and content items. Briefly, they will implement agricultural science inquiry experiences and use tools and technology to support student-centered agricultural science explorations.Objective 2: ACRE teachers will develop lesson plans incorporating appropriate standards and objectives that reflect their knowledge of agricultural science concepts and disciplinary literacy. Teachers will utilize and address the 2018 Mississippi College-and-Career Readiness Standards for Science (MCCRS-S), the 2016 Mississippi College-and-Career Readiness Standards for English Language Arts in Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects (MCCRS-ELA LSTS), and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) within curriculum development. Teacher developed lesson plans will be evaluated by peer participants as well as an expert panel of teacher educators using a checklist and rubric that score components of research-based best practices for teaching and learning in disciplinary literacy. This checklist and rubric will be created by our team along with our expert advisory board members who are experts in leadership, animal science, and science education.Objective 3: ACRE teachers will serve as teacher leaders in their school districts by disseminating ACRE curriculum and promoting food and agricultural science concepts in their content areas. Teachers will document their peer and parent outreach through two types of artifacts/evidence (e.g., outreach agenda, open house agenda, club meeting agenda, presentation file, sign-in sheet) by the end of spring semester. Briefly, teachers will communicate their new knowledge and engage in collaboration and problem-solving with their peers and classroom parents for expanded impact.

Lemley, S. M.; Lemley, Ca, O..; Stone, Am, El.; Alley, Ka, Ma.; Clary, Re, M..
Mississippi State University
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