Well, the time is here. This is my last issue of the Ag Awareness Express. As I sit and write this (in March actually, got to be prepared!) I am filled with mixed emotions. I am happy, sad, proud, and even a little scared. I am happy to know that this program will continue under the leadership of another person after I leave. Happy to know that by the time you are reading this I will have a new addition to my family. Sad because I am leaving this program behind and I will miss seeing all the smiling faces of the students and the teachers. Proud because I took a program that was very little known in our area and grew it to a program that reaches approximately 1500 students each year. Proud to know that I have made a difference (and I know so thanks to all the positive comments that you all have been sending my way). And finally scared because I am taking a leap of faith and don't really know what the future holds.
Many of you have asked what it is I am going to go and do. From early on I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I went to school and got my teaching certificate in Agriculture Education and eventually my Masters in the same thing. Working with the teachers and students I have realized that I want to continue to make a difference in the lives of students. I want to be that outstanding teacher that I had in Mrs. Mary Jane Kuipers (my 1st grade teacher) and all those other teachers that I had that still hold a special place in my heart. I am finishing an endorsement in Middle School Math to widen the age of students I can work with. As I look for a new "home" I will be making rounds substituting to gain experience.
Another question I have been asked is why I am leaving. This is something that I have thought about for some time now. The simplest answer I can give you is that I am needing a new challenge. Someone once told me that this job is not a challenge anymore for me and I am the type of person who needs to be challenged. I had never really thought of it that way before, but the more I think about it I am a realizing that it is true. Also with a growing family having my summers with my kids will be a nice change of pace for me and my family. J
So because I am not going anywhere, will still be around (even in your schools I hope), and will continue to be an advocate for agriculture I am saying "See You Around"
not "Goodbye". My wonderful coworkers have planned a going away open house for me on June 11 at the Ford-Iroquois Extension office in Onarga from 4-6:30 p.m. I hope to see some of you that day.
So from the bottom of my heart I say "Thank you for welcoming me into your classrooms. I will see you around!"
-Clean Air Month
-National Egg Month
-National Hamburger Month
-National Chocolate Chip Day (15)
-National Wildflower Week (6-12)
-Reading is Fun Week (12-18)
The little one is finally here!! Aimee gave birth to a little boy on April 28, 2013. Nathan Richard Chandler weighed 6 lbs 14 oz and was 20 ¼ inches long. He is welcomed home by two sisters – Addyson and Aubrey. Mom and Nathan are doing great and adjusting to being a family of five. If you wish congratulations can be sent to Greg & Aimee Chandler, 111 S Blue Spruce, Onarga, IL 60955.
Many of you have asked what will be happening with the Ag in the Classroom program after I leave. The answer is that the program will be continuing in to the next school year under the supervision of a new Ag Literacy coordinator in Ford and Iroquois Counties. Danielle Gerndt will be starting later this month in learning and taking over the Ag in the Classroom program. I will be working with Danielle to do some training on the existing program.
Danielle is a graduate of Illinois State University and has a background in horticulture. I hope that you welcome Danielle into your classrooms with the same kindness that you gave to me. Please feel free to contact the office this summer or early fall to discuss what Ag in the Classroom can bring to your classroom.
Are you interested in using Ag in the Classroom, but not sure how it can be used in your classroom? If any teacher or administrator would like to meet with staff this summer to see some of the kits or talk about what Ag in the Classroom can do for your school please contact the office at 815-268-4051.
Last month I started accepting reservations for kits to be checked out this coming school year. A list of the kits was attached with the April newsletter. The list is also available on line. The list may change a little with a few new resources coming out. The Chick It Out Kit will be on a first come first served basis. If you want this contact me NOW!! It fills up fast. Teachers who do not get it for the 2012-13 school year will be put on a waiting list for the next school year and will have first choice at dates. Call
815-268-4051 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your kits. If you have any questions please contact me. Sign up early to get the kits of your choice.
The Illinois Ag in the Classroom Grant forms are now available. These grants are open to teachers who want to incorporate agriculture in their classroom. Several have used these funds to create units in their classrooms, add books to their library, and more. The applications are not due until October, but now is the time to start thinking about what you would like to do if you had the extra money. Grants are worth $250. In addition to the general grants there are special grants for first year teachers and special book grants. For the grant application and judging criteria visit www.agintheclassroom.org under teacher resources and grants. Last year four of our teachers were awarded grants. You may apply for more than one grant (for example the general grant and a book grant).
Watseka Head Start
Paxton Day Care
Busy Hands Preschool
Iroquois West Upper Elem. School (Thawville) - Kathy Endres, Jill Murphy
Gilman Elementary School - Jayme Curl, Amber Hamilton, Amanda Kurtenbach, Rachel Basham, Carl Torbeck, Deb Talbert, Kim Eggemeyer, Chris Denton, Amber Harkins, Marsha Swan, Christina Duncan, Kristy Rader, Cheryl Broderick, Chris Basham
Danforth Elementary School - Patrick Miller, Laurie Rodriguez, Marilyn Geisler, Megan Wilken
GCMS Elementary - Kristin Wilson, Courtney Hohulin, Karisa Yeagle
Iroquois West High School - Carley Eighner, Christina Brown, Iroquois West FFA
Crescent City Grade School - Joyce Dorsey, Jody Munsterman
Clifton Central High School - Central FFA
Donovan Schools - Amy Bauer, Ryan Loy
Milford Grade School West (Milford) - Shelisa Henrichs, Connie Huffman, Lora Hooper
Milford High School - Milford FFA
PBL Clara Peterson - Katelyn Barker
PBL Eastlawn School - Lisa Niewold, Sharla Waugh, Cheryl Pitman
St. John's – Buckley - Laura Birge, Rebekah Meyer
Woodland Grade School - Deann Johnson
Wanda High School - Watseka FFA