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Your agricultural education program will consist of three major components—classroom and related instruction, a Supervised Agricultural Experience program for each student and an FFA chapter. To develop a successful program, bind the three components together with a clear mission for your program and yourself as a teacher.
Steps to Success
- Explore the power of mission and the role written mission statements can play in your success.
- Review sample mission statements from other instructors and programs.
- Follow ten steps for setting program goals. Record your program goals and goal attainment plans.
THE POWER OF STRATEGIC PLANNING
Program Vision, Mission, and Philosophy.
Teachers should have a guiding philosophy for all three components of the program. To facilitate the program mission, vision, and philosophy answer these questions.
- What is your philosophy of teaching?
- What is your personal vision for leadership development?
- What is your policy or vision for SAE?
- What is your vision for community development?
Fail to plan or plan to fail, this is all too true. Strategic planning is an important step for program success. To help facilitate the strategic planning process, teachers should answer the following questions.
- Where do you want to be in the next three years? Long term goals help frame the future of the program.
- What resources are available that will help accomplish these goals? To truly develop a local program mission, vision and philosophy, the teacher should strategically identify the needs of the local community and provide students opportunities to develop skills to meet those needs. Use the resources identified in this guide to identify stakeholders, school, and community resources that will facilitate goal completion.
- What strategic goals do you have for the coming year? Once long term goals are in place, it is easier to identify what needs to be tackled in the coming year. Engage teaching partners, chapter officers, administrators, and alumni to help accomplish the yearly strategic goals.
- What’s the plan? Develop a purposeful approach to tackling the goals. Plans involve things like role assignment, budgets, and marketing campaigns. Identify the actions, expenses, and messaging which bring a goal to life. During planning sessions, create plans that lay out the necessary budgets, project plans, deadlines and accountability. Without a purposeful plan, the strategy remains an academic exercise with a low chance of goal accomplishment.
- What are the known risks? Every plan will face risks and potential derailments. Having alternative plans is important to mitigate for those challenges.
PROGRAM MISSION and Vision STATEMENTS
Mission and vision statements define your program’s purpose and serve as a clear guide for helping you make decisions. Although they are often spoken about in the same breath, your program’s mission and vision are two very different things.
A mission statement focuses on today and what you do to achieve your vision.
Misson statement questions look like:
- What do we do?
- Whom do we serve?
- How do we serve them?
A vision statement focuses on tomorrow and what you want your program to become.
Vision statement questions look like:
- What are our hopes and dreams?
- What problem are we solving for the greater good?
- Who and what are we inspiring to change?
Source: Skrabanek, B., Skrabanek, W. by B., Skrabanek, B., Percy, B., Knerl, L., Hil, L., Rodela, J., & Buleen, C. (2022, October 7). Difference between Vision & Mission statements: 25 examples. ClearVoice Blog. Retrieved November 22, 2022, from https://www.clearvoice.com/blog/difference-between-mission-vision-statement-examples/
Vision and mission statements should be simple but meaningful. When considering taking an action for your program, you should be able say, “Does this align with our mission and vision?” If so, then the answer about what to do becmes much more clear.
Here are the vision and mission statements from a few well-known organizations to provide some inspiration for writing your own.
National FFA Organization
Mission: FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
Vision: FFA provides the next generation of leaders who will change the world.
Mission: Science for a better lilfe.
Vision: Health for all, hunger for none.
Mission: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Vision: To provide access to the world’s information in one click.
Mission: We strive to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection, and the utmost convenience.
Vision: To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
BENEFITS OF PROGRAM GOAL DEVELOPMENT
Setting goals for your agricultural education programs offers you, your students, and other program participants many advantages.
PROGRAM GOALS CAN:
- Enable programs to provide opportunities for students and communities.
- Empower the program to use participants’ talents.
- Provide purpose and direction to the program.
- Set parameters to guide program related decisions.
- Improve organization and effectiveness.
- Enable the program to do more for others.
- Improve the program’s sense of purpose.
- Make program participants more enthusiastic and motivated.
- Empower the program and its participants to achieve uncommon results.
USING SMART GOALS FOR PROGRAM
Similar to when you set personal goals, when setting goals for your program, it is important to make them SMART.
- SMART goals are:
- S – specific
- M – measurable
- A – achievable
- R – relevant
- T – time-based
For instance, a SMART program goal might be to add one new Animal Science course for the upcoming school year.
In order to make help inform your program goals, it is important to focus on continual improvement through program evaluation. Program evaluation and improvement continues in the next section of this resource.
PROGRAM EVALUATION AND IMPROVEMENT
IMPORTANCE OF CONTINUAL IMPROVEMENT & PROGRAM PLANNING
Continuous quality improvement is a commitment to develop and implement ways to raise performance in the specific quality measurements chosen by the class. It is a continuous process of student problem solving and evaluation of themselves, their peers and their work processes.
USING THE NATIONAL QUALITY PROGRAM STANDARDS
The National Quality Program Standards were developed by The Council in 2009 as the result of a need to provide consistent delivery of high-quality agricultural education programs across the nation. The hallmarks of these standards focused on relevant instruction, rigorous clear goals, continuous program improvement, and the development of essential skills for student success. Agriculture educators are encouraged to involve stakeholders .