An award winning agricultural education teacher describes how her program has found success through engagement.
Story by Amy Fiegley
For Kasie Bogart, being an Agricultural Education teacher and FFA advisor is a dream that began her sophomore year in high school.
“I have always loved FFA and always wanted everyone to experience it,” said Bogart. Kasie remembers taking a specific piece of advice at the start of her teaching career from her own high school Ag teacher, who said, “You are an Ag teacher first,”. That advice is something that she practices in her classroom at Arkansas City High School with her students, all while encouraging to them to go for a career they care about and to forever be an advocate for agriculture.
The Arkansas City High School Agriculture Department, which also consists of Mr. Jacob Sumpter and Ms. Josie Reilly, was awarded the Kansas Association of Agricultural Education (KAAE) Outstanding Middle/Secondary program in January 2021. Just this year the trio found out that they have the most requested classes in the school, and with that, their FFA membership has flourished as well.
Kasie was also recently recognized as the KAAE and K-ACTE teacher of the year and K-ACTE Carl Perkins Outstanding Service award winner. Her passion for agriculture and FFA is a commitment she is proud of.
Engagement Beyond the Classroom
With a new FFA season in full bloom, the chapter not only attends a variety of contests, but also hosts activities such as a district-wide Hoedown, chapter fun nights, as well as hosting Little Aggie Day for their local elementary schools and attending State and National conventions. Celebrating successes and creating traditions are very important for Kasie. The chapter conducts a program called “Member of the Month”, which recognizes outstanding members in the chapter.
While growing the size of their classes allows for the department to have a greater influence, it can also present challenges that Bogart and her team tackle head on. “Having 300 students in the program can sometimes be a hard to implement a foundational SAE for first year students in our Ag classes.,” Bogart said. To ensure that their students engage with an SAE, they partner with local businesses and advisory board members to provide an SAE Day, which lets students experience agriculture firsthand.
Engaging Students and the Community
For those chapters who are wanting to build their membership, Kasie would suggest brainstorming with their chapter officers on where they might see the potential problems or to work with the local community and see if there is a spark there. She also stresses the importance of selecting projects that the students are eager about, because it can make a difference.
“Be willing to not just do the same activity year after year, but to change it up,” states Bogart. “Find out what is important in your community and build on that.”
The past 14 and a half years of teaching have flown by for Bogart. With each new year that comes her way, her love for the program grows stronger and stronger. Watching her students become leaders and knowing that someday they will take on the world is something she cherishes as she continues to use her dream of teaching agriculture to positively affect the students of Arkansas City High School.
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