Erica Eickert Attends State Agriscience Inquiry Institute Appleton, Wis.Erica Eickert


Local agriscience teacher, Erica Eickert, was selected to attend an Agriscience Inquiry Institute hosted by the National Association of Agricultural Educators and the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators in Appleton. This professional development institute focused on teaching agricultural educators how to incorporate inquiry-based learning into their courses. The institute was facilitated by Wisconsin agriscience educators who have been trained as National Agriscience Teacher Ambassadors.


The Wisconsin NAAE Agriscience Inquiry Institute focused on improving agriscience teachers’ ability to incorporate scientific teaching methodology, problem solving, and inquiry-based learning into their existing agriscience curricula. This training is invaluable for solidifying the connections between the core subject areas of math, science, language arts and social studies with agriscience.


Throughout the training, teachers engaged from both the perspective of a student and a teacher. Inquiry-based teaching is student-centered, allows for more collaborative learning, and encompasses 21st Century Skills development. Research shows that students who learn through hands-on, inquiry-based lessons are more successful in high school and beyond. Another goal is to improve student performance on standardized tests through the methodologies of inquiry-based instruction and activities in the agriscience classroom.


During the training, participants explored inquiry-based learning in the Agricultural Power, Environment/Natural Resources, Plant Science, Animal/Vet Science, and Food Science pathways.


“These teachers are leaving the training with a powerful skill,” said Alissa Smith, NAAE associate executive director. “Students become deeply engaged when they are challenged to ask questions, investigate the answers, and build new knowledge. In the process, they discover connections to things they learned previously, and also learn how to communicate their new findings effectively. Agriscience is a perfect place for teachers to incorporate this style of learning, because it is already so hands-on.


The Wisconsin Agriscience Inquiry Institute grew out of another professional development program for agricultural educators – the National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Program. This is a highly selective national program through which a handful of teachers each year are trained in inquiry-based learning and highlighting the science in agriscience. Wisconsin has several National Agriscience Teacher Ambassadors, and they wanted to share the impact of that training with their colleagues throughout the state.


This program was sponsored by DuPont, the National Association of Agricultural Educators, the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators and the Wisconsin FFA Foundation. NAAE is the professional organization in the United States for agricultural educators. It provides its’ nearly 8,000 members with professional networking and development opportunities, professional liability coverage, and extensive awards and recognition programs. The mission of NAAE is “professionals providing agricultural education for the global community through visionary leadership, advocacy and service.” The NAAE headquarters are in Lexington, Ky.



KHS Ag Instructor CitedMr. Friend & Ag Students

July 13, Tri-County News


The first line of the National FFA Creed reads, “I believe in the future of agriculture.”


Agriculture is one of Wisconsin’s leading industries. It has evolved drastically over its rich history and will need to continue to evolve to meet the needs of a population that is still growing exponentially. Currently the average age of an agricultural worker in Wisconsin is 55. Within the next 10 years there will be over 100,000 agriculture-related job openings in the state that will need to be filled as the current work force retires.


High school agricultural education programming and qualified educators to lead them will be vital to meeting the food, fiber, natural resource, biotechnological, and agri-business needs of the state. According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction there is a current shortage of qualified agriculture teachers to meet the demand. There are several high schools in the state that cannot find a teacher to fill their open positions. This means students at those schools may not be exposed to potential agricultural careers or prepared with job-ready skills to go directly into the work force.


David Friend was recently honored by the Wisconsin Association of Agriculture Educators as a gold-rated "Teacher of Teachers" at a recent state-wide award ceremony. To achieve a gold rating, the WAAE requires that at least five former students of an individual teacher are employed at least one year in a secondary or post-secondary agriculture program. Friend's five former students, the programs they teach at, and the college they graduated from include Tracy (Nennig) Heinbuch at Plymouth High School, University of Wisconsin-River Falls; Whitney Barnes at Bay Port High School, UW-RF; Sean VanderWaal at Glenwood City High School, UW-RF; Nicole Petrie at Palmyra-Eagle High School, UW-Platteville; and Gina Kost at Moberly Area Technical Center in Missouri, UW-P.



Mrs. Eickert

Mrs. Eickert

Mr. Friend
Mr. Friend

Congratulations to Mr. Friend for earning the 2015 Teacher Mentor Award, which recognizes teachers that have made an effort to provide support to beginning teachers. Kiel is fortunate to have this outstanding individual on our Ag Ed Team!




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