Sunday, June 30, 2013

2012 PSU Grad, Brittany Arnold, recognized as 2013 Outstanding CTE New Teacher!

The award Brittany received,
Outstanding New Teacher 2013
Brittany Arnold, a 2012 graduate from Penn State’s Agricultural and Extension Education program was the advisor who chartered the Oakdale FFA chapter in the agricultural program at Oakdale High School in Maryland. The school has  been open for only  a couple of years recently expanding with the addition of an agricultural teacher to the high school. In her first year, Brittany received the award “CTE (Career and Technical Education) Outstanding New Teacher 2013”. She was unaware of her candidacy for the award until she received an email stating that she had won and would be honored at a banquet. The email said that the Career and Technology Advisory Council and the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce had selected her for the award.

Ms. Arnold and her students showing off their
 FFA sweatshirts
 To start the program and FFA chapter, Ms. Arnold  had to complete a great deal of paperwork including applications to the state and national FFA associations which asked for  school information, roster, officer team, program of activities and her chapters own constitution and bylaws. After the FFA charter was approved, Oakdale FFA was given a chapter number and planned an official ceremony so they could receive their jackets and start their chapter. Ms. Arnold made the decision to not give the jackets to the students until the ceremony because she wanted it to be a special occasion. The Maryland State FFA officers inducted and jacketed all of the officers and they signed the official charter. The district's school board members and administration attended the ceremony since once in history ceremony for the program. type of ceremony.

Brittany said her biggest struggle so far is that there is not enough time in the day to do everything that she feels needs to be done. She had to prioritize and realize that she was not going to be able to check off everything on her ‘to do list’ for the year, and that it was okay to not get everything accomplished. She feels positive though, and said that they will pick up stronger this coming year.

Her proudest moment of the year is when her students led their first Oakdale High School FFA banquet. She said they did a great job especially for not having anything to go off of as an example. They worked as a team and she really enjoyed seeing all of them in their FFA jackets.

Their chapters FFA Bulletin board.
Ms. Arnold's the best moment of the year was when they hosted their first agricultural day at the high school. They called it P.A.S.S. Day which stands for Plants, Animals, Science and Services. Her FFA and agriculture students ran eight stations connected to all the diverse parts of agriculture. Examples of the stations include: World Hunger, Butter Making, Milking the Cow (live), Vet practices, chickens and eggs and more. She thought it was amazing and eye opening to see over 500 students immersed in agriculture when the year before it did not even exist in the school.

When asked about what from her time at Penn State helped her out the most, she responded, ”the heart and dedication that my professors showed me.”   They showed her that being a teacher was more than just showing up and delivering material. It’s about personal connections and showing students you care. At Oakdale High, they give the students an opportunity to write thank you notes to a faculty member and all of Ms. Arnold's notes mentioned that they were thankful that she cared about them. During her time at Penn State, she also learned useful teaching techniques like E-moments and ways to check for understanding – she uses these techniques on a daily basis.

Brittany Arnold at 2012 PSU Graduation
with Teacher Education Faculty
Lastly, when asked if she had any tips or comments for future teachers that will start their own programs she said "don’t hesitate to be different!!!! I did some things this year that many other schools don’t do and I took the program and ran with it. I have doubled my numbers in one year and a lot of that is because I went out and advertised and showed students what agriculture was. Opening your own program or chapter is great because you get the chance to make your own traditions! I started things that I am so proud of and the students really enjoy it. Show that you care about them and that you are really there for them and they will be devoted to you and your program in no time.”

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog

Jeanne Case
Student Blogger
2014 Dover HS Student Teacher
Twitter: JRose_Case

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