Norris team testifies to state legislators on importance of Ag Ed

Norris team testifies to state legislators on importance of Ag Ed

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Norris senior Bryce Doeschot provided powerful testimony on the importance of agriculture to the Nebraska economy and its vital role in education as he spoke candidly about his educational experiences in the Norris District and background in family farming to a Nebraska legislative committee Friday.  

Other leaders in the renowned Norris Agriculture education program also provided testimony to the combined committees of the state unicameral’s Education and Agriculture committees Friday, October 5 at the state capital.  The senators convened in hearing for LR-511, an important interim study about Agricultural Education.  The primary goal of the study is to determine whether agriculture is incorporated as an essential component at all grade levels in a consistent and thorough manner to provide students with agricultural literacy.  The Associated Press covered the hearing and it has been picked up on national media wires in Nebraska and across the country.

The study examined current curricula in Ag Ed and the Norris District was present to offer input as a best practices program that emphasizes high expectations and the infusion of agricultural literacy throughout all grade levels and across content areas.  Agriculture industry advocates and a handful of other schools including Omaha Bryan were also present and provided testimony. Content specialists from the Nebraska Department of Education and the state's Education Commissioner, Dr. Roger Breed, were also among those who testified or observed the proceedings.

Testifying on behalf of Norris were Norris educators Dr. Kristyn Harms and Mr. Doug Malone. Representing the Farm Committee of the Norris FFA Alum chapter that has been instrumental in the success of the  was Norris parent Ed Woeppel. Dr. Skretta submitted written testimony.  Dr. Harms and Mr. Malone provided colorful examples and anecdotes demonstrating the importance of agricultural programming and the infusion of ag ed components in ensuring a quality education, and fielded questions from senators anxious to figure out how  the successes of the Norris agriculture program and FFA Chapter might translate elsewhere.

The hit of the afternoon for the senators, though, was the presentation compiled by Norris seniors Kyle Essink and Bryce Doeschot as they submitted a packet that offered a thorough synopsis of the district’s innovative Learning Lab project that has created a sustained 111-acre farm operation offering students practical lessons in farm management and authentic scientific analysis of test plots. Bryce's commentary and insights were met with a warm reception by the senators.