Skip to main content

Professional Development Grant

Posted Date: 02/12/2024

Professional Development Grant

Recently, some of our agricultural education teachers were able to attend a CTE conference in Phoenix.  Mr. Hugh Jenkins from Moorcroft High School shared a little bit of his experience below.


First, I would like to thank WDE for providing the grants that make attending professional development opportunities like ACTE/NAAE possible.  As the breadwinner and sole provider for my family, living on a teacher's wages can be a unique juggling act.  For years I have watched this opportunity come and go and have listened to my colleagues within the Agricultural Education field talk about what they learned, and the connections they have made by attending the Association for Career and Technical Education/ National Association for Agriculture Educators conference.


I applied for and received the WDE’s Professional Development Grant last spring, which allowed me to afford the transportation and lodging along with the conference fees to attend ACTE/NAAE in Phoenix, Arizona, this last fall.  What an experience it was for me, and totally rejuvenating for me to associate with other professionals in my field.  I was even able to find friends I had not seen since college and teachers for Utah who helped me get started on this wild adventure of Agriculture Education.


I saw technology I had never seen before or, thought wasn’t available yet.  Tech I had only seen on futuristic movies and television shows.  I am talking about the WAYMO car.  At first, I assumed it was the Google car taking photos of the city of Phoenix, and yes, I waved and jumped, thinking that in a few months, I could look up Phoenix on Google Maps and see Mr. Brian Kennah standing there waving and jumping up and down.  Turns out the WAYMO is a driverless taxi cab!  Oh yeah, this country kid had to try it out!  I downloaded the App and rode with WAYMO anytime I needed a ride! 


The sessions were amazing!  I had the opportunity to attend a state leadership break out and learned quite a lot about how other states run their associations and the award process.  I learned how to make a DIY dryer ball from wool.  Teaching techniques to engage students in the classrooms.  Carcass fabrication in class is a possibility and I learned how to make it work.  I attended some social-emotional learning breakouts to help me with my skills in that area.  The keynote speaker at an opening session was outstanding!  Morris Morrison gave an outstanding speech about working hard and getting back up when you're down.  I was inspired and uplifted.  


Though sessions are good, and part of the reason we go to these conferences, probably the most meaningful time to me was to reconnect with old friends and visit with colleagues outside of the conference.  Some of the best professional development comes from those conversations, and more material is swapped from Google Drive to Google Drive than attending break-out sessions. 


Thank you, WDE, for providing the grant funds that helped me go to the ACTE/NAAE conference in Phoenix last fall.  I plan to apply for another grant and hope to attend the national conference again next year!  If you are an Ag Teacher and are sitting on the fence about attending this conference, please fill out the grant and go!  You owe it to yourself to get there!