ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The National Council for Agricultural Education will collaborate with Project Lead the Way Inc. to develop national student curriculum and teacher training course materials in agricultural science education. The program of study will include a series of two foundation courses, four specialization courses and one capstone course, each comprising a full academic year.

The project starts July 1, 2007, and expires June 30, 2013. The council will contract with PLTW for curriculum and teacher training development.

"The agricultural science curriculum that we are developing will carry us forward with new technological dimensions and will prepare our students to be the scientific workforce needed for tomorrow," said Allan Sulser, chairman of the National Council.

"Agricultural education has a golden opportunity to shape the future, and this new curriculum will contribute to our strategic goal of having 10,000 quality agricultural education programs in operation in this country by the year 2015," he said.

Richard Blais, CEO of Project Lead the Way, said "We are pleased to contribute the PLTW curriculum model to the process. We hope to develop a synergistic relationship, each contributing our unique insights and strengths to the project."

The National Council for Agricultural Education will maintain the primary role in the development of the program, and a Project Lead the Way senior curriculum designer will serve as a consultant in the process and mentor The Council staff. The courses will parallel the PLTW model and also include the three-circle agricultural education delivery of rigorous and relevant classroom curriculum, supervised agricultural experience programs, and FFA membership for all students in the program.

FFA LifeKnowledge curriculum will also be embedded into the instructional design, and the program of study will incorporate academic alignment with the Curriculum of Agricultural Sciences Education model and the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics curriculum modules. Each course will include a professional development program for the instructor.

Courses to be developed and target release dates are:

  • Principles of Agricultural Science (Plant): Fall 2009

  • Principles of Agricultural Science (Animal): Fall 2009

  • Animal and Plant Biotechnology: Fall 2010

  • Bio Systems Engineering and Technology: Fall 2011

  • Food Science and Safety: Fall 2012

  • Natural Resources Environmental Sciences: Fall 2013

  • Agricultural Sciences Research and Development (Capstone): Fall 2014

  • The Council and PLTW will work together to develop funding support, a course guidebook, marketing and public relations materials to be distributed to schools and universities. The new curriculum will help meet the need for well-trained, qualified employees in the area of agricultural science and is part of an overall 10x15 strategic initiative.

    The National Council for Agricultural Education is the premier leadership organization for shaping and strengthening school based agricultural education (SBAE) at all levels in the United States. The Council proactively identifies current and emerging issues of national concern, provides innovative solutions in response to current and emerging issues, coordinates the efforts of appropriate entities in strengthening programs, and serves as a national advocate for school based agricultural education.

    The Agricultural Education Mission Agricultural Education prepares students for successful careers and a lifetime of informed choices in the global agriculture, food, fiber, and natural resources systems.

    SOURCE: National Council for Agricultural Education and Project Lead the Way news release.