New Kenton-OHP Ag Educator Shalie Terrill.
The new Agriculture Education teacher at Kenton High School is making strides in the school and community. Shalie Terrill was hired last summer as the new Agriculture Education Instructor and FFA Advisor in Kenton, and since taking over, has made significant progress in the program at Kenton. Terrill spoke with WKTN Radio about some of the changes that the modern Agriculture Education program has gone through even in the last ten years.
“The curriculum has definitely changed, in Ag Education. Two years ago they adopted a whole new curriculum. So courses are a little bit different…the benefit of that, from a teacher’s perspective is that the students can get a lot more in depth on a particular subject. They can choose the course that best fits their wants or needs, and strengths. There’s still many of the same concepts. We’re still teaching problem solving, critical thinking, many of the same things that we did in high school, but perhaps in a different way. I think that it prepares students a bit better, for if they choose to follow up in college or in the field because they’ll know a bit more than just the basics” said Terrill.
No stranger to Ag Education or FFA, Terrill was a member of the Ag program at Ben Logan High School in the mid 2000’s, where she had many projects throughout her years, showing Market Lambs, Hogs and Cattle at the Hardin County Fair. In 2007, Terrill was selected to serve on the State FFA Officer Team as the State Treasurer, where she traveled all around the state promoting FFA and Agriculture Education. While serving on the state officer team, Terrill also attended classes at the Ohio State University where she majored in Ag Education. Having graduated from OSU, Terrill worked in the Xenia School District for a couple of years before coming to Kenton.
“I feel very privileged to have had the experience in FFA and Ag Education first as a student, and then as a State Officer, and now finally as an Advisor, and to be able to come back to my area, while not necessarily my home community but one near to me, it has been really neat to have that experience.” said Terrill.
Terrill at work in the classroom. Ag Science covers a wide variety of topics these days, from Ag Business and Communication to Animal Science and Plant Science.
Several years ago, the Kenton Ag Education Program and FFA were outsourced to the Ohio High Point Career Center, a decision which while saving the Kenton School District significant finances, was met with minor opposition from members of the Kenton community, primarily former students of the program. In the years since, the program has been opened to a wide variety of resources, which Terrill says are a huge benefit to the program in ways that never could have happened before.
“There are actually a surprising number of Ag programs in the state of Ohio which are satellite programs of career centers. With school funding being the way it is today, that’s just something that districts have to resort to. But it’s not a bad thing. We have a lot of resources in our classes that we wouldn’t be able to potentially have if not for the partnership with Ohio Hi Point. For example, we are able to provide laptops for all of our students to use. Record keeping is all on the computer these days, and no in physical books like we used to use, so we can provide all of our students with tools that they need to do their work” said Terrill.
Ohio Hi Point has also partnered with several other school districts to provide resources as well, and Terrill said that this partnership among other schools is a huge benefit because it allows them to all share resources.
“Right now, one of things discussed was us getting a virtual welder. That’s something that we can share amongst all the programs. The reality of one program being able to afford something like that is pretty slim. But when you have pooled resources like that, it really does help for large equipment purchases.” said Terrill.
Kenton FFA Chapter members in the Homecoming Parade this year.
Terrill started at the beginning of July, meeting with students and getting to know them and their families, and because the FFA was in the middle of the summer work season, also seeing what kind of projects the students were working on. Terrill says that she has found it gratifying to be working in such a robust agriculture community.
“It’s been pleasantly surprising how much support there is for this program. I think this community wants a strong Ag program, and they want their students to get the most out of it. It’s why I came into this profession. I experienced it as a student, and a state officer. I clearly got a lot out of it. I think it shaped me into the person I am today, and I would hate for some other student to not have that same experience.” said Terrill.