Four Illinois Agriculture Education instructors attended the 12-day CASE AFNR class in late July. They are (from left) Jesse Faber, Pontiac School District; Toni Saso, Somonauk School District; Lisa Oellerich, Scales Mound School District; Mark Steber, East Richland School District. Contributed photo
Four Illinois Agriculture Education instructors attended the 12-day CASE AFNR class in late July. They are (from left) Jesse Faber, Pontiac School District; Toni Saso, Somonauk School District; Lisa Oellerich, Scales Mound School District; Mark Steber, East Richland School District. Contributed photo
SCALES MOUND-The Scales Mound School District agriculture program has received a national certification from The CASE (Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education) Institute. Lisa Oellerich, agriculture education instructor, attended training for the Introduction to Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR), held July 21 to Aug 1 in Mankato, Minn.

The institute provides the foundation component of teacher preparation that is necessary to ensure an instructor's readiness to deliver CASE curricula to students. CASE also provides a collaborative setting where teachers are immersed in content specific, project-based instruction. The AFNR course is the base for additional courses in animal science, plant science, biotechnology, natural resources and food science.

The Scales Mound School District funded Oellerich's training. While at the institute, Oellerich was in training for eight hours each day with additional evening homework assignments. Nineteen instructors from across the country attended the program. In addition to the 12-day class, instructors visited a 5,000-cow Jersey dairy operation, a vineyard and retail sales location, a 2.5-acre FFA/school garden, and an exotic animal zoo owned and operated by a former Minnesota FFA member.
"I am excited to implement this curriculum in the fall, replacing the current first-year ag course with this highly science project, problem and activity oriented curriculum," Oellerich said. "This CASE curriculum is current for agriculture and is cross-walked with all national science, math, and English standards. It is going to be great to prepare local students to be 21st-century learners with this student centered curriculum."

Scales Mound School will be one of only four Illinois high schools offering this introduction to AFNR curriculum to students this year.

As the fall approaches, Oellerich will coordinate with Scales Mound science instructors on the additional equipment that it will be necessary to purchase for the new course. New equipment will be purchased with funds raised at the FFA auction this past February.