ffa2015 Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) Philosophy and Guiding Principles
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Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) Philosophy and Guiding Principles

Beginning in 2011, the National Council for Agricultural Education held a national summit and began work on determining what the driving forces were behind high quality experiential, work based and project based learning in agricultural education. This was a need brought on by what appeared to be a lower number of students being exposed to the SAE component of agricultural education through the local classroom. Over the course of four years a national committee met and held discussions with the intent of renewing the profession’s commitment to SAE as an essential component of student learning that should be used with every student in school based agricultural education. The committee recognized that in the context of today’s agricultural education programs many teachers and students were facing significant barriers to making the commitment to this level of experiential learning a reality.

Some of those barriers include:

  • Limited teacher time based on enrollment numbers to commit adequate time to supervision
  • Less students coming from agricultural production backgrounds and less employment availability in the agriculture sector for youth
  • Lack of resources to help students create ideas and SAE programs
  • Perceived administrative barriers to what types of programs students could engage with at a local level
  • Lack of understanding in how SAE could contribute to evidence of student achievement beyond awards programs

Therefore, in 2015 the committee submitted to the Council for approval a document that would set forth philosophies and guiding principles intended to address such barriers and provide a path to 100% SAE engagement with students in the modern classroom. The following are some highlights of the work that was adopted:

  • There should be an expansive set of SAE types for students to choose from such as
    • Foundational SAE
      • Career exploration & planning
      • Personal financial planning and management
      • Workplace Safety
      • Employability skills for college and career readiness
      • Agricultural Literacy
    • Immersion SAE
      • Entrepreneurship/Ownership
      • Placement/Internships
      • Research (Experimental, Analytical, Invention)
      • School Business Enterprises
      • Service Learning
  • SAE supervision does not always have to happen in the home, teachers should use group supervision, volunteers, social media and other methods in addition to on sit visitation
  • SAE should document technical skill attainment, academic learning and other key concepts in addition to financial success to have relevance with overall student and program evaluations
  • SAE is not always something that happens away from school or outside the school day

The complete findings can be found be reading the formal document entitled, Philosophy and Guiding Principles for Execution of the Supervised Agricultural Experience Component of the Total School Based Agricultural Education Program.