GAVC’s Elise Hackett earns grant

1 of 38 agriculture teachers nationwide to receive award

MORRIS – Elise Hackett, an agriscience educator at Grundy Area Vocational Center, is one of 38 teachers nationwide to be awarded a CASE Implementation Grant sponsored by Corteva Agriscience. This grant will allow Hackett to participate in a professional development institute in the field of plant science for the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education course in the GAVC agriculture program.

CASE is an instructional system that is changing the culture of agriculture programs in the U.S. through intense teacher professional development; inquiry-based, student-focused lessons; assessment; and certification. CASE equips teachers to elevate student experiences in the agriculture classroom and prepares students for success in college and careers emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math.

“This curriculum is built for ag teachers,” Hackett said. “I really like it because it’s not just a curriculum you sit and listen to. It allows the kids to explore and learn on their own and give them ownership of what they are learning.”

CASE Director Nancy Trivette looks forward to seeing the impact these funds will have on both new and established CASE programs.

“It’s a pleasure to once again announce the grantees,” Trivette said. “It’s always great to provide funding through the generous support of Corteva Agriscience for implementation of CASE nationwide.”

With the goal of supporting workforce development and sparking student interest in enriching lives through agriculture, Corteva Agriscience has offered this grant program for the past eight years to public and private schools and universities to assist with the implementation of CASE. Teachers were able to apply for grants up to $5,000 to help implement the CASE program in their schools, such as enrolling a teacher at a CASE Institute for professional development and buying classroom equipment and resources.

“A lot of the assignments have to do with the community aspect,” Hackett said. “For example, we will look at a local agriculture business and see how they interact with the community. It gives the students a better understanding of what these businesses do.”

For Hackett, it is an opportunity to help broaden her course.

“My first couple of years, I had to make up my own curriculum,” she said. “There was no clear plan or textbook for teachers. When I received the grant, I saw how the curriculum worked and how it affected the students. We will do a day in the classroom, then go out to our school farm and put what we learned the day before into action. The students really like it a lot.”

Rob Oesterle

Rob has been a sports writer for the Morris Herald-News and Joliet Herald-News for more than 20 years. He is currently also writing news for the Morris Herald-News.