Examining student involvement in the total program in small schools in New Mexico
Keywords:Rural, school-based agricultural education, United States, Case study
The dynamics facing rural development and school policy in New Mexico has limited merging and redistricting efforts in small schools in isolated rural communities. This has created a situation where small schools exist in several rural communities in the state. These programs often include school-based agricultural education as a program offering. The dynamics of the schools can impact how the total program approach commonly used in agricultural education can be implemented. The purpose of the study was to explore how agriculture teachers in small schools in New Mexico developed their own institutional polices and worked with the policies established by the school to involve students in the total program. A qualitative case study with six teachers was conducted. The themes emphasized the nuanced nature of the programs as well as the importance of relationships with students, parents, community members, and school staff to implement these programs. The teachers faced challenges related to balancing student time and working with athletics for scheduling. Successful programs cater to the context of the school and community by getting to know the students they serve. Advice and best practices provided by the teachers were discussed. Recommendations were provided related to establishing and maintaining relationships.
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