The Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom program received a generous gift during the Illinois State Fair's Ag Day. Representatives from AT&T presented a check for $20,000 to the program. The donation marks another example of the company's efforts to support agriculture in the state of Illinois.
"We appreciate the commitment AT&T shows to the entire state of Illinois," says Susan Moore, director, IAA Foundation. "By investing in a program like IAITC, urban and rural students alike benefit from understanding how important our farmers are. It's a welcome sign to have a partner like AT&T who sees how making that connection from farm to fork is so vital today, particularly for the livelihood of our agriculture community."
Paul La Schiazza, president, AT&T, adds that supporting IAITC is about more than helping kids learn about agriculture - it's about preparing students for the future.
"At AT&T, we recognize that our people are our most critical resource," La Schiazza notes. "So we invest in education because we want to ensure the next generation of leaders and workers is prepared to meet the great challenges of a global economy. Today, we are proud to support the Agriculture in the Classroom program to ensure that the next generation fully appreciates the benefits of agriculture to the people and the economy of Illinois."
As a result of AT&T's donation, IAITC is able to distribute the Illinois Agriculture School Calendar to more than 25,000 classrooms. This farm-focused education tool, and IAITC program staple, features a different agriculture theme each month, often related to the time of year and topics of interest. Daily "Ag Facts" keep students engaged in learning about the importance of agriculture and how it helps put food on their tables. Other teacher-favorite features include nutrition information, vocabulary words and suggested reading.
"The Illinois Agriculture Calendar works seamlessly in conjunction with other IAITC materials," says Kevin Daugherty, director of education for Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom. "Students look forward to reading the daily "ag fact" on the calendar. In fact, teachers tell us that often students will remind them that they need to read their ag fact for the day if she forgets. It's truly a great way to keep agriculture a part of education every day."
IAITC has a rich history of being the agriculture education resource for teachers to utilize in classrooms. All of its lessons meet Illinois state learning standards and teachers use the program to enhance their existing curriculum. A network of county coordinators and volunteers deliver programs and materials with accurate farm content to teachers and children in all 102 Illinois counties. Universities and public school systems recognize the IAITC program as the source for training teachers and educating children about the importance of agriculture, including the role it plays in providing healthy food choices to achieve a nutritious diet.