COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, YOUTH AND CULTURE

02/07/12-AMENDED AND HELD IN COMMITTEE 01/19/12-REPORTED OUT TO THE COMMITTEE ON RULES AND JUDICIARY 10/31/2011-HELD IN COMMITTEE

BILL NO. __29-0160___
Twenty-Ninth Legislature Of The Virgin Islands Of The United States
September 9, 2011

An Act amending title 17 Virgin Islands Code to enact the Agriculture in the Classroom Act

PROPOSED BY:

Senators Terrence “Positive” Nelson and Sammuel Sanes

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WHEREAS, there is a need to expand youth awareness and understanding of our Virgin Islands agriculture and natural resources by integrating agricultural concepts into core educational disciplines and the V.I. Board of Education’s supporting programs; and WHEREAS, there is a need to promote, foster and understand the agricultural economy of the Virgin Islands; and WHEREAS, students should understand the basic educational concepts which includes agriculture; and WHEREAS, an Agriculture in the Classroom Program would foster the basic understanding of our food system, the importance of plants, animals, insects, soil, vegetables, fruits and the like; and

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WHEREAS, workshops should be included for the students and teachers to be successful; and WHEREAS, agriculture in the classroom is encouraged in grades K-12; and WHEREAS, agriculture in the classroom in the Virgin Islands is a grass roots program that will provide teachers and students in grades K-12 with an understanding of how our food is produced and how to preserve our natural resources; and WHEREAS, agriculture in the curriculum will be required from grade K thru 6th grade and will be offered as an optional class based on a student’s interest from 7th thru 12th grade; and WHEREAS, the Agriculture in the Classroom Program seeks to work within existing curricula to provide basic information on our local Agriculture industry; and WHEREAS, some of the concepts Agriculture in the Classroom Program will emphasize are agriculture and history, geography of agriculture, agriculture and technology, economics of agriculture, agriculture and the world, careers in agriculture, and agriculture and public policy; and WHEREAS, the Agriculture in the Classroom Program will be carried out in each public school in the territory by educators, volunteers, and representatives from agriculture organizations and businesses in the Virgin Islands; and WHEREAS, the National Agriculture in the Classroom Program serves as an available resource to local school systems seeking to promote an understanding and appreciation for agriculture by infusing agriculture content into school curriculums; and WHEREAS, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture in the Classroom Program has been an effective tool in portraying agriculture's role to students of all ages; and WHEREAS, there are more than 300 careers in the agriculture field; Now, Therefore, Be it enacted by the Legislature of the Virgin Islands:

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SECTION 1. (a) Title 17, Chapter 5, Section 41, subsection (c) is amended by adding a new appropriately numbered paragraph to read as follows: “( ) Basic agriculture education for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade pursuant to §41e of this chapter.” (b) Title 17, chapter 5 is amended by adding a new §41e to read as follows: “§ 41e. Agriculture in the Classroom Program; basic agriculture education (a)(1) The Department of Education is authorized and directed to establish and maintain a basic agriculture education program with special courses and classroom instructors taught and administered by qualified educators and teachers, in every public elementary school in the Virgin Islands. The

Department of Education, in collaboration with The Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture and the United States Cooperative Extension Service of the University of the Virgin Islands will develop the curriculum for the Agriculture in the Classroom Program. The program will utilize a network of local volunteers such as high school students for On the Job Training, parents, retired teachers, local farmers and business across each district. These individuals and businesses will provide supplies, equipment and knowledge towards the enhancement of the program. The United States Department of Agriculture will be used as a resource to assist the territory in carrying out coordination of the Agriculture in the Classroom Program efforts by providing program ideas and materials. (2) The Department of Education shall seek the assistance of other government agencies and private organizations that are involved in the area of agriculture education for development and implementation of an agriculture education curriculum guide composed of thematic units, lesson plans, and educational field trips that are aligned with the academic content standards of the Department of Education for grades Kindergarten through grade twelve.

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(3) The Department of Education shall arrange for at least one workshop per year for each school district to provide training to public elementary school teachers in the following areas: 1. how to use agriculture education to supplement and enhance the teacher's existing classroom curriculum; 2. the development of agricultural curriculum activities applicable to students from kindergarten through grade six; and 3. how to properly conduct agricultural curriculum activities.” (b)(1) Each public elementary school shall designate one faculty member to serve as a coordinator for agriculture education activities within the school and to provide oversight of the school garden or greenhouse. (2) Each teacher will prepare instruction to assist the students when on a field trip regarding the types of animals, birds, etc in our environment. Visual aids will be used in lesson plans. Every child will be educated about food, fiber and natural resources. At a minimum, elementary students should progressively be able to demonstrate a basic agricultural knowledge as set forth below: (A) Kindergarten: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) Explain or demonstrate how plants and animals grow. Explain or demonstrate knowledge of where their food originates. Understand that plants and animals need food and water to live. Participate in growing a classroom or school garden. Explain the major needs of plants and animals (including humans). Explain the relationship between plants and animals (food sources; food chain). (vii) Participate in growing a classroom or school garden.

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(viii) Explain that farmers and others make a living by growing and producing food, fiber and fuel. (B) Grade 1: (i) Explain the relationship between environments and the plants and animals that live in them (dependency; food chain). (ii) Differentiate between processed and fresh foods and determine some of the nutritional value of each. (iii) Identify good food choices. (iv) Participate in growing a classroom or school garden. (v) Explain that many people work in agriculture growing and producing food; and making other products including clothing, building materials, hair products, sheets, fuel, growing trees and biomass. (C) Grade 2: (i) (ii) Describe the life cycle of plants and animals. Describe how plants and animals depend on each other (how their life cycles are interconnected). (iii) Participate in growing a classroom or school garden. (iv) Determine simple products that come directly from plants and animals. (D) Grade 3: (i) (ii) List the major parts of a plant (roots, stem, leaf, flower). Describe how plants and animals effect the environment.

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(iii) Explain some of the differentiated jobs in the agriculture and natural resources industry; for example: soil scientist, horticulturalist, nutritionist, chemist, microbiologist, etc. (iv) Explain how plants need water, nutrients, and sunlight to grow. (E) Grade 4: (i) (ii) List the major parts of a plant (roots, stem, leaf, flower). Describe photosynthesis and its role in plant health.

(iii) Describe the need for nutritious food for animals. (iv) Explain how plants use water to get their food (available nutrients in soil and supplements: organic and synthetic fertilizers). (v) (F) Grade 5: (i) (ii) List the major parts of a plant and describe their functions. Distinguish between organic and inorganic fertilizers. Describe the agricultural history of the Virgin Islands.

(iii) Explain how agriculture affects the environment. (iv) Discuss the importance of the agriculture industry in the Territory, the United States and the world. (v) (G) Grade 6: (i) (ii) Describe the water cycle, the nitrogen cycle, and the carbon cycle. Explain the need for conservation of soil, water, and other natural resources. Describe the agricultural history of the Virgin Islands.

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(iii) Describe how food products are priced and how farmers make money from the labors of producing food. (iv) Describe several ways of producing food (in soil, greenhouse production, hydroponics, aquaculture, etc). (c) Each public elementary school in the Territory shall develop a school garden or greenhouse on the school grounds for use as an agriculture education resource. The Department of Education shall develop, research, and coordinate the best available practices regarding appropriate curriculum for school garden programs in kindergarten through 6th grade, in consultation with education and agricultural experts. SECTION 2. Title 7 Virgin Islands Code is amended by adding a Chapter 2 to read as follows: “Chapter 2. Agriculture in the Classroom Leadership Council §30. (a) There is created within the Department of Agriculture an Agriculture in the Classroom Council (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Council’), to be composed of three (3) members. The three (3) member of the Council shall be the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture or the Commissioner’s designee, a representative of the Commissioner of the Department of Education, and a representative of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of the Virgin Islands. (b) Members of the Council shall select a Chairman from among their number at the first Council meeting, which Chairman shall serve in said capacity for the remainder of his term. The Council shall meet at least monthly, and more often at the request of the Governor, the call of the Chairman or by written request of at least one of its members. All Council members shall receive all necessary travel expenses incurred for each day or part thereof spent in the performance of their duties. (c) The powers and duties of the Council shall be as follows:

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(1) monitor the quality and condition of the agriculture education in the public school system; (2) develop recommendations to the Legislature and the Governor, and provide review for agriculture education programs in the Virgin Islands; (3) provide technical assistance and guidance to the Department of Education in the implementation of the Virgin Islands' agriculture education policy and the development of appropriate curriculum guidelines; (4) assist the Department of Education in providing training programs for public school teachers in agricultural curriculum and activities; (5) coordinate the Virgin Islands' agriculture education policy across all programs and institutions; (6) identify the critical needs for agriculture educators; (7) establish and maintain an increased awareness of agriculture education and its

continued need to all residents of the Virgin Islands; (8) gain broad public support for agriculture education in the Virgin Islands; and (9) report annually on its activities to the Senate committee with jurisdiction in the area of agriculture.” SECTION 3. Title 33, Virgin Islands Code is amended by adding a new §3018a to read: “§3018a. Agriculture in the Classroom Fund (a) There is created and established in the Treasury of the Virgin Islands a special fund to be designated the “Agriculture in the Classroom Fund”.

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(b) The Commissioner of Finance is directed to maintain and provide for the administration of the Agriculture in the Classroom Fund as a separate and distinct fund in the Treasury, and no funds therein shall be available for expenditure except as provided in this section. (c) The Agriculture in the Classroom Fund shall be comprised of: (1) Grants and monetary gifts from the local industry, businesses, farmers and supporters and other agricultural partners; and (2) An annual appropriation of $50,000 from the General Fund of the Government of the Virgin Islands. (d) All monies pertaining to the Agriculture in the Classroom Fund shall be disbursed by the Commissioner of Finance, exclusively for expenditures by the Department of Education as follows: (1) Eighty percent (80%) of the funds appropriated, gifted, donated or appropriated to the Agriculture in the Classroom curriculum mandated by Title 17 Virgin Islands Code shall be distributed equally between the school districts; and (2) Twenty percent (20%) to be used for administrative costs of the Agriculture in the Classroom Leadership Council pursuant to Title 17 Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 2.” SECTION 4. (a) There is hereby appropriated from the General Fund of the Government of the Virgin Islands, in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, the sum of $75,000 to the Department of Education for the purpose of developing school gardens or greenhouses, as well as developing, researching, and coordinating the best available practices regarding appropriate curriculum for school garden programs pursuant to Section 1 of this Act. (b) There is appropriated from the Agriculture Revolving Fund, in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, the sum of $25,000 to the Department of Agriculture for the administrative costs of the Agriculture in the Classroom Leadership Council in implementing the provisions of this Act.

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BILL SUMMARY This bill amends 17 V.I.C. by creating a new §41e to enact the Agriculture in the Classroom Act. The Agriculture in the Classroom Program is a basic agriculture education program administered by qualified educators and teachers in every public elementary school in the Virgin Islands. Section 1 of the bill sets out minimum guidelines for educators to follow for each grade level which become progressively more difficult. Additionally, each public elementary must develop a school garden or greenhouse on the school grounds for use as an agriculture education resource. Section 2 of the bill creates a fifteen-member Agriculture in the Classroom Leadership Council with the Department of Agriculture. The Council is will, among other things, monitor the Agriculture in the Classroom Program, make recommendations to the Legislature when appropriate and provide technical assistance to the Department of Education. Section 3 of the bill creates the Agriculture in the Classroom Fund and provides for an annual appropriation of $50,000 from the General Fund. Section 4 of the bill appropriates $75,000 to the Department of Education for the public school gardens and greenhouses mandated by Section 1 of the bill. Additionally, this section appropriates $25,000 to the Department of Agriculture for start-up costs associated with the Agriculture in the Classroom Leadership Council mandated by Section 1 of the bill.

BR11-0152/ June 3, 2011/ PFA/reviewed by TF

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