Thursday, August 9, 2012

2012-2013 District Program Planning

Program Planning is one of the most important processes  that you as a County Extension Agent can provide leadership to. This process provides an excellent venue to motivate and move Extension Program areas committees in a positive direction with in your counties.
One of the critical components to Extension program building is program the planning workshop. Our District Program Development Conference and Workshop will be conducted on  Wednesday and Thursday September 5th, and 6th in Corpus Christi at the District office.
Our training will be devoted to program development and will set the stage for effective and quality program planning for the upcoming year.
In preparation for these workshops  Associate Department Heads or Program Leaders will provide one page briefs on new projects and initiatives.  Regional Program Directors will  share these one-pagers with agents in the region.
All agents should have program area committee meeting(s) and/or youth board meeting(s) prior to our workshop.  Agents will use the minutes of those meeting(s) along with a prioritized set of issues that have been identified to be addressed during the coming program year if possible please share with appropriate Regional Program Directors and District Extension Administrator  prior to the workshop.
The following are elements of this workshop that are critical for effective planning and effective allocation of resources;
  • Overview of Program Planning Expectations- The District Extension Administrator  will provide general expectations related to Organizational Support Plans, Individual Development Plans, and other interdisciplinary and team efforts.
  • Discussion regarding Partial Cost Recovery- District Extension Administrators and Regional Program Directors should emphasize that Partial Cost Recovery and 4-H Participation fees has been implemented to assist in sustaining Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s program delivery capacity.  Texas AgriLife Extension Service provides our clientele with a product that has value and makes a difference on an individual and community basis.
  • Community Resource and Economic Development- Regional Program Directors  will provide expectations and suggested strategies for addressing emergency management and other CRED program needs
  • 4-H and Youth Development Expectations and Discussion- The District Extension Administrator or Regional Program Directors  will provide general expectations related to 4-H management and leadership plans.  Regional Program Directors will provide expectations related to support of 4-H subject matter projects and youth outcome plans.  District 4-H Specialist will provide training related to youth trends and goals for improving 4-H participation.  County staffs should be provided time to meet together to discuss 4-H program planning for the coming year, CRED, and other team efforts.
  • Program Planning Subject Matter Break-Out Groups – Regional Program Director-FCS will work with FCS agents, Regional Program Director – Agriculture and Natural Resources will work with Ag/Nr Agents, and the District 4-H Specialist  will work with 4-H and Youth Development Agents.
The Topics for these Subject Matter Break-Out Sessions will include:
  1. Overview of regional program priorities - Key specialists may be asked to provide some subject matter updates based on the regional program priorities.
  2. Specific information or reminders per discipline – For example, Texas AgriLife Extension Prescribed Burn Policy, Guidelines for Result Demonstrations, Better Living for Texans requirements, 4-H Management Items, etc.
  3. Issue planning groups – Based on the issues identified by PACs/Youth Boards, agents will group together to discuss more in-depth program ideas, interventions and strategies that are specific to the key issues in their county.  Regional Program Directors will review the list submitted and pre-assign agents to the groups.  It would be appropriate to invite specialists to participate in these meetings if they are located on site.  If support is needed from other specialists who are unable to travel to the district, they could participate via speaker phone or other technology such as Lync.
  4. Cluster planning groups –  We will also allow time for agents to plan multi-county efforts.
  5. Specialist engagement and scheduling -  Specialists based at the district office will be invited to work with agents in scheduling programs for the upcoming year.  Specialists who are not based in the district office, could be involved via phone or centra or Lync as necessary.
The main focus of this program planning philosophy is assisting you as agents  to better manage your time and program.  Program planning must be about ensuring that Extension is efficiently allocating resources that results in program excellence not just focused on approving a plan on the TeXas System,  committed to developing better programs that result in measurable outcomes, and devoted to assisting agents to better allocate their time which leads to efficiency.

Reminder- Superior Service Nominations Due August 31 , 2012

Agent/staff recognition is a tool that reinforces and rewards the most important outcomes agents and staff create for your District/County. When we recognize agents and staff effectively, we reinforce the actions and behaviors we most want to see agents and staff to repeat. An effective agent/staff recognition system is extremely effective.

One of the methods that can be utilized to recognize agents and staff is by nominating them for the 2012 Texas AgriLife Extension Service Superior Service Award.

The 2012 Superior Service Nominations are due August 31, 2012.

Guidelines and online application can be found at
The online nomination can be found at

Michelle Allen, and Anthony Netardus will chair the awards and recognition committe this year and will be meeting this week to identify potential nominations for the SSA process. If you have suggestions for nominations please call Michelle and or Anthony.

Coastal Bend Agricultural Grant

We have an unique opportunity to apply for grant funds to support coastal bend agriculture each year through a local foundation. Pete Flores and I were awarded a technology grant to develop the use of a Ipad or electronic tablet for agricultural and or 4-H agricultural programing.  We will be awarding an Ipad or android tablet to an agent in District 11 that sends in a proposal to Pete and I by September 1st on how they would use the new technology to program for agricultural or 4-H programs. The focus on programing must include adoption of new technology to enhance agricultural profitability. Please limit the proposal to a two page word document. Creativity in the proposal is also encouraged. If the agent is awarded the Ipad, either a outcome or output plan must be adopted for 2013. If you have any questions please give Pete or I a call.

New District 11 4-H Policy

With the official start of the 4-H year on September 1, there will be some policy changes made from the District Office. There will be official notice coming soon, but in short, these will help the District 4-H program run more efficiently.
  • We will initiate a late fee on 4-H connect of $25 per person up to 24 hours prior to the day of the event.  We will have regular registration and fees like we have been doing , however after the deadline we will still take entries with the regular and late fee combined up to the day prior to the event. We will use this policy across the board for all events and contests that use 4-H connect. 
  • In following suit with the Texas 4-H Guidelines, no youth will be allowed to compete with their recordbook at District competition in ANY category if they have won 1st place at the state level competition.
  • If a youth is to drive themselves to any district function, the keys will be picked up by their County Agent or District Specialist and returned at the completion of the event.  This is to ensure the safety of all youth involved at the event.

District 11 Personnel News

Please welcome Ms. Laura Reyna to our District as she started this month in her new role as Matagorda County 4-H Agent. Laura is a product of the District 11 4-H program raised in Wharton County. Laura first steeped in Fort Bend County.

We will meet the court shortly in San Patricio County to present a candidate for the ANR position. Interviews are ongoing for the Lavaca FCS position , a finalist has been identified for the Aransas County FCS position and in the process of filling both positions.

Wharton County FCS and ANR position are open internally, Karnes County FCS is open internally an I am currently training to recruit existing agents to move into these roles.
Last week I assisted our CEP-FCS program director Ms. Jackie White in interviewing for the new  Nueces County CEP-FCS position. 

I also want to congratulate Diana Weise Dewitt County FCS agent. Diana retired at the end of July after serving 28 years with our agency. Diana provided leadership to many county and district programs over her tenure. Diana truly made a difference in helping the clientele that she served. We wish her well in her well deserved retirement.

Ms. Barbara Sulak  Matagroda County FCS Agent, has also informed me that she will also be retiring at the end of September. Barbara has also been a great leader in several counties over her Extension career.  Please join me in congratulating her on a great career!