Setting expectations on day 1

Within agricultural education, there is a lot to outline to students and parents, especially if it's the student’s first year in the program. Between the classroom, FFA, CDEs, LDEs, fundraisers, field trips and SAEs, there are a lot of components (and acronyms) that need to be explained before students and parents fully immerse into the culture of agricultural education. 

This can often lead to a gruesome first couple days of school where you go over your expectations, rules and requirements for enrolling in such a unique program. 

In last week’s blog, Escape the Back to School Blues, you learned my approach to the beginning of the school year through a digital escape room to cover expectations, classroom routines, safety drills and FFA. However, this approach needs a well outlined and concise syllabus that sets the tone for the entire school year.

I am a strong believer that less is more in this situation. Students and parents are jam packed with information the first week of school so only include the most important information in your syllabus.

So what did I all include in my syllabus? Follow along with a copy of my syllabus found HERE.


  • COURSE DESCRIPTION: In a sentence or two, what is the course.

  • SUPPLIES: Concisely, what materials do students need to be successful; I only required students to have a pencil/pen and closed-toe shoes - I provided the rest. 

  • DUES: At my school FFA was mandatory for agricultural education and dues were $25. I outlined when it was due, how to pay dues and what they received in return.

  • MISSING/LATE WORK: I allowed students to turn in late work up until the end of the quarter for half off; I believed in giving credit if students were willing to do the work even if it was a process to finish it.

  • SAE & FFA REQUIREMENTS: Since FFA was mandatory so were SAEs and students received a grade for each.

  • RULES/EXPECTATIONS: I only had five: (1) Be respectful, (2) Be prepared, (3) Be Attentive, (4) Be open-minded, (5) Be the best version of yourself. I felt like these covered everything necessary.


  • PARENT INVOLVEMENT: Parents could stay involved in what we were doing in the program by referring to our website, following us on social media and joining our email list. 

  • FUNDRAISERS: Students and parents were made aware of the timeframe of our two fundraisers (fruit sales and greenhouse sales) and how they could be involved.

  • CONTACT INFORMATION: I provided parents and students with my contact information; I did not provide personal contact information. 


I also included a Syllabus Signature Page found HERE. This form included a Syllabus Acknowledgement, a Student Photo Release, a FFA Trips Release, and an Animal Interaction Release. 

This approach to the class syllabus set the standard for the whole year and allowed students and parents to only be flooded with the most important information needed at the beginning of the school year. Reach out at with any questions about my SYLLABUS or SIGNATURE PAGE.