Professional Development Opportunity for High School CTE Teachers

What: The program An Experiential and Data-driven Approach to Agricultural Education (ADVANCE) is a face-to-face professional workforce development opportunity that provides educators with the knowledge, experience, curriculum resources, supplies/equipment, and mentoring to support the implementation of drones and precision agriculture concepts in the classroom. This is a hands-on, field-based workshop. When you complete the workshop, you will be FAA remote pilot certified and will be knowledgeable and experienced in implementing the drone workflow to create maps and other products with drones that are used to support data-driven decision-making. Educators will receive a stipend and other resources after meeting baseline expectations (including classroom integration).

Target Audience:  High School Teachers, CTE Educators, 2-year college faculty teaching agriculture, forestry, natural resources, and related courses

When:  Summer 2025 (exact dates TBD)

Topics:  Precision Agriculture / Mapping with Drones / Data-Driven Decisions / Collecting data with sensors / Workflows

Registration: Online registration is available from here Note that one component of the registration process is for the applicant to provide a letter of commitment from their administrator (principal, dean, etc.). This letter can be uploaded during the online application process or it can be emailed to with the subject line “ADVANCE Letter of Commitment-” at a later date (must be received by October 15).  This letter should provide evidence of support from your institution.

Other covered costs:

  • Accommodations: 5 days (food & lodging) at Virginia Tech
  • Teacher stipend: participants are eligible to receive stipends ($1,200 value) after meeting baseline expectations (expectations will be determined on an individual basis in consultation with the teacher participant and the leadership team, and could include one or several of the following examples [these are just examples, and is not an exhaustive list]: classroom integration, after school program or outreach program, pathway integration, new course development, etc.)
  • Educational supplies: participants receive educational resources & supplies to take back to their classroom
  • FAA Remote Pilot Certificate:
    • Enrollment in a virtual course to prepare you for your FAA Remote Pilot Certificate test ($200 value)
    • Free FAA Remote Pilot test registration ($175 value, reimbursed after completion)
  • Teacher mini-grants: each teacher can receive a $2,200 mini-grant to purchase related supplies for the classroom. Supply kit options are provided, or teachers can make their own selections based on their needs.
  • Software for participants to take back to their schools
  • Transportation allowance to VT.  Note that the allowance will be provided on a tiered level (based on distance from VT) and will most likely not be enough to cover state mileage rates and will most likely be capped at ~$150.

Costs that are not covered

  • We are unable to accurately estimate and budget full transportation costs for participants. Participants will therefore receive a tiered  transportation reimbursement that may or may not fully cover their transportation expenses to VT.  This reimbursement will not exceed and will likely be below state travel rates (meaning that local participants will likely receive less than those coming from far away). We will need to see where participants are coming from before processing travel reimbursements, but for planning purposes, you should expect travel expenses to likely max out ~$150 (r/t), with the potential to be less.
  • The teacher workforce development program will be held in the summer months, however this program could potentially overlap with the  end of the academic year for some localities. If this is the case, the program is unable to provide funding to the institution to cover substitute teacher pay.

Testimonials from individuals who have attended previous workshops:

The workshop was well-planned and organized. The instructors were engaging, professional, and knowledgeable. I was a bit intimidated going into the workshop. Within a few minutes, the team had me at ease, and I was eager to learn. Each segment was easy to understand and well explained. I appreciated all the takeaways – printed copies of the presentations, flight checklists, etc…All the instructors readily answered questions and offered comprehensive, but not overwhelming, answers.

-High School Educator

This was by far one of the best training programs I have attended in my 30+ years of Extension work. The instructors were extremely well-prepared and knowledgeable.

-VCE Agricultural Extension Educator

This workshop has given me the confidence and knowledge to further my drone skills. All of the instructors were extremely knowledgeable and very patient with our questions. It was a great mix of hands-on in the field and computers in the office to get the full picture of how to plan a drone flight from start to finish. We got to see a variety of ways they use the drone for research and projects which was very enlightening. I would take this class over again it was so much fun.

-High School Educator

This workshop was of tremendous value. The content was all-encompassing and took me as a student from the understanding of bare basics to feeling confident in my ability to take the Part 107 and utilize a drone for mapping purposes…         

 -Local Government Employee

This workshop was exactly what I needed to help me think through the details of operating a drone with Virginia Tech undergraduates to help support urban temperature mapping in Roanoke. I was primarily interested in learning about how to operate safely, how to identify risks and how to mitigate them, and what kind of equipment would be best for my needs. All of these topics were well-covered in this workshop…               

-Higher Education Faculty