AgVocates for Exceptional Individuals is a local non-profit based out of Yukon, Oklahoma. AgVocates is a completely unique concept that ties existing school infrastructure with community resources to add a new dimension to curriculum and content. AgVocates strives to create an experience for children that will lead to a realized transformation of character and self. They are endorsed by Dr. Temple Grandin as “one of the most exciting programs for children with disabilities that I’ve come across in the last 30 years.”
AgVocates is governed by a Philosophy of Education that fosters a learner-centered, active and interactive pedagogy that develops every child cognitively, socially, and emotionally. They provide a platform and a curriculum that naturally captures a child’s attention and directs that focus at paralleling the life skills practiced with their project to enhancing their own quality of life. Utilizing all learning modalities, their multi-sensory approach focuses on character and building self-esteem. Concept retention is remarkably higher when what is being learned is relevant and meaningful, allowing an actively engaged child to make connections with prior knowledge and experiences.
AgVocates offers an individualized curriculum focused on stated goals and objectives. Their curriculum is best utilized through Collaborative consultation. Collaborative consultation is an educator relationship between partners where all members recognize their own strengths and limits, and use those to bargain, seek out information, materials, and strategies necessary to meet students’ needs. It is an interactive process that enables teams of people from diverse expertise to generate creative solutions to mutually defined problems. It is a one to one, indirect service delivery model.
After planning instruction through collaborative consultation, it is the classroom teacher who has responsibility for monitoring the implementation plan. The special educator’s role in this model is one of facilitator. It involves a variety of interpersonal skills including brainstorming, active listening, effective communication, and questioning skills.