Each fall, New Hampshire Agriculture in the Classroom selects one elementary or secondary classroom teacher who integrates agricultural instruction into their core academic curriculum. Applications are typically due the middle of November with the winner being announced in early December. Our Teacher of the Year is recognized in the spring at the Granite State FFA Convention and may receive a registration scholarship to the National Agricultural in the Classroom Conference.
Christine Stillwell is a high school math teacher at the Robert J. Lister Academy in Portsmouth. Her attention to the success of each individual student and her passion for hands-on learning are just a couple of the qualities of this amazing teacher. Five years ago, Christine and her students were inspired to tap 4 maple trees, purchase a barrel evaporator and made a little syrup under the cover of a tarp. Fast forward to today, the program has grown by leaps and bounds. Thanks to fundraisers, donations and grants, the program now boasts a sugar house/classroom, a new evaporator and other professional equipment, community involvement and school-wide involvement. After recruiting the help of the science teacher, Christine created a math/science curriculum which incorporated tree identification, tree anatomy, data collection, and the science/math behind the maple syrup process. They have now taken the program on the road to all 10 of the elementary schools in Portsmouth along with 4 preschools. Christine's students students visited the schools and taught the 3rd graders about tree identification, tree anatomy, and how to tap trees. Robert Lister Academy also offers a school garden and other agricultural activities.
Christine is certainly deserving of being recognized as the 2020 NH Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year. She was also a finalist for the NH Teacher of the Year. We will recognize Christine at the Granite State FFA Convention in April and she will receive a registration scholarship for the National Agriculture in the Classroom Convention.
Congratulations to Kindergarten teacher Hannah White of Woodsville Elementary School! Hannah has been named the NH Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year for 2019. The award recognizes her efforts in teaching our youngest students to become stewards of the land and showing them that they can make a difference in the world. Hannah believes that children learn best with hands on science exploration, so her school year starts out with the study of butterflies. The in depth unit on saving the Monarch butterfly is packed with activities exploring life cycles, tagging butterflies to follow their journey south, harvesting milkweed seeds, counting out the seeds and sharing them with family and friends, explaining the importance of saving the butterfly, planting a pollinator garden and creating a news broadcast on why we need to save the pollinators. Students also work in the garden, continue the composting project, monitor the classroom aquarium, build birdhouses and much more.
Congratulations to Becky Carney for being named the 2018 NH Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year! During her 16 year tenure at Seabrook Elementary School, Becky has integrated agriculture into her technology classroom on a regular basis. Over the past year, her students learned about the origins of maple syrup, the life cycle of a pea, MyPlate and the history of the New England Clam bake while increasing their computer literacy. Students venture into the garden for "brain breaks" to plant snap peas, build a root view garden bed, forage for native Concord grapes and tap maple trees.