CANTON -- Banford Elementary School teacher Cathy Carr has been chosen as 2012 New York Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year, and will be so honored at the New York Farm Bureau’s spring conference in Albany.
At Banford, you can find Cathy Carr’s first-through-third-grade students learning about agriculture out in their school garden, in their classroom cooking center, and during math, literacy, and science lessons.
High school agriculture teacher Carol Wright describes Carr as “a wonderful elementary teacher who promotes agriculture and gardening to not only her students, but also the families and other staff that she works with in that building. It’s certainly a benefit to the agriculture program here at Canton Central School to have such a positive role model for agriculture in the elementary school.”
The announcement of her honor explained some of the things they took note of when making the award.
While Banford Elementary School’s gardening program is relatively new, the impact of Carr’s integration of it into her curriculum is clear. From creating planting grids with her math students to designing promotional posters for the garden as part of language arts lessons, Carr routinely incorporates the real work of growing food into learning opportunities for her students. She has developed a classroom cooking center that uses produce grown in the school garden to teach about nutrition, the importance of trying new foods, and food preparation skills. The class worm “farm” helps students build science skills while learning about ecosystems, life cycles, and healthy soil.
Carr has a demonstrated commitment to exploring agricultural topics not only with her students, but also their families, other school staff, and the broader school community. She includes gardening information and opportunities to participate in her parent communication. Carr regularly attends garden work days outside of school hours, facilitating garden activities with youth participants during her personal time.
In addition to the Farm Bureau meeting in Albany in the spring, Carr will attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Loveland, Colo. in June.
New York Agriculture in the Classroom is a partnership of Cornell University, the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, the state Education Department, and NY Farm Bureau. They work with a network of teachers, cooperative extension educators, farmers, producers, and volunteers throughout the state to foster an awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the food and fiber system.