The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation has selected two Lincoln teachers for 2019 Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year honors. The Teacher of the Year is awarded to teachers who incorporate agriculture into their classrooms.
Carolyn Dolezal, a fourth-grade teacher at St. Peter’s Catholic School, and Abbey Spaulding, a second-grade teacher at Fredstrom Elementary School, were honored at their schools Tuesday Afternoon.
“Both Carolyn and Abby demonstrate how teachers can enhance core-subject learning by featuring agriculture and the many ways it impacts our lives here in Nebraska. They are engaging the next generation in critical thinking about where their food, fiber and fuel comes from,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Farm Bureau Foundation.
Dolezal has been part of the Ag Pen Pal Program for 15 years. Her classroom’s pen pals are Neal and Carol Pavlish in Saline County. Her fourth-grade students swapped letters about crops, animals, and being on a farm. Each spring, Dolezal’s class takes a field trip to Pavlish’s farm in Crete. Dolezal grew up on a farm in Pawnee County.
This year is Spaulding’s third year participating in the Ag Pen Pal Program. Her class also attends the Foundation’s Virtual Field Trips. These field trips use technology to allow farmers and ranchers to open their barn doors to show students what happens on their farms and ranches. Farmers and ranchers use tablets to connect with classrooms for live video-chats allowing students to ask questions.
Each teacher will receive an expense-paid trip to the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference, an accurate agriculture book bundle featuring 12 books and corresponding literature guides, and a $250 cash prize. The conference, held June 18-21 in Little Rock, AR, brings educators together from all over the United States to learn how to use agricultural concepts to effectively teach core subjects such as reading, math, science, and social studies. The conference features recognition for Teacher of the Year honorees, educational workshops, traveling workshops to agribusinesses and research facilities, and farm tours.