2005 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award
Ms. Tina McEnroe
"It has been said, and I concur, that education should not be the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire," Tina McEnroe, teacher at Vista de Las Cruces School, says. Mrs. McEnroe develops real-world ways to connect state standards with agricultural-themed curriculum. She inspired the establishment of a parent-teacher-student Garden Club which provides fresh vegetables for school celebrations and philanthropic events.
One example of her creative learning is Ancient Civilizations Farmers' Market, which provides fifth and sixth grade students an opportunity to stroll back in time to understand the effect of ancient civilization son the world as they researched the history of indigenous foods. Students researched, reported, made recipes, and created antique-looking labels to summarize their food research, and decorated the area with wall-size murals of Greek scenes. Student designed invitations were sent to parents and the community to attend the Farmers' Market where each student presented their production. Recipes are included in a school cookbook.
Another project providing an intensive and comprehensive learning experience is Home on the Range, where eighth grade students are presented with a mock scenario where their great-grandfather leaves them an inheritance of 800 acres and $80,000 to be used only for a cattle ranch. It teaches that the beef cattle industry is complex and multifaceted. And therefore affords numerous career opportunities; it also demonstrates the importance of utilizing these ruminant animals to positively influence the land, while using forages to produce food for human consumption. Students are responsible for marketing, purchasing, record keeping and all aspects of running a ranch. The curriculum meets state standards in language arts, math, and science. The project culminates with a field trip to Cal Poly where students observed hands-on methods of teaching agriculture, specializing in animal science and beef cattle production.