Virginia Agriculture group lauds former Windsor teacher
Pamela Hall, a former first-grade teacher for three years at Windsor Elementary School in Isle of Wight County, has been named Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom 2020 Teacher of the Year.
The award recognizes a Virginia educator for incorporating agriculture into his or her core curriculum.
“Without agriculture, we don’t have a future,” Hall said. “Our students need opportunities to grasp this essential concept since they are the future. For me, teaching agriculture in the classroom isn’t a ‘one and done’ project; it’s integrated throughout the year. Agriculture in the classroom allows all students to succeed through hands-on, life applicable experiences, and sustainable skills. These lessons lead to life-long learning and teach students to be good stewards of our resources, and kids love them.”
She later told The Tidewater News her reaction to the announcement of her award.
“I was surprised. I actually cried,” said Hall. ‘It’s an honor and a passion!”
Now working in her first year as a STEM Teacher at Carrollton Elementary School, she said she intends to continue promoting agriculture at her new location.
Hall has a history of using project-based learning to incorporate agriculture into her lessons. For example, during the 2017-2018 school year, she arranged for her students to take a field trip to a bee farm, where they donned beekeeper suits and got to observe live bees. A parent volunteer then taught Hall’s students and those of fellow Windsor first-grade teacher Christine Byrum how to build their own beehive, which the classes then donated to the Isle of Wight County Schools Land Lab, located behind the school.
“Pam is a vivacious teacher who shares her love of learning about agriculture with her students,” said Tammy Maxey, AITC senior education manager. “Her excitement about the world of science and agriculture has permeated her school throughout the year, from planting to hydroponics to pollinator awareness. Her work embodies the goals and mission of Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom.”
In addition to using AITC lesson plans for years and participating in Virginia AITC’s grant program, Hall also has received grants from National Agriculture in the Classroom organization for her hydroponics lessons.
Hall credited National Agriculture in the Classroom and the Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom organizations for enabling her to teach lessons.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do these amazing things without these grants,” she said.
As Virginia AITC Teacher of the Year, Hall will receive a scholarship to attend the 2020 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in June in Salt Lake City, and a $500 cash award.
Virginia AITC also recognized Autumn Pequignot, a kindergarten teacher at Mountain View Elementary School in Rockingham County, as runner-up.
Agriculture in the Classroom is a national program that promotes greater understanding of agriculture through education. The Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom is a nonprofit organization that receives financial and administrative support from the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.