MAITC Teacher of the Year 2022
MAITC is excited to announce the 2022 Teacher of the Year, Stacey Sanborn from Manchester Elementary School in Windham. Stacey is a tireless and avid supporter and co-coordinator of the school garden and orchard there. Her impact is broad, reaching hundreds of students annually, through weekly gardening activities. There are numerous stories resulting of families beginning gardens of their own, students picking veggies over less healthy choices, and requesting more healthy meals at home. A former student-gardener who lived with food insecurity started their own garden at home and were so successful they were able to share produce with other families in need.
Ms. Sanborn has creatively woven gardening into her science curriculum to teach scientific method, hands-on composting and soil experiments, and seed starting for example. She collaborates with Master Gardener volunteers to teach about pollination, monocots and dicots, and multiple lessons on soil and seeds. In the fall each year a garden orientation, using the five senses, includes both students and teachers.
In math students learn measurement while planting seeds, seedlings, and bulbs. Students cooking carrot muffins and the "Amazing Carrot Soup" not only expand knowledge of healthy foods but learn about fractions, multiplication and measuring. During the harvest, students weigh and record the amount of produce. During plant sales, students learn how to make change. Outdoor and indoor raised beds are perfect for building understanding of area and perimeter. In the cross-curricular Maine Studies unit, Stacey teaches the agricultural foundations of the state's economy.
Another aspect of Stacey's work is food insecurity and how farms, and school and community gardens help feed the hungry. The local Food Pantry director speaks to her class integrating a literature unit that add equity and inclusion into the picture. Stacey is a creative mentor for students that arrange flowers, design small bags for seeds, and decorate pots for Mother's Day gifts.
This year Mrs. Sanborn's class adopted a calf through the Discover Dairy program to increase student awareness of the dairy industry. Her classes regularly attend Maine Ag Day at Cumberland Fair to explore the historical and modern aspects of the agriculture industry. She has even invited students to bring their own show cows to school as part of a personalized learning project!
Mrs. Sanborn has invited Maine AITC into her school for multiple classrooms for many years during the "Read ME Agriculture" program. Her passion for outdoor learning and integrated agricultural curriculum, which has impacted so many students, shows her commitment to teaching her students what Agriculture means to each of them!