Denise Scribner, Teacher Of The Year

(Denise Scribner) I’m Denise Scribner with Eisenhower High School, Goddard School District #265 out of Goddard, Kansas. We have been in our high school for a little over six years now. And I was brought over from Goddard High School where I taught there, and I had renovated the Outdoor Wildlife Learning Site that’s on our campus there to an award-winning native grasses area. Then got the students involved in doing prescribed burns there so we could get them actively involved in the carbon cycle. So the principal, when we opened up the new school, asked me to come to Eisenhower. When I was in Eisenhower I had a chance because then I was the head of what I did there, rather than a teacher that worked within a preliminary curriculum. I then started including agriculture into the science because for me it was a natural fit. You can put GMO research in when you look at genetics and biology, I teach environmental science, ecology and that’s just a hand in glove with most of the standards in the national AG standards matching with what we do in our curriculum in the ecology class. Then I also teach forensic crime science which is part of the law enforcement CTE initiative with Senate bill 1055 here in the state. We do soil profiling and soil analysis as a murder mystery and drama and they have to do field technicians by seeing if an illegal dump was made at a farmer’s soil area, because after all, city people think all farmers do is put too much stuff on their crops and it can damage our water supply and things like that. We prove that the farmer wasn’t at fault, it was an urban industry that illegally dumped on the farmer’s land. It actively gets the students engaged into agriculture to become environmentally literate citizens. Well, this has been a banner year for me. I started off in the fall going to the Entomology Foundation Presidents prize for Outstanding High School Performance in Entomology. I got to go down to Orlando, Florida. Then in September I found out that we were having our 2015 Cohort of the Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics and Science. We had our ceremony right after Labor Day up in Washington, DC. Then I found out earlier this year, right after the first year, that I won the Janet Sims Memorial Teacher of the Year, AG in the Classroom Award, which was outstanding. Cathy, the Executive Director of the Kansas Foundation of AG in the Classroom encouraged me to apply for the national award, and then just last week I found out that I was the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture in the Classroom Award on the national scale for our region and representing the state of Kansas. What I like about it is it showcases what our school district does well about applying real-world concepts to science in the classroom. My students who are suburban sometimes don’t even know where food comes from and we spend six weeks on food insecurity and food security and looking at what agricultural does to help with that, with an ever-growing population of the world. We also look at free trade, they get into economics, they get into more than just hugging a tree and recycling plastic bottles as part of the ecology program. That makes them a well-rounded citizen who is agriculturally aware and how that then promotes our industry here in the state of Kansas.

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