Patricia Wolfe, a K-12 special education teacher at Lakemary Center in Paola, was recently named the 2020 Janet Sims Memorial Teacher of the Year by Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (KFAC).
KFAC’s Janet Sims Memorial Teacher of the Year award recognizes teachers who instill a passion for learning about agriculture within their students. KFAC honors one teacher annually who has successfully integrated agricultural education into his or her pre-existing curriculum.
Wolfe is in her 11th year of teaching where she devotes classroom time to learning life skills. Each class plants, tends and harvests their own raised beds’ vegetables. They also take turns tending to the flowers as well as feeding and watering the goats, pigs, chickens, rabbits, and dogs that live at the school.
Each of Wolfe’s lessons has to be flexible to fit each student’s IEP. While some students write down the answers to questions, others are verbal, point or demonstrate their personal comprehension of the concepts taught, based on their abilities.
The community has been very generous in providing the Lakemary Center with monetary donations and labor from many local volunteers and organizations to make this project possible.
“Our school provides opportunities for all to learn according to their abilities and strengths,” Wolfe said. “I have the enjoyable job of being able to provide students with hands-on learning in an outdoor setting that helps them also learn about agriculture.”
Wolfe will be recognized during the 2019 KFAC Annual Meeting to be held in Manhattan in November and will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the 2020 National Agriculture in the Classroom conference to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Wolfe will also be considered for the 2020 National Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award, presented by National Agriculture in the Classroom.