Beanie Baby Travels to D.C.

Congratulations to Sandridge Elementary School in Lynwood, Illinois who was named the Illinois Elementary School of the Year by The National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project for their outstanding energy education project: The Power of Wind. We asked 4th grade teacher, Ms. Alice Miller, about the project and process leading up to their recognition. 

 “I work for Sandridge Elementary, a small, one school district located in Lynwood, Illinois.  We may not have the financial resources many other schools enjoy but our students are a smart, scrappy, can-do kind of group.  Hoping to open new doors for them several years ago, I began to research opportunities that would bring materials and support to assist our students in their learning of science and the world around them.  I was fortunate to find the Cook County Farm Bureau as well as NEED.  Ag in the Classroom, through summer field trips, teacher education, and workshops has done much to further our knowledge and experience in agriculture.  I have delighted in implementing several lessons and have used their Learning Kits often to deepen understanding in the science of agriculture and make learning for my students much more enjoyable and engaging! Two years ago the NEED organization partnered with several energy companies to promote energy through a grant program entitled ESP (Energizing Student Potential). 

The second year we submitted our entry and were thrilled to be named the recipients of the  Illinois Elementary School of the Year, a big deal for a small school!  As winners we were invited to attend the Youth Energy Conference and Awards in Washington, D.C. where our students would meet award winners from all across the United States and students of energy.  Attendees were asked to introduce themselves and their state by bringing some token that represented their state to share with others in a meet and greet activity.  We were not equipped to prepare or purchase materials, nor did we have a clue on what would best represent our state.  I knew who to call.  Who knows better about the 'roots' of Illinois than the CCFB? When I contacted the Ag in the Classroom crew with my dilemma they jumped in with gusto!  They delivered more than I could have hoped for.  We needed 30 tokens for each student.  AITC prepared packets for EACH student which included soybeans generously donated from Stuenkel Farms, packets to hold the seeds while they germinated, Ag Mags explaining soybeans, and stickers for each packet identifying Illinois and the CCFB.  The recipients at the meet-and-greet could not have been more pleased.  Being able to explain Illinois soy plants and germination opened the door for our students to great conversations and new friends far and wide.  Several teachers asked us for extras!

My partnership with AITC has been a blessing and continues to grow. I am thankful for all of the support I receive and look forward to sharing the resources they have with my fellow educators.  Last year I created a partnership with my kindergarten class and brought them the wheat bins while we worked on dairy.  The year ended with our student partners making bread and butter to share!  The primary team was so impressed that next year I promised to work with them to create AG Day as part of our end of the year festivities.  I can't wait to see what we create working with our team and AITC!” 

Our congratulations to Ms. Miller and her students at Sandridge Elementary School.