RICHMOND, Va. — Jennifer Hatch, a seventh-grade teacher at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Rocky Mount, has been named the Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom 2023 Teacher of the Year.
The award recognizes a Virginia educator for incorporating agriculture into his or her core curriculum.
Hatch is a mathematics teacher whose goal is to educate her students on the importance of understanding where their food comes from and to demonstrate real-life applications of math in farming. She and her students established a hydroponics garden in their classroom, where they grew lettuce, basil and cilantro year-round. Applying their math skills, Hatch’s students gathered data, recorded plant measurements and growth rates, and performed data analysis throughout the growing process.
They also received farm-to-table experiences by preparing their classroom-grown produce into meals. They budgeted and shopped for additional ingredients and calculated recipe proportions for the number of servings needed.
“Jennifer is truly dedicated to integrating agriculture into her classroom, and the fact that she teaches middle school mathematics makes this even more remarkable,” said Tammy Maxey, Virginia AITC executive director. “She recognizes that agriculture forms the backbone for our daily lives, and the way she infuses it into her math lessons is an effective way to bring it to life for her students. Additionally, rather than being a single unit within the year, it’s continued throughout the year, leaving a lasting positive impression.”
As Virginia AITC Teacher of the Year, Hatch will receive a scholarship to the 2023 National AITC Conference in June in Orlando, Florida, and a $500 cash award.
For more information on the Teacher of the Year recognition, visit AgInTheClass.org.
The Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that promotes a greater understanding and appreciation of agriculture through education and outreach activities. To learn more and support, visit AgInTheClass.org.
–Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom