Contact: Tonia Ritter, 517-679-5345
GRAND RAPIDS — Tracey Hoffman integrates an inquiry-based learning system into her Ovid-Elsie High School classroom, challenging her students to pose questions, problems or scenarios for learning. Her exceptional work teaching agriculture and natural resource concepts while preparing her students for careers in agriculture has led to Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) honoring her as its 2014 Agriscience Educator of the Year.
Shiawassee County Farm Bureau nominated Hoffman for the honor, highlighting her work using raw data for students to analyze and question as it relates to their own classroom projects. Hoffman also worked diligently to boost the significance of Ovid-Elsie's agriscience program. Among her achievements is a seven-week agriculture literacy class to introduce eighth-graders to agriculture, land stewardship and global markets.
"She knows that of the 330 students she reaches this year, very few will actually end up in agriculture," said Sandy Maynard of the Shiawassee County Farm Bureau. "However, her mission is for each student in her program to become an educated consumer and better understand misconceptions associated with the industry."
Ovid-Elsie FFA helps Shiawassee County Farm Bureau for March Reading Month efforts and other agricultural literacy programs. They organize a petting zoo for lower elementary grades and Hoffman challenges her pupils to teach others about the products those animals produce.
"Tracey tries very hard to teach and bring new experiences to her students and the school district," said Maynard. "She is regarded as an expert in agriscience and guides students to prepare for agricultural career development."
Beyond agriscience and FFA, Hoffman also chairs Ovid-Elsie's science department, allowing her to spread her passion for agriculture among colleagues across the district. As the president of the Michigan Association of Agriscience Educators, she also helps mentor new teachers.
As the winner of the 2014 Educator of the Year award, Hoffman receives a $1,000 grant to further agricultural education opportunities in her school and community.
MFB's Agriscience Educator of the Year award recognizes teachers who excel at integrating agricultural concepts into school curricula and who challenge students to develop critical-thinking skills through the analysis of agricultural issues and information.
NOTE: Visit http://www.michfb.com/mi/annual for photos from the awards ceremony. For more information after Dec. 4, contact Tonia Ritter at 517-679-5345.