McKenzie Gregory, a 5th and 6th grade writing teacher at Rockford Middle School in Rockford, MN, has been awarded the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC) 2017 Outstanding Teacher Award. The award is given annually to a Minnesota K-12 teacher who exemplifies excellence in the classroom and a passion for teaching agriculture. Gregory received a $500 stipend and up to $1,500 in expenses to attend the 2017 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference at Kansas City, MO in June. This annual award is sponsored by the MAITC Foundation.
McKenzie was a participant in MAITC's first ever Summer Teacher Tour in 2014. After the tour, McKenzie worked to build an Exploratory Class for middle school students that focused on the process of producing milk that started with "grass" and ended with a "glass" of milk. The class is titled "From Grass to Glass". Throughout this 9 week course, her students explore and discuss sustainable dairy farming practices, investigate the use of robots on innovative dairy farms, learn about the nutrition of milk, complete a dairy related service project and end the class with a field trip to a local dairy. This statement from McKenzie sums up the agriculturally-focused positive impact she is having with students: "Incorporating agriculture into my part of the STEM education our school strivs to provide, continues to bring me joy and motivates me to help students become lifelong learners about whatever they love most."