Greenvale Park Elementary School Kindergarten Teacher Tiffany Kortbein works with student Kaylee Woods on Tuesday. Kortbein was recently recognized as the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom 2020 Outstanding Teacher Award. (Photo courtesy of Kortbein)

Greenvale Park Elementary School teacher Tiffany Kortbein has been awarded the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom 2020 Outstanding Teacher Award.

A press release states that in her kindergarten class, Kortbein teaches about the lifecycles of animals, animal and farm vocabulary, and does hands-on work with students such as making butter and pizza from scratch. Kindergartners at Greenvale Park take annual field trips to a dairy farm and an apple orchard, and help to incubate chicken eggs and raise baby chicks.

“Making children aware of all the agriculture around them at such a young age will make them more aware as an adult,” she said. “Looking at things through a child’s eyes truly is through a different lens then that of an adult. Children are open to hearing new things, open to exploring with their hands, and seeing new perspectives.”

In addition to her teaching kindergarten students, the release states Kortbein works to bring agricultural education into her school at all grade levels through an annual Farm Day celebration, creation of a school garden and annual school-wide celebration of the Great Lakes Apple Crunch.

She also conducts professional development opportunities for teachers at Greenvale Park so they can become more knowledgeable about agricultural education.

Kortbein will receive a $500 stipend and up to $1,500 in expenses to attend the 2020 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in June.

The release states the MAITC vision is for agriculture to be valued by all. The program is a 30-year established public/private partnership based at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Visit Minnesota Ag in the Classroom for more information and free educational resources.

Kortbein also secured a $400 Minnesota Department of Agriculture ag literacy grant for her Farm Day activities.

Kortbein was born in Dundas and attended school in Northfield.

“My whole life I have been surrounded by agriculture starting with the day I was born,” she said. “I was blessed to be raised on a third-generation, family-owned and operated dairy farm. Growing up on a farm taught me a lot about working hard, teamwork, and good communication skills. I believe growing up on a farm has taught me many life skills and they helped me get to where I am today.”

Her family still raises cattle, and although she is now married and lives in the Northfield community.

“Educating children about where their food comes from is a true passion of mine because I understand that I am working with the next generation of congressmen, politicians, voters and consumers,” she said.

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