Hulett’s Marlatt recognized for ag education
Douglas – Each year Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom (WAIC) presents the Educator of the Year Award, and this year’s teacher is another great example of how to incorporate agriculture into the classroom.
Hulett Elementary School teacher Beth Marlatt has spent her entire teaching career in Crook County, and has taught every grade from kindergarten to eighth. She got her start teaching at a rural school on the Wyoming/Montana border.
WAIC presented her with the award at the 2011 Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame Picnic during the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas on Aug. 17.
“Beth has integrated the agricultural and natural resources of Wyoming into her classroom since the very beginning of her career. She has helped students with a journey through Wyoming student-made movies, field trips, online collaborations, online games and also a series of books celebrating Wyoming’s natural resources and agriculture. This year’s hardcover book is called Rough N’ Tough: An Alphabet of Wyoming Cowboys and the Ranch Cattle Industry,” said Representative Cynthia Lummis in Marlatt’s introduction.
Marlatt is known for keeping her classroom lively and giving her students hands-on experiences they can use the rest of their lives.
“Her favorite challenge is to use her creativity and to weave the Wyoming State Standards into integrated projects that are meaningful for her students. She specifically uses agriculture and local interest-related content. The projects usually deal with a medium that is long-lasting and intriguing to learners. Beth wants to weave these skills together in a practical way that stretches students knowledge and challenges their creative limits,” continued Lummis.
With a Master’s of Science degree in curriculum, with an emphasis in gifted education and technology from Black Hills State University, Marlatt has a strong educational background that helps her work with both students and fellow teachers as a mentor teacher and an instructional facilitator for Hulett Elementary School.
“I would like to thank my community, who always antes up for one more crazy project, and my administration, who pats me on my back and sends me on my way, no matter what big plan I have. I would also like to thank my husband, who often has to help with the nuts and the bolts of all of these really great plans. Most of all, I would like to thank my kids! I’m the lucky one who gets to light them up and do lots of fun things,” said Marlatt at the event.
Marlatt’s enthusiasm for education is contagious, as is her passion for empowering students to become their own people.
“We all know that knowledge is power. I believe that experience empowers, so these students can make great decisions on their own, with their own common sense,” said Martlatt. “We do a lot of fieldtrips, because I think experiences empower kids. They can make their own decisions about what’s going on, what happens and how this all works out. I’ve taken them preg testing and branding, and on all of the things that a kid who grows up in Wyoming should experience. It’s integrated into science, into social studies and into the language arts.”
Marlatt hopes to not only teach students for one year, but to teach them lessons that can affect the rest of their education and lives.
“This allows students to realize they are in control and that they can take control of their own education – they have enough freedom to take it and run and, honestly, I’ve never been disappointed in them,” said Marlatt, smiling.
Having taught a variety of age ranges in one-room schoolhouses and elementary schools, Martlatt recognizes the importance of a good education and the support it needs from a community.
“When Beth first taught she was in a one-room schoolhouse with kids from kindergarten to eighth grade. So, as you can tell, she is very talented, very enthusiastic and she has a contagious energy,” said WAIC board member and Crook County educator Theresa Brown.
“My first reaction to winning this award was shock and surprise, but really I am so appreciative of good press for education. You do what you do because you know and see that it is good for the kids and other people notice,” noted Marlatt.
Educators across the state have material available to them to help incorporate agriculture and natural resources education through WAIC. In addition to that, Marlatt adds another suggestion.
“I would tell other educators who want to incorporate agriculture and natural resources education into their classroom that they should simply reach out to their community. There are teachers in cowboy hats, teachers in boots and teachers on tractors. They really just need to tap into that resource and talk to people,” she noted. “They are more than willing to talk to you, because they want kids to know and they want to teach and want to share. Anybody with a passion is a great teacher, so I would encourage teachers to reach out to their communities.”
“Educator of the Year is an annual award that we give out through Ag in the Classroom. Each year teachers can be nominated, and they fill out a lengthy application explaining what they do in the classroom to incorporate agriculture and put into practice the ag principles. Our board members and our education committee then review the applications and select a winner from there,” explained WAIC Executive Director Jessie Berry.
“The purpose of rewarding and recognizing a teacher of the year is to give them a reason to continue to use the ag and natural resources in the classroom. Teachers like Beth go above and beyond in representing these qualities,” said WAIC President Mantha Phillips.
WAIC provides $1,200 to the winning teacher each year, which they can use however they choose.
“We want to be able to provide a more substantial financial reward so these teachers can continue to do these projects and continue to incorporate agriculture into education,” added Phillips.
Marlatt’s enthusiasm for education is apparent in everything she does, and Berry said “the energy just radiates from her.”
“The ag in the classroom that she teaches is a by-product of something more important, and that’s 21st century skills of pride and work ethic. It’s amazing how she can polish and educate her students,” added Brown.
“She not only inspires her students, she inspires other teachers as well. That’s what I love about Beth – it’s not just that one dimension of she’s great in the classroom; she’s just a well rounded, great spokesman for what ag can do in the classroom,” added Berry.