I would like to nominate Suzette for this award. She is a 5th grade teacher at Fremont Elementary and through her work with the living classroom; she has introduced her students to learning math, science, art and communication through their love of animals. Suzette started the Living Classroom a couple of years ago by taking injured or rescued animals and putting them in her classroom. Through partnerships and grants, she has expanded the living classroom to encompass a Rock Dove, rabbits, quail, a ferret, guinea pigs and now, rainbow trout. Her partnership with the Utah Division of Wildlife and with Trout Unlimited, she and her students have raised rainbow trout from eggs and the students will release the trout into the wild this spring.
Through her Living Classroom program, the students learn about animals’ life history and habits and the students themselves become the experts on a particular animal. Suzette uses her Living Classroom to completely illustrate scientific concepts to her students through engaged and hands-on learning.
Taking care of all of the animals is a cooperative effort but Suzette typically checks on the animals every day – including weekends – and during school breaks. During the summer, Suzette has expanded her Living Classroom Program to the YMCA located near her school.
Suzette’s love of animals has extended to her students. They use communication skills to discuss and explain the specific animals and through artwork which is on display in the Living Classroom, the students show their knowledge and share in their ownership of the program.
Suzette is a dedicated teacher who thinks only of her students. She does not want to be in the limelight. She only wants her students, many of whom are from disadvantaged situations to learn about and to care about animals.
I hope you will consider Suzette for this award. Her dedication and hard work is amazing and her students greatly benefit from her work at J.C. Fremont Elementary School.