Dawn Collins, a special education teacher in the Lodi School District — along with Connor Anderson, agriculture teacher and FFA advisor — we recognized at the Sept. 13 School Board meeting. It was part of the district’s monthly Taking Positive Steps of Service Award.

Collins and Anderson worked together during the Lodi Ag Fair on Sept. 3 for a learning experience of ‘A Day at the Fair.’ The district was able to due this because of the fair, usually held in July, being pushed back due to the pandemic.

While at the fair, all students at Lodi Elementary School/OSC learned about dairy, beef, sheep, poultry, rabbits, swine and baby animals — and the farming process. They also learned about the grain bin and the Old School House. Four to six classrooms rotated through different stations and were at the fair for 75 minutes.

The learning goal accomplished at the fair were — showing kids where our food comes from; helping kids understand their link to agriculture; learning about the economic impact of agriculture; and supporting kids in their understanding of agriculture values and how agriculture impact our daily life.

“None of this would have been possible without the help of Dawn Collins and Connor Anderson,” LES/OSC Principal Mike Pisani said in a memo to the Board.

According to Pisani, the two met in August to work on defining the learning targets, designed the structure for the sessions, worked through the logistics, identified and secured high school students to help teach the information to third through fifth graders — while also doing their regular jobs.

In addition to everything Collins does, she also plans an opportunity for local kids who have different learning needs called Stars of The Show. For this, Collins works with selected kids to teach them how to show animals, and provides an opportunity for them to show those animals in front of a live audience at the fair.

Pisani said, to prepare for this, Collins meets with kids and their mentors in the summer to help them prepare to show, and sometimes finds animals for the kids to show. She also has the “Stars” come to her house to practice showing animals in preparation for their show at the fair.

Collins and Anderson were both thanked for their dedication and hard work through all the activities.

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