Betsy Farrell-Messenger, Brown School, Schenectady, NY
Betsy teaches Engineering by Design to elementary school students at Brown School in Schenectady, New York. Betsy believes education should inspire a love of learning in students and develop ethical principles to create a world of people who can work out problems and offer solutions with love and peace in mind. She strives to incorporate humane education in her classes by emphasizing and elaborating on the problem-solving aspects of math and science.
A few years ago, Betsy led her 5th and 6th grade science classes in an effort to eliminate styrofoam cups and plates from the school cafeteria. The school filmed the process and created a documentary in hopes to inspire others in the community to make a change. Betsy and a co-worker also started an after-school garden program, where students helped transform an old, concrete playground into a “Mindful Garden” for teachers and students to use as a learning space.
“School should be a place where self-discovery happens through meaningful and relevant topics that encourage critical thinking and problem solving,” Betsy said. “There should be a feeling of life, work, play and pride.”
GRANT AWARD DATE: OCTOBER 7, 2013