Forreston teacher earns award


FORRESTON – Kelley Parks, Forreston Ag Teacher and FFA advisor, is one of the three high school science teachers in the nation to receive the Vernier Technology Award this year.

On Saturday, April 4, she had planned to be in Boston to receive this award but due to COVID-19 the NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) Conference was cancelled.

A partnership of Vernier Software & Technology and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), this award recognizes the innovative use, or potential use, of data-collection technology (e.g. probes or sensors) interfacing with a computer, graphing calculator, or handheld in the science classroom. Seven awards will be presented in the following categories: one elementary (grades K–5) award; two middle level (grades 6–8) awards; three high school (grades 9–12) awards; and one college award.

Parks wrote in her award application “Our students in this day and age work with information that is instant; most of the information they can receive right at their fingertips. The Vernier Go Direct System connected to our class iPad will allow students to measure, evaluate, and act on those measurements in real-time. This enables my classroom to simulate the real world of data collection and problem-solving that happens every day in the science labs, experimental fields, and agriculture.”

This award gave the department $3,000 to spend of Vernier equipment, $1,500 travel voucher to Boston for the Conference and $1,000 award for Parks. The Vernier equipment has already arrived at the high school and the students are excited to do more experiments with it and use the probes to test the department’s new aquaponics system (aquaponics is the raising of fish and vegetables and a unison system).

 “I am so honored to receive this award,” Parks said. “I really wanted to get this equipment for the students and I found a grant that I could allow us to have the equipment without asking our very generous local businesses. Premier leadership, personal growth, and career success is what we strive for in the Forreston High School Agriculture Science Education Department. We aim to offer the highest level opportunities for students with this high-level Vernier equipment we can continue to reach for mastery. Our students are ready to explore, learn about, and change the world around them with data that is accurate and instant.”