Everything old is new again as was the case with Ms. Bolton’s school district. She attended Kindergarten through eighth grade at the Keppel Union School District and that is where she works today. Her path to teaching wasn’t a straight one. In her quest to find out “what she wanted to be when she grew up,” Ms. Bolton earned three graduate degrees and a teaching credential. She has worked and volunteered on most of the world’s continents.
In 1994, Ms. Bolton came back to the Antelope Valley for good. She has taught special education for six years, plus many more years in K – 8th grade general education. With a graduate degree in health, Ms. Bolton implemented a variety of classroom and extracurricular activities in biology. Then a fellow teacher introduced her to MEEC which resulted in a significant change of course in her teaching.
Ms. Bolton has attended many MEEC workshops and last summer was selected to attend Keystone Science School in Colorado which gave her the tools, interest and confidence to bring environmental science front and center in her classroom. According to Ms. Bolton, with each educational opportunity offered by MEEC, something new was brought back to the students. A new school year started just a few weeks after Keystone Science School and Ms. Bolton had her students in the science lab performing dilution demonstrations with her newly acquired equipment.
“The Youth Environmental Leadership Conference was a dream come true for us” said Ms. Bolton. “My first year, I took two teams of motivated students who came back so fired up that they helped to draft some of the MEEC grant applications.” The two areas the students went after were composting and small battery recycling. “There is not a scrap of food either from the food preparation or from the salad bar that goes to waste”
You can’t speak to Ms. Bolton for any length of time before she starts talking about the support she receives from her administration, staff, students and the community at Lake Los Angeles School. She started a Farmer’s Market at her school to reach out to the community and teach students about environmental management. According to Ms. Bolton, “The interest in the new school garden is endless! In addition to the garden grant from MEEC, we have had a lot of supplies and seedlings donated. Other classes have come out to see it, staff has donated off time to tend to it, and a dad volunteered to cook the kale that the students planted and harvested. Hilton Garden Inn in Palmdale provides chefs to judge the Iron Chef Lake Los Angeles School competition that recently included a solar oven category. “
Ms. Bolton added that; “MEEC has changed my focus in teaching, provided educational and monetary resources to improve the education I provide in the classroom and has introduced me to a community of like-minded educators that recharge my batteries.”