Skip navigation

This is a feature from the April 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.


Turkey Creek Middle School
Plant City, Florida
2017 NAAE Region V Outstanding Middle/Secondary Agricultural Education Program Award Recipient


PhotoStudentOrganizations.jpegIf you have ever visited the Plant City area of Florida, you know strawberries play a vital role in the community. Each spring, the city hosts the Florida Strawberry Festival, which includes carnival rides, contests, concerts, and many other activities and events to celebrate the year’s strawberry harvest in Eastern Hillsborough County.


Located in the heart of strawberry country is Turkey Creek Middle School. Originally a “Strawberry School,” which closed for three months each spring for strawberry picking season, the middle school’s agriculture program has integrated the community and school’s rich and deeply-rooted history to feature a very unique learning environment for its students.


Turkey Creek Middle School has two agriculture teachers, Buddy Coleman and Allison Sparkman. Together, they are able to reach 230 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students through their program’s Strawberry Project. Coleman and Sparkman coordinate with local farmers and the community to provide their students with classroom and land laboratory experiences to learn about the cultivation of strawberries. The program is able to grow and harvest two acres of strawberries each year – providing students the opportunity to learn about strawberry farming from start to finish. 



Coleman and Sparkman are able to use the Strawberry Project to teach students about modern agricultural practices in a hands-on setting. The students learn about drip irrigation and plastic mulch in the fall, as they form the strawberry beds and prepare the land for strawberries. The students are also introduced to GPS technology, as they set straight rows for their crop and plant their strawberries. Along the way, they also learn about plant structure, strawberry varieties, proper planting procedures, the impact of fertilizers, pest and invasive species management, and a host of other things that directly impact strawberries and other crops.


“If we can enable every child that we teach to think and act independently, then the students will be prepared to finish their education and become productive members of society,” said Sparkman.


PhotoPartnerships.jpgIn addition to the students learning about strawberry farming, they are also able to showcase what they have learned to the local community and to other students. Each year, the program hosts local kindergarten students for a field day, full of experiential learning. The students at Turkey Creek show the kindergarteners how to pick their own strawberries, identify plant parts, and discuss the impact of insects, weeds and diseases on the strawberry crop.


Each of our agriculture programs has a unique feature. It is essential that, as educators, we provide our students the opportunity to experience and engage in agriculture in the context of our local communities. What is your Strawberry Project?


Turkey Creek Middle School is the 2017 NAAE Region V Outstanding Middle/Secondary Agricultural Education Program award recipient. For more information about this award category and to see the other award winners, follow this link.


The Outstanding Middle/Secondary Agricultural Education program award is partially sponsored by Monsanto as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.


A Message from our Partners, as part of News & Views:



Jason Kemp

Entering the Last Stretch

Posted by Jason Kemp Apr 9, 2018

This is a feature from the April 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.

Greetings NAAE Members,

The home stretch is in sight for our school year and I know your plates are full with state conferences and CDE contests, along with planning your summer show agenda, etc., but I would like to encourage you to take the time to apply for the awards programs that we have through NAAE. I know that we, as teachers, do not want to blow our own horn -- so to speak -- about what we do within our programs, but it is important that we do so.

Here are some things that I would like for you to consider when you do not apply. The first, and most important, is our student success and recognition they deserve.

By applying for these awards, your students, school, county, and state receive national recognition for the daily work you do that goes unseen. Our state and national leaders are looking at and focusing on the renewal plan of the Perkins Act, so it is super important and crucial that our leaders see success being delivered from our agricultural students and programs. I want to also mention that it could help your program on receiving funding, grants, etc. to make improvements and/or add different curriculum to your program in your state. If your administration, state leaders, community support groups, etc. see you are successful in what you have to work with in supplies and equipment presently, then it will sure make it easier to ask for funding for revamping and improvements.

The bottom line is this, we at NAAE, appreciate all the hard work that you put in to your program to make your students' lives better and giving them the opportunity to be more successful through your teaching efforts. I want to encourage each of you to take the time to fill out these award applications to showcase the accomplishments of you and your students. If we do not share our success, then who will know?

Note: Please be sure to go the NAAE website for the updated applications that are available.

Staff Update: The NAAE Board just recently met for a Skype conference call on 4/2/2018. The board and NAAE staff will be working with the Professional Growth Committee with efforts of helping to plan consistent programming for regional conferences. The NAAE staff is very busy planning the National NAAE Convention that will take place this winter in San Antonio, Texas and have many exciting things that will be taking place at this year’s convention. The NAAE Convention dates are November 26th through December 1st 2018, so please make plans early to attend. Note: Hotel rooms will be limited at the conference hotel so please book your reservations early. Please click on the quick link for more information on the 2018 National NAAE Convention.

The NAAE Regional Vice Presidents are planning their state visits, while Nick and I are planning our regional visits. We look forward to seeing you this summer!! 

Thank you for your time and for being an NAAE member.

Jason Kemp
Agriculture Instructor / School Farm Manager / FFA Advisor

Dresden High School

7150 Hwy 22

Dresden, TN 38225

Office: 1-731-364-5154



A Message from our Partners, as part of News & Views:
NAAE April 2018 Ad.jpg

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: