State Reports

State Summary 2017 — Florida

State Contact

Ms. Becky Sponholtz
Florida Agriculture in the Classroom
P.O. Box 110015
Gainesville, FL 32611-0015
P: 352.846.1391

Classroom Resources

1. STEMming Up Gardening – FAITC’s third school garden curriculum series calledSTEMming Up Gardening" which includes 14 secondary lessons and two activities that use STEM concepts. Book was printed December 2017. 2. All About Beef – With funding from Florida Cattlewomen, FAITC created a four page student activity paper that included Florida beef cattle fun facts, cattle history, STEAM lessons and activities and by-products. 4. Drive Through Florida: Aquaculture and Seafood - FAITC, in partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, developed the third in a series of non-fiction Agriculture Literacy Day books that educate K-5 students about Florida agriculture. The 2016 book took students on a tour of Florida’s aquaculture and seafood industry using a red pickup truck namedOle Red." Altogether, FAITC's more than 1,400 readers read in 2,500 classrooms to 48,000 elementary students. 2. Teacher Workshops/Farm Tours - FAITC held two regional teacher workshops and farm tours, one collaborative school garden summer workshop and 17 local school garden workshops around the state, and had waiting lists for each one. Altogether, 780 teachers attended the workshops, who will reach an estimated 30,000 students. 3. Grants - FAITC distributed 51 $500 school garden mini grants in addition to its Teacher Grant and Volunteer Grant programs. Teachers who receive grant money are required to present at least one lesson from the school garden curricula and submit and pre and post-test classroom average from assessments at the end of each lesson.

Major Program Accomplishments or Outputs

Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. continued to use the second curricula in its school garden series ‘Gardening for Nutrition’ in 2017. ‘STEMming Up Gardening’ the third book in its school garden series, went to print the end of 2017. In addition, its teacher workshop/farm tours have very popular and have resulted in waiting lists for each one. This year we held two collaborative two-day school garden teacher workshop with the Florida Department of Agriculture. We had 201 teachers at the two workshops combined. It also wrote the third in a series of non-fiction Agriculture Literacy Day book calledDrive Through Florida: Aquaculture and Seafood," which covers Florida's aquaculture and seafood industry and features an animated red truck namedOle Red" and his friend “Bobby Boat” who takes students on a tour of the state.

Major Program Impacts or Outcomes

Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. (FAITC) estimates it reached more than 6,500 teachers and 170,000 students in 2017. It reached more than an estimated 57,000 teachers and 600,000 students with materials orders and hits to its website during 2017. The organization believes there is growing awareness and interest in the program by teachers and volunteers. In addition, it developed and distributed new materials, allowing it to grow the number of new teachers it introduced to its program. Interest in programs such as Florida Agriculture Literacy Day continued to grow and helped boost FAITC numbers as well.


Becky Sponholtz Experience: February 2017 – Present: Executive Director, Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc; Gainesville, FL June 2013 – February 2017: Education Program Manager; Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc.; Gainesville, FL July 2006 – June 2013: Agriscience Teacher; Keystone Heights Junior/Senior High School; Keystone Heights, FL August 2004 – June 2006: Agriscience and Veterinary Assisting Teacher; Fort Pierce, FL

Education: 2000 - Bachelor of Science – Animal and Dairy Science; Auburn University; Auburn, AL 2002 – Master of Agriculture; Auburn University; Auburn, AL