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Program Post: Our Take on Education Headlines

Farm to School Teachers

Each Thursday, ASAP’s programs take you behind the scenes of their work. This week, our newest Growing Minds staff member shares why she joined ASAP and addresses recent education headlines.

From ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Program
By Jessica Sparks-Mussulin

Search “North Carolina teaching” online, and you may be shocked by what comes up. Salary freezes, protests, political rallies, battles, and the list goes on. These aren’t the things most of us want to associate with education, but they are, unfortunately, the topics of news headlines this summer. Prior to joining the Growing Minds team at ASAP, those headlines were my world. I taught high school science in Western North Carolina for nearly eight years. I’ll spare you the long personal story of why I chose to leave the classroom, but I will tell you why I chose to join ASAP’s Growing Minds team.

I loved teaching and I loved all 145 of my students. Yes, I understand that perhaps only another teacher could understand how you can love 145 teenagers. (Alright, let’s be honest, I loved 142 of them.) And maybe that’s why despite all the things we are hearing about the state of our schools, if I read the articles closely enough, I can find an underlying theme: teachers are still passionate. Regardless of what goes on in the political scene, they still love their students, and they still love the art of teaching. Teachers are still showing up everyday to teach our children. What’s more, they’re embracing Farm to School like never before!

But, they do need support from parents, their community, and outside organizations. That is why I joined Growing Minds; the program is one piece of that support system. From mini-grants to a lending library, lesson plans to free seeds for school gardens, an annual conference that teachers can actually afford to attend (most teachers pay for professional development out of their own pocket) to the occasional surprise like free plant giveaways (keep an eye out for one this fall!), Growing Minds supports teachers. Actually, it’s more than that. The Growing Minds team LOVES teachers. I have said on more than one occasion that teachers and farmers are celebrities in the ASAP office. So, if you know a teacher, send them our way. If you are a teacher and you haven’t done so already, try and forget the negative headlines for a moment and make your way over to our website While you’re there, see how we can help support you and your students this school year and read some positive classroom stories.

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