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July 15, 2004

MacKay Jimeson
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Horne Announces Partnership with Just Read, Florida! and Florida Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola trucks statewide will display the Just Read, Florida! logo

Tallahassee - Education Commissioner Jim Horne today announced a partnership with Florida Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Just Read, Florida!, encouraging more Floridians to read and touting the progress Florida students have made in reading. As part of the reading promotion, Florida Coca-Cola is placing the Just Read, Florida! logo on the back of its delivery trucks statewide. Today, Commissioner Horne was joined by Superintendent Bill Montford and Florida Coca-Cola executives to distribute books to students.

"Through community and business partnerships, we are ensuring every child has the opportunity to be a successful reader," Commissioner Horne said. "Florida Coca-Cola is proving to be a strong corporate leader and I encourage more businesses and organizations to get more involved in making a difference in a child's education."

Just Read, Florida! prioritizes reading in public schools by helping them implement a comprehensive system of reading instruction. Through Just Read, Florida! funding, students have been given the opportunity to strengthen their reading skills through initiatives such as Summer Reading Camps and Families Building Better Readers.

The Middle Grades Reform bill, also funded through Just Read, Florida!, puts reading coaches in middle schools for sixth, seventh and eighth grade students who need attention in reading. These 282 coaches will offer teachers professional development to more effectively teach reading that will help more than 282,000 middle school students.

"The Florida Coca-Cola Bottling Company is very proud to be a part of the 'Just Read, Florida!' initiative, and we are excited to partner with the Florida Department of Education," said Jay Ard, Vice President and General Manager, Florida Coca-Cola Bottling Company. "By using our fleet as the vehicle to display the 'Just Read, Florida!' message, our goal is to help the State of Florida reach a record number of students and their parents with the message - Reading is Fundamental."

Coca-Cola has been a national model through partnerships such as with the National PTA Strategic Alliance that encourages parental involvement, but locally as well in Florida schools. Coca-Cola employees are offered 90 minutes of paid time per week to mentor in their local public schools through the Governor's Mentoring Initiative. They also provide rewards, incentives and support to local schools and youth reading programs and offer assistance through fundraising and donation opportunities.

For more information on the partnership, please visit