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PRESS RELEASE

October 4, 2006

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Department of Education Holds K-12 Conference
Focus on middle and high school reform to increase student achievement

ORLANDO — The Department of Education and the Florida Education Foundation yesterday kicked off the 2006 K-12 Conference and Innovation Fair at the Caribe Royale Hotel in Orlando. More than 700 educators from throughout the state gathered to hear Education Commissioner John L. Winn and K-12 Public Schools Chancellor Cheri Pierson Yecke, Ph.D., share their vision for secondary school reform in Florida. Governor Jeb Bush will be the keynote speaker tomorrow and will address the state of education over the course of his two terms in office.

"This is an exciting time for education in Florida," said Commissioner Winn. "Students will reap the benefits as we strive to ensure that all students are prepared for college or career when they graduate from high school. "

Today starts the first full day of the conference, opening with a general session featuring Mike Feinberg of KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program), a nationally recognized middle school model for improving student achievement. The day continues with the Innovation Fair, a school and district showcase of career, collegiate and magnet academies.

"The K-12 conference is a terrific opportunity for educators to learn about new ideas and what works in education reform," said Chancellor Yecke. "With our renewed focus on middle and high schools, the conference offers a unique venue as districts develop new courses and programs."

On Thursday, Kati Haycock, Director of the Education Trust, will speak at the morning general session. Her remarks will focus on closing the achievement gap in middle and high schools. (Governor Bush will give the keynote at a luncheon later that day.) Breakout sessions include presentations by school districts and educators that relate to the implementation of secondary academies.

In June, Governor Jeb Bush signed into law the A++ Plan for Education to increase the rigor and relevance of Florida's middle and high schools and better prepare students for postsecondary education and the workforce. The conference is one of the first steps to highlight Florida's best model academies and programs to assist schools looking to develop programs of their own.

For more information about the K-12 Conference and Innovation Fair, please visit www.fldoe.org/schools/Conference.