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October 3, 2007

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

Department of Education Holds 2007 K-12 Conference and Innovation Fair

ORLANDO – The Florida Department of Education and the Florida Education Foundation last night kicked off the 2007 K-12 Conference and Innovation Fair at the Caribe Royale Hotel in Orlando. The four-day conference will welcome more than 650 educators from around the state to learn about innovative and exciting advances in education reform.

“The K-12 Conference and Innovation Fair is a wonderful opportunity for educators to learn about the newest and most inspiring developments in education today,” said Commissioner Blomberg. “These are exciting times in Florida as we strive to ensure every student is prepared for college or a career when they graduate from our public school system.”

The conference focuses on new approaches to improving student achievement, redesigning teacher compensation, and innovative secondary public school career, collegiate and magnet academies. To kick off the event, Florida Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg, K-12 Public Schools Chancellor Cheri Pierson Yecke, Florida Education Foundation Chairman Alan Levy and the 2008 Florida Department of Education/Macy’s Teacher of the Year Richard Ellenburg welcomed attendees at a sports-themed “tailgate” event.

Today represents the first full day of the conference where 12 of Florida’s Title I schools will be recognized for their success in raising student achievement. These schools were chosen from a pool of nearly 1,400 Florida Title I schools for showing the greatest progress in closing the achievement gap or making and exceeding Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two years. Of these schools, the top two will be invited to represent the state of Florida at the National Title I Conference to be held in Nashville, Tenn., in January 2008. For a list of these schools, please visit

The remainder of today’s events consist of an opening general session, an Innovation Fair, and recognition of the 2007 Turnaround Principals. This recognition will highlight 57 school principals who have improved their school grade at least two letter grades in one year.

On Thursday, keynote speaker Dr. Theodore Hershberg of the University of Pennsylvania will discuss teacher compensation as it relates to school reform. In addition, Florida’s newly certified Red Ribbon Schools will be recognized for their dedication to year-round substance use prevention and the health and academic achievement of their students. Also on Thursday, the Office of Mathematics and Science will present the new Sunshine State Standards for Mathematics.

The conference will conclude on Friday, October 5, with a closing General Session featuring Coach Ken Carter, whose inspirational story was made into the movie Coach Carter starring Samuel L. Jackson. Richard Ellenburg will also join the Office of Mathematics and Science for a presentation on revisions to Florida’s science standards.

For more information about the K-12 Conference and Innovation Fair, please visit For more information about the Office of Mathematics and Science, please visit