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Press Release

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Surprised Educators Play Starring Role in Unique Teacher Appreciation Episode of Teacher Talk

~ Special television show to air statewide on Florida Knowledge Network ~

TALLAHASSEE – The teacher appreciation episode of the popular Teacher Talk television show featuring nearly 100 Florida educators will broadcast today at 4:00 p.m. via local channels through the Florida Knowledge Network. Themed as an “Oprah-Style” giveaway, the Florida Department of Education (DOE) coordinated with Walt Disney World and 19 different education vendors to transform the monthly television show into a teacher appreciation extravaganza. The surprise show, taped at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort on Feb. 17, 2011, began as a workshop on teaching resources for the classroom and ended with amazed teachers leaving with free gifts in hand.

“I was thrilled to honor some of our hard-working educators with a special edition of Teacher Talk,” said Florida Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “Florida is fortunate to have such exceptional teachers, and this was one small token of appreciation for the extraordinary work they do every day in their classrooms.”

Teachers submitted an online application on the Just for Teachers website last January for consideration to attend the special show. Of the initial 1,000 applicants, 100 educators were randomly selected to attend. The teachers attended the show for a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) resources workshop along with a Disney Youth Education Services fieldtrip through one of the Disney theme parks. What they also walked away with was more than $180,000 of free products that could be used in their classrooms. Nineteen companies donated their educational products to the Florida Education Foundation as a way to extend their appreciation to Florida educators and to support education in Florida.

“Our business partners made this remarkable day possible through their generous donations to Florida’s teachers,” added Commissioner Smith. “I cannot begin to thank them enough for stepping up to support education in the Sunshine State and allowing us to support our teachers in such an outstanding fashion.”

Teacher Talk is a television show produced by the Florida Knowledge Network that focuses on Florida teachers and their innovations both in and out of the classroom. Each show is made available to every school district in the state, and airs on local channels and is webcast on the DOE website at For more information about “Teacher Talk,” please visit

The following companies donated instructional materials and professional development products for the Teacher Talk: Teacher Appreciation Show:

  • 1105 Media
  • ASC Direct, Inc.
  • AWARD Reading
  • Brainchild Corporation
  • Britannica Digital Learning
  • Disney Y.E.S. Program
  • Ellison
  • ExploreLearning
  • Follett Software
  • Frog Publications
  • GradeCam Corporation
  • Kagan Publishing
  • Novachi, Inc.
  • PolyVision
  • Reading Plus
  • Renaissance Learning
  • RM Education
  • SP Controls
  • Tekboard Educational System