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Press Release

Friday, June 10, 2011

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Education Partners Honored for Outstanding Support of Florida Education

~ Businesses large and small recognized for their commitment to advancing Florida schools ~

TAMPA - Organizations from around the Sunshine State were honored last night during the 2011 Commissioner's Business Recognition Awards ceremony held by the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Education Foundation. On hand to recognize the more than 80 education business partners were Florida Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith along with members of the Florida Education Foundation and the State Board of Education. The recipients were recognized for improving the academic success of all students, and were highlighted during the Florida Association of District School Superintendents and Florida School Boards Association Joint Conference at the Grand Hyatt in Tampa.

"Excellent schools and effective learning environments do not occur by chance; they are built piece by piece through great teaching, visionary leadership, and ongoing community and stakeholder involvement and investment," said Commissioner Smith. "The business partners honored through these awards embody the type of commitment we need to make every one of our schools a success and I'm pleased to recognize them for the vital role they play in improving our education system."

The Commissioner's Business Recognition Awards are administered by the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Education Foundation to encourage successful alliances within the business community and among local school districts for the benefit of Florida's students.

"The collective contributions of these business partners are immeasurable," said Alan J. Levy, Chair of the Florida Education Foundation Board of Directors. "It is our privilege to pay tribute to them for their innovation and commitment of dollars and resources to Florida's public schools."

Highlights from Education Partnerships from around the state
  • The School District of Escambia County has long recognized the valuable relationship it has with Walgreens, who has donated approximately $10,000 in over-the-counter medications over the past three years to 54 schools. With the support of Walgreens, the school district has been able to treat minor aches and pains of students at school, with parental consent, which has allowed students to remain in class to learn and work toward high student achievement.

  • Oak Park School Academy for Community Transition in Sarasota County has also benefited greatly from Peach's Restaurant at Bee Ridge. This community-based work experience program has created opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities to learn food-service employability skills and be able to gain hands-on training in the food service industry. Job coaches and staff members at Peach's have worked together to increase student self-esteem and confidence as they master their skills.

  • One of the oldest schools in Santa Rosa County, Bagdad Elementary School learned firsthand the value of the Connecting with Communities program from Clearwire Corporation. More than 100 Clearwire employees volunteered to help reface the façade of the school building and improved the appearance and safety of the school grounds with new landscaping and parking lot enhancements. In addition to the cosmetic changes to the campus, employees also upgraded the computer classroom with new equipment and donated much-needed school supplies to the students.

  • Students at Plantation Key School in Monroe County have improved their reading and math scores over the years, all with the help of Morgan Hampson Insurance. For years, Mr. Robert Morgan financially supported tutoring and after-school services to the students who struggled with reading and mathematics. He also provided funds to support the media center and sponsored several classrooms to purchase materials and supplies. With his generous donation, the school was able to purchase and install an electronic sign to ensure the safety of the students in the early hours.

  • To ensure that students understand the significance of the environment, the Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center in Jefferson County has been a vital partner for three years. The Center is dedicated to educating children about North Florida landscapes, wildlife management and renewable energy resources. The Center has hosted 4-H Ecology Days and has provided funding to enhance athletic and fine arts programs in the area. In addition, eight students from Jefferson County Middle High School also received a comprehensive four-week paid summer internship at the Center.

To learn more about the Florida Education Foundation, or to see the full list of winners for the Commissioner's Business Recognition Awards, visit

About the Florida Education Foundation
Under Chairman Levy's leadership and the direction of its board of directors, the Florida Education Foundation promotes and supports academic excellence for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students in Florida. Additionally, the Foundation recognizes outstanding teachers and educational contributors, develops strategic alliances with business organizations and advances statewide educational goals.