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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

100 Florida teachers get 'Oprah-style' giveaway



From a Florida Department of Education press release this morning:

ORLANDO – Nearly 100 Florida educators got a big surprise yesterday, thinking they were attending a professional development workshop only to end up with both the training and numerous free educational products from vendors throughout the country. Themed as an “Oprah-Style” give-away, the Florida Department of Education (DOE) coordinated with Walt Disney World and nearly 20 different education vendors to turn its monthly “Teacher Talk” television show into a teacher appreciation extravaganza. The show was taped at Walt Disney World Saratoga Springs Resort and featured Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith, DOE’s teacher liaison Kelly Seay, and Disney’s Imagineers who worked in concert to pull the surprise off.
“Florida is home to some of the hardest working teachers in the nation, and I am thrilled that we were able to honor some of them during this special edition of Teacher Talk,” said Commissioner Smith.  “The smiles on their faces were priceless and we are going to continue to identify and create more opportunities like this to honor as many of them as possible.”

Last month, educators were asked to submit an online application on the Just for Teachers website to be considered for the special show. Of the initial 1,000 applicants, 100 teachers were randomly selected to attend.  The teachers attended the show under the guise of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Professional Development workshop along with a Disney Youth Education Services fieldtrip through one of the Disney theme parks.  What they 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.
“I am grateful to each of our business partners for making this wonderful event possible and for contributing so generously to these educators,” added Commissioner Smith.  “I can’t wait to hear about all the positive things they are able to do with these products as they work to build brighter futures for their students.”
“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. The special Teacher Appreciation episode will air on March 8, 2011, at 4:00 p.m. through local channels and will be 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
Follett Software
Frog Publications
GradeCam Corporation
Herff Jones/Nystrom
Kagan Publishing
Novachi, Inc.
Reading Plus
Renaissance Learning
RM Education
SP Controls
Tekboard Educational System

[Last modified: Friday, February 18, 2011 10:39am]


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