Tampa, Fla., June 15, 2012 – Businesses and organizations throughout the Sunshine State were recognized last night at the 2012 Commissioner’s Business Recognition Awards ceremony sponsored by the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Education Foundation. Leaders representing more than 70 businesses and local organizations were on hand to be honored for their support of education by Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson and members of the Foundation. The awards ceremony was held as part of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents and the Florida School Boards Association Joint Conference in Tampa.
“I am honored to recognize the outstanding commitment of our business partners to public education in Florida,” said Commissioner Robinson. “Their pledge to student academic success through business partnerships embodies the fundamental relationship between education and the workforce. As students prepare for postsecondary education and careers, the skills they learn today through these partnerships will ensure they are ready to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.”
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. Sponsors of the 2012 awards program are Wells Fargo, Infinity Software Development, and Florida Trend Magazine.
“Businesses throughout Florida donate an immeasurable contribution to our public schools,” said Foundation Board of Directors Chairman Dominic M. Calabro. “I am honored to pay tribute not only to their financial commitment, but to the innovative ways they support student achievement and success. Our businesses make our students’ academic achievement relevant and our economy prosperous in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.”
Highlights from Education Partnerships from around the state include
· Santa Fe College in Alachua County supports students through programming, facility use and shared resources by hosting the regional Science Fair, career days, and planetarium and zoo tours. In a continuing partnership with the Rotary, Santa Fe Zoo and the public schools, 120 students each year are invited to attend a six-week, afterschool program at the zoo focusing on literacy, ecology and animal science. Zoo students lead the lessons, work individually with students on reading, and design and lead other enrichment activities at the zoo.
· Feeding South Florida developed a deeply meaningful partnership with Nova Blanche Forman Elementary School in Broward County to address hunger in the community and empower students to develop solutions. Students toured the local food bank where they interviewed food bank administrators, employees and clients to understand the process of sharing food supplies. Through a service-learning grant, students used their knowledge to raise more than $9,000 to increase public awareness about hunger and expand their outreach to another school to provide food for at-risk children when school is not in session.
· Thanks to Callahan Pharmacy in Nassau County, healthy smiles are seen throughout Callahan Elementary. Because many local families use non-fluoridated well water, Callahan Pharmacy provided essential resources for a weekly “SWISH” program to provide fluoride treatments and teach children about dental health. As a result, Nassau County health officials report that dental referrals have dropped dramatically. Callahan Pharmacy also sponsors “All Pro Dads,” a program endorsed by football legend Tony Dungy, which helps strengthen relationships between fathers and their children.
· .decimal, an engineering company in Seminole County, has partnered with Lyman High School for many years. Not only do they host class field trips at their facility, but they also provide Lyman engineering students with internships and many with job opportunities once they graduate. In addition to their continuous support, .decimal sponsors the Robotics team at Lyman, participates in Career Night at Lake Mary High, and provides school supplies, food, and Lego building projects for the gifted classes at Casselberry Elementary. The company is also a sponsor for the Seminole County Public Schools Foundation’s Golf Fore Tournament.
· Through the Career Connection Consortium Business Cadre, more than 200 business leaders throughout Volusia County serve as key advisors, promoters and recruiters for the district’s 34 career academies. Organized in 1994, the Cadre has committed time, resources, internship placements, advocacy, equipment, financial support and expertise with the goal of increasing local business input into the development and redesign of Volusia’s Career and Technical Education programs, helping more than 20,000 students each year keep pace with the demands of the business community.
To learn more about the Florida Education Foundation, or to see the full list of winners for the Commissioner’s Business Recognition Awards, visit http://www.floridaeducationfoundation.org/.
About the Florida Education Foundation
Under Chairman Calabro’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.
About the Florida Department of Education
The department’s mission is to increase the proficiency of all students within one seamless, efficient education system by providing them the chance to expand their knowledge and skills through world-class learning opportunities. Serving more than 3.5 million students, 4,200 public schools, 28 colleges, 188,000 teachers, 47,000 college professors and administrators, and 318,000 full-time staff throughout the state, the department enhances the economic self-sufficiency of Floridians through programs and services geared toward college, workforce education, job-specific skills and career development. Florida ranks first in the nation for teacher quality, first in the nation in advanced placement participation, and first in the southern region for graduation rate and degrees awarded by the Florida College System. For more information, visit www.fldoe.org.
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PRESS OFFICE