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Nine Polk teachers attend television show, receive education-related gifts | People

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Nine Polk teachers attend television show, receive education-related gifts
People, Schools
Nine Polk teachers attend television show, receive education-related gifts

Nine Polk County teachers participated in a statewide professional development event in the 2010-2011 school year in Orlando and received an unexpected surprise, an “Oprah-style” giveaway.  They were among 100 teachers participating in the Florida Department of Education’s (FDOE) monthly “Teacher Talk” television show.

Teacher Talk is a show about new approaches to education. It is produced and broadcast by the Florida Knowledge Network and focuses on Florida teachers and their innovations both in and out of the classroom.

The teachers thought they would only be participating in a program about the STEM initiative. STEM is an acronym for a national education initiative to enhance instruction in science, technology, engineering and math.  They didn’t know that 20 companies donated educational products totaling $180,000 that they could use in their classrooms.

Interested participants submitted an online application to be considered for the special episode.  Of 1,000 applicants, 100 were randomly selected, including nine from Polk County.

They were:

  • Elspeth Belflower, Fort Meade Middle-Senior;
  • Suzanne Brigman,  Lakeland’s Philip O’Brien Elementary;
  • Adrienne Frazier, Lakeland’s Southwest Middle;
  • Stacy Moser, Lakeland High School;
  • Laura Northrop, Lakeland’s Highlands Grove Elementary;
  • Kevin Ounan, Winter Haven’s Jewett School of the Arts;
  • Nicole Ounan, Jewett School of the Arts;
  • Colleen Schmidt, Polk City Elementary;
  • Courtney Schmitt, Poinciana’s Laurel Elementary.

Among the products given to teachers: a classroom presentation application for computers and iPads; a machine to enhance classroom décor;  a trial to a science and math tip site for teachers; a music keyboard and a subscription to FCAT Achiever, a program designed to improve FCAT scores. Teachers also got the opportunity to go on a Disney field trip with some behind the scenes access.

The special episode of Teacher Talk was recorded at Walt Disney World’s Saratoga Springs Resort and featured FDOE Commissioner Eric J. Smith, Disney’s Imagineers and the FDOE teacher liaison Kelly Seay.

“I am grateful to each of our business partners for making this wonderful event possible and for contributing so generously to these educators,” Commissioner Smith said at the event. “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.”

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