Orlando Schools Receive Awards and Funding from the Community

By Stacy Andell for www.schoolsk-12.com

Awards for Preventing Substance Abuse
Five Orlando public schools will be recognized for outstanding prevention efforts in the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs at the Statewide Prevention Conference in Orlando held at the Caribe Royale Resort. Only 10 schools in the state are being honored during the event to be held on September 20, 2006.
Lancaster Elementary; Gotha and Southwest middle schools; and Boone and Timber Creek high schools will receive special commendation for innovative and community-involved programs to help students make responsible and smart decisions.  All these Orlando schools are honored to have received such distinction in the state of Florida and are encouraged that their substance abuse programs have proven so successful.
“As educators we want all of our students to make the right choice when faced with decisions that could impact their young lives forever,” said Superintendent Ronald Blocker. “I’m very happy that others outside of [Orlando schools] value and applaud the collective community efforts these schools are using so that our students can be successful in and out of the classroom.”
Florida’s First Lady, Columba Bush, will attend the Statewide Prevention Conference. She will be on hand to present the Orlando schools with specially-designed flags in honor of the recognition during the opening session from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. on September 20, 2006. Her participation adds extra bragging rights to the Orlando schools honored by her visit.
The five Orlando schools will receive further recognition during the annual Florida Department of Education’s Safe and Drug Free Schools Conference to be held next December.   Their programs are being examined throughout the Florida educational community.
Orlando Schools Get Books from Donor
The CFE Federal Credit Union is donating $100,000 a year, totaling a half million dollars to Orlando schools to buy books for media centers. This is the fourth year of the Dollars for Books program.
“This is all about providing students with the tools they need to become successful,” said Joseph Melbourne, President and CEO of CFE Federal Credit Union. “Reading is like compounded interest, a little each day adds up and it provides a wealth of knowledge for our students.”
What has become an annual event was held at Kaley Elementary School, where ten principals were each given a ten thousand dollar check for their schools. The Orlando schools receiving the donations are: Eccleston, Englewood, Kaley, Little River, Pinewood, Rolling Hills, West Oaks elementary schools; Lee and Liberty middle schools and Cypress Creek High School.
“The Dollars for Books program is just a great way for schools to obtain additional books that we don’t have the money to buy,” said Kaley Elementary Principal Sandra Daves. “I strongly believe that improving reading skills is the best means to improve student achievement and our school is very grateful for this donation from the CFE Federal Credit Union.”  Her sentiments are reflected in the opinions of students, teachers, and parents throughout the Orlando school system.
To date the CFE Federal Credit Union has donated $400,000 to Orlando schools to buy books.  Hopefully the success of the program will ensure that it will continue in years to come, bringing more opportunities for reading in the classrooms of Orlando schools.