Orlando, FL (Sept. 21, 2012)
The Foundation for Florida Virtual School hosted the inaugural Opening Doors to the World Awards Celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. The evening, which was inspired by a quote from a Florida Virtual School® student – “Mine is not your typical classroom, it’s a door to the world,” honored those who have been instrumental in opening doors to educate students in Florida, the United States and around the world. Recipients of the Opening Doors to the World “Virtie” Award were Mobile Beacon, Innosight Institute’s Co-Founder and Executive Director Michael Horn, Ucompass, Florida Virtual School Student Bailey Reese and Governor Jeb Bush.
The Bridging the Gap Virtie Award was presented to Mobile Beacon, represented by Manager Rick Lindholm, for demonstrating a resourceful approach to education. The award illustrates the out-of-the-box thinking it takes to connect students to the technology they need to succeed. Mobile Beacon, a non-profit organization, is one of the nation’s largest educational broadband service providers in the United States. The mission of Mobile Beacon is to help schools save on Internet access, so they can spend more on education. The company provides unlimited 4G mobile access for a flat rate of $10 per month, making anytime, anywhere access an affordable option. This past year, Mobile Beacon awarded a grant to The Foundation for Florida Virtual School, providing 125 brand new laptops with 4G connection for The Foundation to use in Community Learning Centers in different regions throughout the state.
The Transforming Education Virtie Award recipient, Michael Horn, has been instrumental in transforming America’s education system through philanthropic impact, ongoing research and education policy. Horn leads a team that educates policymakers and the public on how to encourage innovation in education based on its ongoing research, which explores how to transform America’s education system from its current factory-based model into a student-centric model in which students can realize their human potential. Horn co-authored the book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns; has written articles for numerous publications such as Forbes, The Washington Post, the Economist and Education Week; has testified at many state legislative sessions; and has been named one of the 100 most important people in the creation and advancement of the use of technology in education by Tech&Learning magazine.
The Champion of Innovation Virtie Award was presented to Ucompass, represented by Co-Founder and CEO Ed Mansouri, for championing the use of new technology to eliminate gaps in our educational learning management systems. The organizations commitment to excellence is seen in their originality and hard work. UCompass is dedicated to changing the way education leverages technology to improve content delivery. This involves being agile, nimble, innovative, and truly thinking outside-the-box when it comes to delivering solutions. UCompass fosters an atmosphere of change and looks for ways to push the boundaries of technology to create revolutionary products such as Educator and the international award-winning platform, Octane.
The Spirit of Excellence Virtie Award was presented to Florida Virtual School Student Bailey Reese for inspiring others to serve and act as a role model while embracing a true sense of caring and responsibility. At the age of 7, Reese started Hero Hugs after a hurricane hit the area where she lives. She noticed people were not thanking the soldiers passing out ice and water, but instead complaining about the long lines and not enough supplies. The soldiers had left the comforts of their homes and families to help and should have been hearing a lot more thanks! Reese made it her passion to be sure the awesome men and women who serve our country know someone is thinking about them. Reese, now 16 years old, and her team of helpers, send anywhere from 500 to 1,200 appreciation packages each month to U.S. soldiers around the world. Thousands of soldiers have been touched by her kindness!
The Pioneer for Access to Education Virtie Award was presented to former Governor Jeb Bush for paving the way for Florida students to access education regardless of socio, economic or geographic boundaries. During his term as the 43rd governor of the state of Florida, Jeb Bush was a pioneer for education, raising the education standards, requiring accountability for public schools and creating the most ambitious school choice program in the nation. Florida Virtual School, now celebrating its 15th anniversary, is a result of his innovative spirit. Today, Governor Bush is the chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education and the Foundation for Florida’s Future. He continues to be a voice for education transformation not only in Florida, but across the United States.
“As the philanthropic organization of Florida Virtual School, we recognize that it takes the commitment and innovation of many pioneering individuals and organizations to transform education worldwide, one student at a time,” said Star Kraschinsky, president of The Foundation for Florida Virtual School. “Together we can provide the platform to spark creativity in each other, resulting in the necessary support to deliver high quality, technology-based education that provides the skills and knowledge students need, and deserve, to succeed.”