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 ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 18 ~PRNewswire~ -- Contributing $25,000 in seed money supplemented by other donations from the private sector and the community, Landstar Homes has launched the non-profit Meadow Woods Education Foundation in an ambitious grassroots effort to immerse elementary school children in technology and the sciences.
 The prototype foundation is a public~private partnership which brings community leaders, educators and parents together to implement progressive educational programs. One of the priorities of the foundation will be to underwrite the cost of installing a complete computer network which will transform the learning environment for the 883 youngsters attending Meadow Woods Elementary School.
 "Our idea for the foundation evolved from the fact that communities throughout the country need schools which provide top-quality education, especially in a child's early stages of learning," said Rodolfo Stern, president of Landstar Homes, a leading developer and home builder in Central and South Florida. "We are pleased with the overwhelming support this new foundation is receiving from other companies, the community and Meadow Woods parents. This collective effort will be the driving force behind the foundation's success.
 "Because quality education is a national concern, we hope this foundation will serve as a model for communities elsewhere in Florida and across the country," he said. "We want to encourage others in the private sector to think about funding school programs rather than expecting the government to do it all."
 A board of directors which includes public and private leaders in addition to parents will steer the foundation and oversee fund-raising efforts. Board members include Linda W. Chapin, Orange County Commission chairman; Dr. Richard Huseman, dean of the Business College at the University of Central Florida; attorney J. Charles Gray, partner with the prominent law firm of Gray Harris & Robinson, P.A.; and Steve Graham, president of the Meadow Woods Elementary PTA, in addition to Landstar executives Rodolfo Stern and Eduardo Stern. A seventh board seat has been reserved for a second parent representative from Meadow Woods Elementary.
 "I am pleased to assist in Landstar's efforts in providing support to area schools," said Orange County Commission Chairman Linda Chapin. "Landstar has taken a leadership role in initiating this educational foundation -- a role in which we hope to see many more participants in the near future."
 Landstar principal Eduardo Stern stressed that the foundation's mission is academic enrichment. "Our goal in creating the foundation is to enrich the education of our children, specifically in the area of science and technology," he explained. "It's crucial that our young people be equipped with the knowledge they need to compete in a world of rapid technological change."
 The t?ion, the first of its kind in Central Florida, is especially innovative in its focus on primary school children, said Elizabeth Begalla, principal of Meadow Woods Elementary. The foundation is conceived as a perpetual entity, with primary funding in the early stages provided by Landstar Homes supplemented by other contributions from private sector sources involved in the development of the Meadow Woods community, located in south Orange County.
 With this neighborhood approach, the foundation seeks to raise up to $50,000 annually. The foundation's activities eventually will extend to other schools in the growing Meadow Woods community as they are built, Eduardo Stern said.
 "Landstar is a pacesetter in establishing the kind of public~private partnership every community needs in these days of diminishing public funds for education," Begalla said. "This corporate commitment serves as an inspiration for community involvement in fund-raising and gives us an edge in obtaining matching grants."
 The foundation's five-year wish list focuses on networking Meadow Woods Elementary so that computers are integrated into every facet of the children's learning experience, from classroom use to research and word-processing. Other items on the wish list include a proposed greenhouse facility for learning about nutrition and the environment, microscopes designed especially for children in elementary grades, and building sets to teach initial engineering systems and concepts.
 "All of us are excited about the potential for technology in the schools," said Steve Graham. "This year the PTA is directing all of its resources to supporting the foundation. It's a big plus for Meadow Woods."
 Consistently ranked among the top 100 home builders in the country, Landstar Homes has been a leading developer and home builder in Central Florida since 1978. Landstar is responsible for the development of the master-planned communities of Meadow Woods in Orange County and Buenaventura Lakes in northern Osceola County. In 1987, the company launched its South Florida division. Since Landstar began operations in Florida 14 years ago, the residential builder has delivered more than 10,000 homes in Central and South Florida.
 -0- 11~18~92
 ~CONTACT: Eduardo Stern, 305-461-2440, or Bill Morrisey, 407-851-7739, both of Landstar Homes~

CO: Landstar Homes ST: Florida IN: SU:

SS-XX -- FL004 -- 2181 11~18~92 08:56 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 18, 1992

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