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November 2, 2012 ED Review
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 November 2, 2012
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Hurricane Sandy
Early Learning
Travel Log
Recognition Day/Weeks
Green Ribbon Schools
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

Hurricane Sandy

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Department is reaching out to state education agencies (SEAs), local education agencies (LEAs), institutions of higher education (IHEs), and state and local disaster recovery coordinators to let them know about issue-specific recovery resources. Also, the Department is posting relevant information on a new Hurricane Sandy web page. Among the steps taken to date:

  • The Department extended the application deadline for the Race to the Top-District competition. For school districts in states affected by Sandy and for which the President has issued a major disaster declaration or an emergency declaration, the new deadline is Wednesday, November 7, at 4:30 p.m. Washington, D.C. time. For all other districts, the new deadline is today, November 2, at 4:30 p.m. Washington, D.C. time.
  • In a statement, Secretary Duncan encouraged colleges, universities, and scholarship programs across the country to consider extending their early November application deadlines to accommodate students who were impacted by Sandy and who may be experiencing hardships. (Note: The National Association for College Admissions Counseling is maintaining a list of IHEs with extended deadlines.)
  • The Departments of Education and Agriculture reminded states and schools they may use stocks of foods purchased for the National School Lunch Program to help prepare meals at schools, shelters, or other congregate sites to feed local residents who may be in need of nutrition assistance.

Coming soon to the Hurricane Sandy web page: a toll-free number and dedicated email address for Sandy-related inquiries and questions and updated guidance on flexibility and waivers for SEAs, LEAs, IHEs, and other grantee and program participants.

Also, after hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, the Department developed a brochure, "Tips for Helping Students Recovering from Traumatic Events," to assist educators and parents who have students suffering from loss.

Want to help? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers suggestions to donate and volunteer responsibility.

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Early Learning

Late last week, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services announced that all five eligible states—Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin—have submitted applications for the second round of the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge. Up to $133 million is available for this round from a larger $550 million fund provided by Congress through the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. Because of the limited funding available, this round was only open to the next five highest-scoring states. These five states were able to apply for up to 50% of their original request. Staff from both agencies will review the applications and make awards by no later than December 31, 2012.

"The road to good jobs and a healthy economy runs through the classroom, and we can give every child a strong start by increasing access to high-quality early learning programs," stated Secretary Duncan. "By applying for the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, these states are continuing commitments to provide children—especially those with high needs—the tools to enter kindergarten ready to succeed in their education and ultimately careers."

Last year, 35 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico applied for the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, creating plans that increase access to high-quality programs for children from low-income families and provide more children—from birth to age 5—with a strong foundation needed to succeed in school and beyond. The agencies awarded nine grants in the first round.

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Travel Log

Also last week, Secretary Duncan joined philanthropist Eli Broad and retired Admiral Michael Mullen in New York City to announce five-time finalist Miami-Dade County Public Schools as the winner of the 2012 Broad Prize for Urban Education—the largest education prize in the U.S. awarded to the most-improved urban district. Miami-Dade County, the nation's fourth-largest district with nearly 350,000 students, 90% of whom are black or Hispanic and 74% of whom are low-income, bested three other finalists: Corona-Norco (CA), Houston (TX), and Palm Beach County (FL). (This marks the first time Corona-Norco and Palm Beach County were prize finalists, while Houston won the inaugural prize in 2002.) The $1 million prize goes to graduating high school seniors for college scholarships. Miami-Dade County gets $550,000, while the other finalists receive $150,000 each. Scholarships are granted to students who demonstrate significant financial need and have a record of academic improvement. Recipients who enroll in four-year colleges receive up to $20,000 over four years ($5,000 per year). Recipients who enroll in two-year colleges receive up to $5,000 over two years ($2,500 per year).

That same afternoon, the Secretary visited Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), an innovative secondary school that combines high school and college with career and technical education to prepare students to fill entry-level jobs in technology fields.

In addition, the Secretary joined top leaders from business, education, and government at a forum, "From Classroom to Career: Investing in Tomorrow's Workforce," to discuss strategies to prepare students with the essential skills to build successful careers.

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Recognition Day/Weeks

  • Veterans Day (November 11) celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans. Schools are encouraged to invite veterans into their classrooms in the days leading up to and following the holiday. Veterans can share their experiences and teach students lessons about the history and significance of Veterans Day, helping students reflect upon the importance of the ideals of liberty, freedom, and democracy. (Note: A teacher resource guide is available online.)

  • American Education Week (November 11-17) celebrates teachers and school staff. The week's theme, "Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility," is a call for all Americans to do their part in making public schools great for every child. During the week, education support professionals will be honored on Wednesday, and substitute educators will be honored on Friday.

  • International Education Week (November 12-16) promotes educating students about people throughout the world in preparing them to live in a diverse and tolerant society and succeed in today's global economy. This year's theme is "International Education: Striving for a Healthier Future Worldwide." Secretary Duncan has recorded a message inviting the public to participate.

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Green Ribbon Schools

Some 40 state education agencies (SEAs) intend to nominate schools for the 2013 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition program. ED-GRS honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, incorporating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), civic skills, and green career pathways. ED-GRS also communicates—for all schools—best practices and resources in the areas of facilities, health, and environment through outreach calls, blog posts, a newsletter, and the free, ongoing Green Strides Webinar Series.

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Odds and Ends

  • On October 19, Secretary Duncan delivered the welcoming remarks at the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) National Distinguished Principals Program, recognizing elementary and middle school principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, and character within their learning communities.

  • The Department of Labor's new "Credentials for Youth" tool provides a step-by-step process for helping youth attain credentials in high-demand occupations and connects users to resources to find high-demand occupations in their local area using labor market information.

  • The College Board has released its annual studies on trends in college pricing and trends in student aid, as well as the benefits of postsecondary education.

  • The U.S. Department of State's Office of Global Educational Programs administers several major exchange activities and professional development programs for secondary school educators, with the assistance of private, non-profit organizations.

  • The Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, is accepting applications from non-profit organizations to conduct month-long, community-wide reads between September 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014. Roughly 75 organizations will be selected to participate, receiving a grant ranging from $2,500 to $20,000, educational and promotional materials, and access to online training resources. Organizations may select from 27 book titles (including three new titles for 2013-14 programming) and three poets. (Note: The deadline for all applications is February 5, 2013.)

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Quote to Note

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families who have lost loved ones. Unfortunately, there have been fatalities as a consequence of Hurricane Sandy, and it's not clear that we've counted up all the fatalities at this point. Obviously, this is something that is heartbreaking for the entire nation. And, we certainly feel profoundly for all the families whose lives have been upended and are going to be going through some very tough times, over the next several days and perhaps several weeks and months. The important message I have for them is that America is with you. We are standing behind you, and we are going to do everything we can to help you get back on your feet."

        President Barack Obama (10/30/12), in remarks at the American Red Cross' Disaster Operation Center

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Upcoming Events

On November 7, at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time, the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) will present via webinar the latest guidance provided by the Department in the area of data disclosure. This one-hour presentation will give an overview of the guidance documents around data disclosure avoidance and the best practice strategies for protecting personally identifiable information (PII) from education records in published aggregate reports.

The 2012 Federal Student Aid (FSA) Conference in Orlando (November 27-30) is designed to provide the most up-to-date information on Title IV programs and evolving federal policies and procedures affecting customers and partners. It will also cover topics ranging from the technologies associated with FSA's information systems to improved practices for supporting aid applicants and recipients. The meeting is the largest federal aid conference offered to the financial aid community, hosting nearly 7,000 attendees in 2011.

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Last Modified: 11/06/2012