Back to School
International Education Week
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Back to School
Today is the last day of the Department's fourth annual Back to School bus tour, entitled "Strong Start, Bright Future." Over the last week, Secretary Duncan and senior Department officials have held roughly 65 events in 20 cities and four states across the American Southwest. The agency's blog has a wealth of stories, pictures, and videos chronicling the tourincluding daily recaps for September 9 [Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Polvadera, New Mexico]; September 10 [El Paso, Texas, and Columbus, New Mexico]; September 11 [Tucson and Tempe, Arizona]; September 12 [Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Yuma, Arizona]; and September 13 [Chula Vista, California]. Also, the agency released fact sheets that detail specific information about visits along the way. And, throughout the tour, participants have been utilizing social media.
In a September 9 Back to School letter to local superintendents, Secretary Duncan observes, "We have a lot to celebrate, including the highest high school graduation rate in three decades and more young adults attending college than a decade ago. Yet, we have a long way to go. Too many young peopleand especially too many students from low-income and vulnerable populationsaren't participating in that success." Continuing, he highlights Department initiatives aimed at making schools and communities stronger, including Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility, new guides for developing emergency operations plans, and the Race to the Top-District program. Noting "Every family, neighbor, educator, health care provider, and business knows the importance of well-educated and healthy children," he also encourages the uninsured to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace starting in October."
While the bus tour was this week's primary focus, other critical work was ongoing at the agency:
- The Department's Implementation and Support Unit (ISU) held a webinar to answer questions submitted to the 2013 Race to the Top-District competition mailbox. Slides from the webinar are posted here. Applications are due October 3.
- The Departments of Education and Health and Human Services held a technical assistance planning workshop for the 2013 Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge competition. Slides from the workshop are posted here, and the live stream video and transcript will be posted here. Applications are due October 16.
- The Department's Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) held a first of two Gainful Employment negotiated rulemaking committee meetings. Materials are posted here. A second meeting is scheduled for October 21-23.
Also: The bipartisan Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission released a comprehensive report with actions to accelerate expansion of digital learning in the K-12 education system.
September 17 is Constitution Day/Citizenship Day, commemorating the September 17, 1787, signing of the U.S. Constitution. In recognition, Congress has mandated that every educational institution receiving federal funds hold an educational program about the seminal document. To assist students and educators in their studies, free online resources are available from the Department's Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) web site, as well as the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, theNational Endowment for the Humanities, the Office of Personnel Management, and the U.S. Senate.
International Education Week
Planning is underway for the 14th annual International Education Week (November 18-22, coinciding with American Education Week). The week, a joint initiative of the Departments of Education and State, provides schools, colleges and universities, and communities an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This year's theme is "International Education: Learning Matters Around the World." Individuals and institutions are encouraged to join the listserv and submit an event. Also, Secretary Duncan recorded a video encouraging the public to participate.
Already longing for summer? Here is a look back at some of this summer's exciting events in Washington, D.C.:
- President Obama and other dignitaries paid tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., and those who participated in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. "The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it does not bend on its own," the President said in an echo of King's words. "To secure the gains this country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency."
- The Department held five "Let's Read! Let's Move!" summer enrichment events, engaging children in reading and physical activity and promoting healthy eating habits. Links are available for each of the five events. Also, a video summarizes all five events.
- The Department welcomed its sixth cohort of Teaching Ambassador Fellowseight teachers from across the country on either full- or part-time release to supply their expertise to the federal policy apparatus. The initiative has proven so valuable the inaugural cohort of Principal Ambassador Fellows is soon to arrive as well. Before leaving, several fellows from the outgoing cohort shared reflections and anecdotes on what the fellowship is all about.
Odds and Ends
President Obama sent to the Senate his nomination of Jim Shelton to be Deputy Secretary of Education.
On September 9, the Department announced $1.9 million in grants to organizations in California, Missouri, and Washington to help individuals with disabilities purchase needed assistive technology.
Then, on September 12, the Department announced $15.1 million in Enhanced Assessment Grants for the state education agencies in Maryland, North Carolina, and Texas to develop Kindergarten Entry Assessments. Notably, there are groups of collaborating states receiving grants under Maryland's and North Carolina's applications.
The Department has entered into a first-of-its-kind resolution agreement with Alabama's Lee County School District to ensure that all students have equal access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses and other high-level learning opportunities.
Sue Swenson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, blogged about her experience on the fourth leg of the "Education Built to Last" Best Practices Tour, visiting several U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) in southeastern Wisconsin. (Note: September 16-20, ED-GRS Director Andrea Falken and other senior agency officials will visit award-winning schools across California, Oregon, and Washington as part of the fifth leg of the tour.)
Early this month, First Lady Michelle Obama joined former NBA basketball player Shaquille O'Neal, U.S. Olympic track and fielder Allyson Felix, U.S. Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes, and students at Washington, D.C.'s Orr Elementary School for a Let's Move! Active Schools Back to School event.
In successive blog posts (1 and 2) on the General Services Administration's (GSA) DigitalGov blog, Brenda Wensil, Chief Customer Experience Officer in the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA), spotlights the impact of her office on the customer experience of student aid applicants and recipients via the Integrated Student Experience Project.
Two reports were recently released by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) based on the National Household Education Surveys Program. One report presents findings on children's participation in relative care, non-relative care, and center-based care arrangements, as well as parents' reasons for choosing care, the most important factors when choosing a care arrangement, and parents' participation in various learning activities with their children. The other report looks at aspects of parent and family involvement in education, such as help with homework, family activities, and parental involvement at school. Also, a new, large-scale random assignment study by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) examines the effectiveness of secondary math teachers from Teach for America and Teaching Fellows. Additionally, IES and the National Science Foundation released common guidelines for education research and development.
Quote to Note
"Today marks another year gone by since the tragic events of September 11, 2001. For so many of us, we will always remember where we were when we received the news and the wave of emotions that flowed over us or the following days, weeks, months, and, now, years that have since passed. Yet, most of America's students are too young to remember those traumatic events. It is our responsibility to share with them the weight of that horrific day, the amazing acts of courage, and how, even through great adversity, our nation came together to heal as one.... Today is a time of reflection, a time for service, and a time to remember that, each and every day, we are all Americansworking hard to make this country great."
|||Secretary Arne Duncan (9/11/13), in a statement, prior to participating in a 9/11 service project at Dodge Traditional Magnet Middle School in Tucson, Arizona|
Secretary Duncan will make a guest appearance on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report this Tuesday, September 17, at 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The show will air again at various times on September 18.
On September 24, the Department's Student Art Exhibit Team and Crayola will hold the third annual "Champion Creatively Alive Children" event. Hands-on creative experiences will engage educators and Department employees in concrete steps to infuse the arts in education and head-off potential barriers to change that may arise when attempting such a major shift. After remarks by Susan Bunte, principal of the arts-infused Silverton Paideia Academy in Cincinnati, and IES Director John Easton, Crayola will present children's artwork for the agency's permanent collection. To RSVP to attend or learn more about the Department's year-round exhibit program, please contact Nicole.Carinci@ed.gov.
Green Apple Day of Service, on Saturday, September 28, gives students, parents, teachers, businesses, and local organizations the opportunity to transform schools into safe, healthy, and productive learning environments through local service projects.
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