April 2012 marks the celebration of the 11th annual Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). The U.S. Department of Education is joining forces once again with the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History as well as more than 25 governmental, cultural, and community organizations to support this important cultural and educational initiative.
The five communities receiving 2011 Promise Neighborhoods (PN) implementation grants represent well America’s geographic diversity, stretching from the hills of Appalachia to the shores of the San Francisco Bay. Among the core elements they have in common is a strong commitment to early learning as a key ingredient for achieving their cradle-to-career goals.
In addition, 14 of the 15 PN planning grants announced by OII’s Assistant Deputy Secretary Jim Shelton on behalf of the Obama Administration are also embracing the focused commitment to early learning. “Education is the one true path to opportunity and the American Dream,” Shelton noted following the December 19th announcement in Minneapolis, and “the tremendous interest in early learning among Promise Neighborhoods is a testament to the recognition that the path begins in a student’s earliest years.”
(December 19, 2011) Senior officials from the Obama Administration announced today that five organizations will receive the first round of Promise Neighborhoods implementation grants, and another 15 organizations will receive a second round of planning grants. Grantees, comprised of nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education and an Indian tribe, will put school improvement at the center of local efforts to revitalize underserved neighborhoods.
In July, OII staff from Promise Neighborhoods participated in the Neighborhood Revitalization Conference, hosted by the United Neighborhood Centers of America. The conference featured the release of Building Neighborhoods of Opportunity, a report from the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which highlights key lessons from organizations that are revitalizing neighborhoods across the country.
Education reform leaders gathered in New Orleans last month for a one-day National Charter School Resource Center (Resource Center) conference titled “Transforming Urban Public Education: Exploring the Potential of City-Based Strategies.” The conference focused on building charter school support infrastructures that effectively coordinate stakeholders’ activities, drive growth in high-quality charter schools, and foster the policy environment that facilitates the work.
Schools do not operate in total isolation from the communities in which they are located. Recognizing this, the Department of Education in conjunction with the Coalition for Community Schools held a national policy discussion in February to share the experiences of Community schools.