As part of the U.S. Department of Education’s third annual back-to-school bus tour, on Thursday, Sept. 20, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other senior Department officials will visit schools in Charleston and McDowell County, W.Va., where they will meet with educators and stakeholders for discussions on early learning, school turnaround efforts, and community-building partnerships.
“America’s future is directly linked to the quality of education that we provide our children, young people and adults,” Secretary Duncan said. “It is the key to a vibrant middle class, strong national security and our global economic competitiveness. This bus tour is an opportunity to highlight what’s working and create momentum for education reforms that improve the lives of all students.”
Secretary Duncan and his leadership team are crisscrossing the country from Sept. 12-21 for a series of events that highlight the theme that Education Drives America. Besides Charleston and McDowell County, some of the other stops include: Las Vegas, Nev.; Salt Lake City; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Denver, Colorado Springs, and Limon, Colo.; Emporia, Kan.; St. Louis; Mt. Vernon, Ill.; Evansville, Ind.; Lexington, Ky.; and Richmond, Va.
Secretary Duncan will spend his time in Charleston at Elk Elementary Center, where he will participate in a roundtable with local and state early learning stakeholders.
In McDowell County, Secretary Duncan will engage in a panel discussion at Mount View High School with community members and stakeholders. Participants will discuss how to build public-private partnerships to support educational improvement as the path to a brighter economic future. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, will join the Secretary for both events. Mount View is one of 20 schools in West Virginia that has received a part of $28.5 million in School Improvement Grants (SIG) awarded to the state by the Education Department during the past three years to turn around schools and improve student achievement.
Prior to Secretary Duncan’s arrival at Mount View High School, John White, deputy assistant secretary for rural outreach, will hold a pair of roundtable discussions with McDowell County public school students and teachers. The dialogue will focus on student leadership in school turnarounds and the Obama Administration’s RESPECT (Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching) initiative, which aims to elevate the teaching profession.
Also on Sept. 20, Jason Snyder, deputy assistant secretary for policy in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, will visit Sandy River Middle School in Avondale, W.Va., and lead a roundtable discussion on the school’s turnaround efforts. This school also receives support through the Department’s SIG program.
Finally, Jacqueline Jones, deputy assistant secretary for policy and early learning, and Melody Musgrove, director of the Office of Special Education Programs, will meet with state and local officials in Charleston to discuss early learning initiatives in West Virginia.
More specific details about the bus tour events in West Virginia will become available as the events draw closer. For live, up-to-the-minute updates from the road, follow the Education Drives America tour on Twitter using the hashtag #edtour12, or visit the Department’s bus tour blog. To receive media advisories, press releases, notifications about postings to the blog, and other special updates during the tour, subscribe to the Department’s Education Drives America e-mail updates by clicking here.