Superintendent Monthly: December 2010

Superintendent Monthly

DECEMBER 2010

Message from Dr. Meléndez

Dear Superintendents:
 
Dr. Melendez speaks with a parent.This monthly newsletter will provide updates from the Department and from the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.  We hope this information keeps you abreast of our initiatives on a regular basis and is helpful to your work.  We also encourage feedback, and we’d love to hear your ideas!  Please email me at AskDrT@ed.gov with your thoughts or questions.

I also want to make sure you take note of upcoming events, listed at the bottom of this email.  In addition to monthly newsletters, OESE, in partnership with our Intergovernmental Affairs team, will host regular Superintendent calls on informative topics.  I’m excited to announce that we will hold our first call on February 7, with Secretary Arne Duncan joining us for an opening Q&A session.  The call will also feature the district school turnaround efforts of Miami-Dade Public Schools, with district leaders as guest speakers. Please watch for a separate invitation in your inboxes soon!

Finally, I wish all of you a very happy holiday season.  It’s been a pleasure to work with you and get to know so many more of you this year, and I look forward to working with all of you in the coming year.



School Turnarounds and Secondary School Reform

Grad Nation Report
According to a recent report released by America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, and Johns Hopkins University’s Everyone Graduates Center, the U.S. is making significant progress in reducing the number of students who drop out of high school.  The Department of Education is already investing heavily in turning around our lowest performing schools through our School Improvement Grants – and a significant amount of this money is going to our high schools.  According to our latest data, 730 schools are currently undergoing school turnarounds, and 48 percent of those schools are high schools. Learn more by reading our press release here: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/highest-percentage-turnaround-funds-are-going-high-schools.



Diverse Learners

OESE Continues to Lead on Interagency Work to End Homelessness
Led by Dr. Meléndez, Deputy Assistant Secretary Dr. Carl E. Harris, and other senior staff in OESE, the Department of Education has been an active member in the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.  Together, the Council has developed a Federal Strategic Plan to End Homelessness.  Our task now at ED is to help implement this Federal Strategic Plan in coordination with the other agencies involved.  We will continue to share more infor
NACIE Membersmation on the interagency work in the months ahead.

NACIE Members Sworn In
On November 3, OESE helped swear in the newest members of the presidentially-appointed National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE).  For more information and additional photos, visit http://www.ed.gov/oese-news/nacie-brings-new-voices-national-conversation-indian-education.  For the full list of NACIE members, please visit http://www2.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/nacie.html.



Grant Information

Migrant Education Grant Applications Open
Migrant Education’s High School Equivalency Program (HEP) and College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) grant competitions are open through January 19, 2010.

Type of Grant: Discretionary/Competitive
Who May Apply: Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs), Nonprofit Organizations

Learn more about the program requirements and applications for HEP at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/hep/applicant.html and for CAMP at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/camp/applicant.html.



OESE News

Get More Updates on OESE’s Newly Launched Blog!
OESE has a new blog featuring program updates, upcoming events, and other news directly from Assistant Secretary Dr. Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana.  Visit http://www.ed.gov/oese-news weekly to stay up-to-date on what’s happening at OESE and at the Department of Education.

Updates to ED Data Express
Since the summer launch of ED Data Express, a tool for sharing state-level K-12 data, the Department of Education has added new data to the site through monthly uploads.  In early October, the agency added disaggregated graduation rates, science assessment data, and high school assessment data.  In early November, the agency added data on the Title III (English Learners) program.  The next data update (migrant student data) is scheduled for this month.  Updates will continue throughout the next year to provide further access to different types of state-level K-12 data.  To access ED Data Express, visit http://www.eddataexpress.ed.gov/.



Department of Education Updates

New Research Priorities
On November 1, the National Board for Education Sciences unanimously approved new research priorities for the Department’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES).  These new priorities place greater emphasis on putting research findings into context; IES has also set as a priority for identifying new and rigorous methods to measure outcomes in education research and building partnerships with educators and the community to develop greater “analytic capacity” at the local level.  These priorities will be used to craft requests for proposals for new grant competitions in January. Learn more at http://ies.ed.gov/director/board/priorities.asp.

Child Nutrition Legislation
President Obama has signed into law new legislation that will make historic and urgent improvements to the nation’s federal child nutrition programs.  The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act improves the quality of meals children eat in school and in child care, increases the number of healthy meals available to children in need, and provides the first real increase in the federal reimbursement rate for school lunches in more than 30 years.  It also eliminates junk food from schools by requiring schools to apply -- for the first time -- nutritional standards to food served outside the cafeteria.  Learn more at http://edlabor.house.gov/blog/2010/11/healthy-hunger-free-kids-act-o.shtml.  Read Secretary Duncan’s statement on the legislation here: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/statement-us-secretary-education-duncan-passage-childhood-nutrition-bill.


Upcoming Events & Opportunities

WebinarSave the Date! February 7 Webinar with Secretary Arne Duncan, Assistant Secretary Dr. Meléndez, and Leaders from Miami-Dade County Public Schools
On February 7, 2011, OESE and the Department of Education will host a webinar, with an opening Q&A session with Secretary Duncan and a session on school turnarounds featuring district leaders from Miami-Dade County Public Schools.  More details will be forthcoming in a separate invitation, but please save the date!

Teaching Ambassador Fellowship
Applications are now available for the Department’s 2011-12 Teaching Ambassador Fellowship, offering highly motivated and innovative school teachers the opportunity to contribute their knowledge and experience to the national dialogue on education.  Once again, the fellowship includes two tracks.  Up to five Washington Fellows will become full-time federal employees for one year in Washington, D.C., participating in policy discussions and working on education programs.  Up to 10 Classroom Fellows will remain at their local schools under their regular teaching contracts and be paid for various assignments and projects throughout the school year on a part-time basis.  Applications are due by January 17, 2011.  Learn more at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/teacherfellowship/.

Nominate a teacher for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is the highest honor a K-12 math or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the U.S.  The President officially names up to 108 teachers annually.  Awards alternate between elementary and secondary teachers -- with secondary teachers eligible in 2011 -- and are given to teachers from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the outlying territories, and the Department of Defense schools.  The deadline for nominations is April 1, 2011. Learn more at http://www.paemst.org/controllers/home.cfc?method=view.


Tuition-free Summer Programs for Teachers
The National Endowment for the Humanities supports tuition-free summer programs in the U.S. and abroad for American school teachers; community college, college, and university faculty; and a number of graduate students.  Participants receive stipends to help cover travel and living expenses.  The deadline for all applications for 2011 Summer Seminars and Institutes and 2011 Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops is March 1, 2011.  Learn more at http://www.neh.gov/projects/summer11.html.



Please contact Dr. Meléndez at askdrt@ed.gov with any questions or comments.
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