Secretary Duncan and Department Staff to Engage with Teachers During Week-long Celebration of the Teaching Profession

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Secretary Duncan and Department Staff to Engage with Teachers During Week-long Celebration of the Teaching Profession

May 4, 2012

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Department staff will celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week with an array of events and outreach.

“Teacher Appreciation Week is an opportunity to share the praise and appreciation that teachers deserve every day,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “But it is even more important to go one step further and use this week as a chance to learn more from teachers about how we can make teaching not only one of America’s most important professions but also one of America's most valued professions.”

On Monday morning, Duncan will welcome more than 80 faculty and teaching fellows from the South Carolina Universities participating in the South Carolina Teaching Fellows program for a RESPECT conversation. The group will offer insight and input to help shape the proposed $5 billion competitive program first announced in February. The convening is one of 100 RESPECT conversations with more than 1,500 educators held by the Teaching Ambassador Fellows, a group of 16 active classroom teachers working temporarily for the U.S. Department of Education.

Following the conversation, Duncan will gather dozens of Department staff members who previously taught to hold a discussion session highlighting how their experience as teachers has impacted their work at the Department and celebrating their work in the classroom.

On Tuesday, Duncan will join National Education Association (NEA) President Dennis Van Roekel for a Teacher Hall of Fame reception at the NEA headquarters. The National Teachers Hall of Fame, located in Emporia, Kansas, is an organization that spotlights the vital role education plays in our nation by identifying, documenting and displaying the accomplishments of exceptional career teachers. Since 1992, the Hall of Fame has held annual induction ceremonies for new honorees selected by a national committee.

On Wednesday, over 30 U.S. Department of Education staff will “go back to school” to shadow teachers in the DC area and across the country. The shadowing visits will offer Department staff an inside look at teachers’ day-to-day work while also giving teachers the opportunity to discuss how federal policy, programs, and resources play a role in their classrooms. Duncan will also invite teachers being shadowed and their shadowers to a discussion later that day so the group can debrief and reflect on the experience.

That evening, Duncan will attend Teach for America's 2nd Annual Gala, which will highlight stories of inspiration and work underway to support students in low-income communities.

Throughout the week, the Department will encourage parents, students, principals, teachers and the general public to join a national conversation around Teacher Appreciation Week as well as share updates on the Department’s week-long activities to show thanks and support for the teaching profession via the Twitter hashtag #thankateacher. Additional activities and outreach will also be promoted on the Department’s blog at