As part of the U.S. Department of Education’s third annual back-to-school bus tour, top federal education officials will visit Salt Lake City for events that will highlight education successes and promote the theme, “Education Drives America.” U.S. Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter, U.S. Education Department Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss, and a host of other senior officials will participate in events from Wednesday, Sept. 12 through Friday, Sept.14 in the Salt Lake area.
“We are looking forward to visiting with Salt Lake City's students, K-12 teachers, parents, community leaders, professors, and education officials to engage in conversations about school reform, college affordability, and the link between education and jobs,” Kanter said. “Our nation's future is ever-more dependent on the quality of educational opportunities that we provide for all Americans.”
The centerpiece of the time that Kanter and Weiss spend in Utah will be a classroom tour and roundtable discussion on school improvement, to be held on Thursday, Sept. 13, at Glendale Middle School in Salt Lake City. There, they will be joined by Lily Eskelsen, vice president of the National Education Association (NEA), where they will talk with school officials, teachers, and students.
Glendale is one of 14 schools in Utah that have received funding under the $23.1 million in School Improvement Grants (SIG) awarded to the state by the Education Department to turn around schools and improve student achievement over the past three years. Entering the final year of intervention through SIG, Glendale’s turnaround efforts also have been supported by the NEA through its Priority Schools initiative.
In addition to the Glendale tour and roundtable discussion, Education Department senior officials will travel across Salt Lake from Wednesday, Sept. 12 through Friday, Sept. 14 for a number of events outlined below: (Note: Exact times and locations will be announced soon.)
Wednesday, Sept. 12
- David Bergeron, acting assistant secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education, will hold a roundtable discussion on college access and affordability at Westminster College in Salt Lake.
- Brenda Girton-Mitchell, director of the U.S. Education Department’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will take part in a Face to Faith video conference session, featuring students at Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, who participate in the Tony Blair Foundation-sponsored program, sharing a lesson with students in Manila.
Thursday, Sept. 13
- Kanter and Weiss will host a roundtable discussion with students and educators on teacher preparation and education technology at Brigham Young University at Provo.
- Kanter; Bergeron; and Melody Musgrove, director of the Office of Special Education Programs, will hold a roundtable discussion with teacher candidates at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
- Bergeron also will hold a roundtable discussion on college access and affordability at the University of Utah.
- Greg Darnieder, senior adviser on the College Access Initiative, will visit Granite Park Junior High and Jackson Elementary schools, stressing the importance and accessibility of a college education. He will talk with students involved in the leadership group, Latinos in Action, at Granite Park and the college awareness and preparation program, Adelante, at Jackson Elementary.
- U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Jason Snyder will visit two Salt Lake area schools that are implementing a school turnaround model through School Improvement Grants (SIG) from the U.S. Department of Education. In roundtables at Granger High School in West Valley City and Horizonte Instruction and Training Center in Salt Lake, students, parents, teachers, and school and district leaders will discuss lessons learned and promising practices regarding the school turnaround experience.
- Weiss, and Richard Culatta, deputy director office of educational technology, will join State Superintendent of Schools Larry Shumway to kick off a forum on educational technology and personalizing learning at the Salt Lake Community College Miller Center. Local teachers and technology leaders will lead a series of rapid-fire presentations about digital learning in Utah.
Friday, Sept. 14
- Bergeron will meet with veterans at Salt Lake Community College’s Westpointe Center campus to learn first-hand about their concerns, issues and needs in terms of entering, persisting and finishing postsecondary education.
- Bergeron will host a roundtable discussion on college access and completion for students at Salt Lake Community College’s Taylorsville campus.
The bus tour will begin next week in Redwood City, Calif., and conclude on the evening of Sept. 21 at Department of Education headquarters in Washington, D.C. Besides Salt Lake, some of the other stops include Sacramento, Calif.; Reno, Nev.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Denver; Topeka, Kan.; Kansas City, Mo.; St. Louis; Evansville, Ind.; Lexington, Ky.; Charleston, W.Va.; Roanoke, Va.; Richmond, Va.; and Washington, D.C.
“In the past three years, I’ve traveled to 47 states, visited hundreds of schools and met with thousands of teachers, parents, and students who are finding new and innovative ways to teach and learn,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “This bus tour is an opportunity to highlight what’s working and create momentum for education reforms that improve the lives of all students.”
More specific details about the bus tour stop in Salt Lake City will become available as the time for the events draws 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.