Superintendent Monthly: March 2011

Superintendent Monthly: March 2011

MARCH 2011

Message from Dr. Meléndez

I'm pleased to introduce to you a new member of OESE's leadership staff, who joined us just last week our new Director of Impact Aid Programs, Alfred Lott. Mr. Lott joins the Department most recently from the City of Albany in Georgia, where he served as the City Manager. Previously, he served as the Public Works Director for the City of Takoma Park and the Assistant City Manager for College Park in Maryland. Mr. Lott is a veteran and will bring that experience to the task of assisting local school districts that have lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt Federal property, or that have experienced increased expenditures due to the enrollment of federally connected children (i.e., children who have one or more parent serving in the military), including children living on Indian lands.  I'm excited to have him on board and I know he is very much looking forward to working with you.

I also wanted to remind you about our next Superintendent Call on April 19, which will focus on the topics of productivity and flexibility. More information on the conference call is below — I urge you to RSVP today for this important conversation with your colleagues.

Education Month

President Obama Highlights Schools and Education across the Country

March, designated as "Education Month" by the White House, saw President Obama highlighting schools that demonstrate the impact of reforms at the state and local level, the importance of shared responsibility in education, and, most importantly, the goal of achieving results.  The President's first education visit was to Florida’s Miami Central High School, where he commended the school community for coming together and carrying out the difficult reforms necessary to turn around a low-performing school.  The President was joined by Secretary Duncan, former Governor Jeb Bush, and Assistant Secretary Dr. Meléndez. During the visit, both the President and Secretary Duncan made clear that they were impressed with the district's progress and work with school turnarounds. OESE had highlighted the Miami district and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho's work during the February Superintendent Call.

Next, at Massachusetts’ TechBoston Academy, along with the Secretary and Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the President discussed the shared responsibility and positive results of public and private sectors in the education of America’s children. Most recently, the President spoke at Kenmore Middle School in northern Virginia, where he articulated key priorities for reforming No Child Left Behind that will enable “us to win the future and prepare our students to out-educate and out-compete the world in the 21st century economy.”  He praised current efforts by Congressional leaders to replace the law and urged lawmakers to make these vital changes before the start of the next school year.

On March 28, the President will speak at an education-focused town hall, hosted by Univision, which will bring together students, parents, and teachers to discuss education and Hispanic educational attainment. The town hall is part of Univision's "Es el Momento" (The Moment is Now) initiative focused on creating a college-bound culture in the Hispanic community.

ESEA Reauthorization

Secretary Duncan Testifies on Capitol Hill

On March 9, Secretary Duncan testified before the House Education and the Workforce Committee on the President’s education agenda.  “No Child Left Behind is fundamentally broken, and we need to fix it this year,” he stated.  “It has created dozens of ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed.  We should get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair, flexible, and focused on the schools and students most at risk.”  No Child Left Behind requires all schools to meet annual targets -- Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) -- aimed at making all students 100% proficient in language arts and math by 2014.  The Administration’s Blueprint for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act recognizes and rewards high-poverty schools and school districts that show improvement based on progress and growth.  States and districts would have to identify and intervene in schools that persistently fail to narrow achievement gaps.  For schools making modest gains, states and districts would have more flexibility to determine improvement and support outcomes.  Learn more:

School Turnarounds

Register Now! SIG Regional Conferences

OESE, in partnership with our Comprehensive Centers, will host a series of regional capacity building conferences in support of states, districts, and schools implementing the School Improvement Grants (SIG). Four conferences are planned — Eastern and Western regional conferences for all SIG grantees in those regions and two regional conferences focused on specific segments of SIG grantees: high schools and rural schools (including schools serving Native American populations). The Western and Eastern conferences will include school turnaround presentations applicable to all SIG grantees as well as special sessions on rural and high school turnaround. The themed conferences in the Midwest and Central regions will provide some general sessions but will primarily focus on the conference themes of high school and rural school turnaround.


SIG Funds Awarded

Eight states have been approved to receive fiscal 2010 funding to turn around their persistently lowest-achieving schools, under the SIG program.  Learn more:

Diverse Populations

Urban Tribal Consultations

OESE and the U.S. Department of Education are holding several Listening and Learning sessions in urban Indian communities in Spring 2011. The first urban Indian Listening and Learning session with Indian community and tribal leaders and Native student-serving representatives was held on Friday, March 4, 2011, at the Denver Indian Center in Denver, CO. Additional Listening and Learning sessions will be held in Los Angeles, CA; Stockton, CA; and Green Bay, WI. These Listening and Learning sessions in urban Indian communities are a follow-up to a series of 2010 tribal leader consultations that were conducted in Anchorage, AK; Albuquerque, NM; Shawnee, OK; Pine Ridge, SD; Window Rock, AZ; and Puyallup, WA. Learn more:

Grant Information - New Programs Added!

Alaska Native Education Equity

The overall purpose is to meet the unique education needs of Alaska Natives and to support supplemental education programs to benefit Alaska Natives.
Deadline to Apply: April 1, 2011
Type of Grant: Discretionary/Competitive
Who May Apply: Public and private nonprofit organizations, agencies, and institutions, including states, districts, and institutes of higher education.
Learn More:

Teaching American History

The program is designed to raise student achievement by improving teachers' knowledge and understanding of and appreciation for traditional U.S. history.
Deadline to Apply: April 4, 2011
Type of Grant: Discretionary/Competitive
Who May Apply: Districts in partnership with institutes of higher education, non-profit history or humanities organizations, and libraries and museums.
Learn More:

Native Hawaiian Education Program
The purpose of the Native Hawaiian Education (NHE) program is to support innovative projects that enhance the educational services provided to Native Hawaiian children and adults.
Deadline to Apply: April 11, 2011
Type of Grant: Discretionary/Competitive
Who May Apply: Public and private nonprofit organizations, agencies, and institutions, including states, districts, and institutes of higher education.
Learn More:

Equity Assistance Centers

Equity Assistance Centers are funded by the Department to provide technical assistance and training, upon request, in the areas of race, sex, and national origin to public school districts and other responsible governmental agencies to promote equitable education opportunities.
Deadline to Apply: April 25, 2011
Type of Grant: Discretionary/Competitive
Who May Apply: Nonprofit organizations, other organizations and/or agencies
Learn More:

Striving Readers

The purpose of the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) discretionary grants is to create a comprehensive literacy program to advance literacy skills — including pre-literacy skills, reading, and writing — for students from birth through grade 12, including limited-English-proficient students and students with disabilities.
Deadline to Apply: May 9, 2011
Type of Grant: Discretionary/Competitive
Who May Apply: States that apply on behalf of itself and one or more districts (may include charter schools) that have governing authority over the eligible schools that the applicant proposes to include in the project.
Learn More:

Advanced Placement Incentive Program

This program provides grants to eligible entities to enable them to increase the participation of low-income students in both pre-AP and AP courses and tests.
Deadline to Apply: May 16, 2011
Type of Grant: Discretionary/Competitive
Who May Apply: Districts, nonprofit organizations, and states
Learn More:

Department of Education Updates

International Teaching Summit

Last week in New York City, Secretary Duncan joined ministers, teachers, and union leaders from high-performing and rapidly-improving educational systems around the world for the International Summit on the Teaching Profession.  The event aimed to identify and elaborate on best practices for recruiting, preparing, and supporting teachers in ways that enhance the profession and elevate student performance.  Foreign delegations held sessions on teacher recruitment and preparation; development, support, and retention of teachers; teacher evaluation and compensation; and teacher engagement in education reform.  In the following weeks, the Asia Society will lead host organizations in preparing and publishing a paper outlining summit discussions and emerging lessons on how to strengthen the teaching profession.  Learn more:

Upcoming Events

RSVP Today for our April 19 Superintendent Call

The topic of our conversation will be based on a set of documents recently released by the Department on productivity and flexibility. The documents are geared towards State leaders and share promising practices about how to spend education dollars productively and highlighting flexibility available for spending federal funds. You can find the press release and the documents here:

DATE and TIME: Monday, April 19, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST
CALL IN #: 800-857-6260
PASSCODE: 2716407
RSVP: Please reply to this message (or by COB Monday, April 18, if you or a designated representative will be able to join the call.

NOTE: In order to accommodate a large number of participants, please only use one line per office.  Also, please call-in 10-15 minutes early.  A more detailed agenda will be sent to conference participants closer to the date of the call.

2011 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut

The violent earthquake in Japan is a stark reminder for American schools that earthquake preparedness is important.  The 2011 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is an earthquake drill that will take place on April 28 at 10:15 a.m. in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee.  Indiana will ShakeOut, at the same time, on April 19.  Over 1.1 million participants, across 766 schools and districts and 43 colleges and universities, have registered.  Seven million Californians participated in 2009’s Great California ShakeOut, practicing “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” and other aspects of family, school, and organizational emergency plans, and the ShakeOut is now spreading to other areas.  Learn more:

Copyright © 2011 U.S. Department of Education, All rights reserved.

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