Virginia Elementary School Invokes Code to Fight Bullying

“Red, Green, Black, and Blue. 

My Tribe is my Crew. 

We are O-C-C-O-Q-U-A-N! 

My school is the perfect 10…at The ‘O’!” 

These are words from one of the cheers we recite when we welcome new students to our school. At Occoquan Elementary School in Woodbridge, Virginia, we have a House System that fosters our sense of community. This is a common practice where the school is divided into subunits called “houses” and each student is allocated to one house at the moment of enrollment.  We compete to see who has the most spirit, but we also strive to uphold a code of behavior we call The 30 Essentials

Read More

Dominican University: Serving Latine Students in the Midwest

Dominican University: Serving Latine Students In The Midwest

By: Verónica Gutiérrez, MBA’22, Dominican University, River Forest IL and Marcela Reales Visbal, Activity Director for Title V, Part B – Promoting Post-Baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans, Dominican University, River Forest IL

“I had never heard of the term HSI until I came to Dominican University”, said Verónica Gutiérrez, a first-generation Latina who grew up in one of Chicago’s northwestern suburbs and recently graduated with her Master’s in Business Administration from Dominican.

Read More

Colleges Have a Responsibility to Protect Students’ Best Financial Interests

Colleges have a responsibility to protect students' best financial interests

Students look to their college as a trusted source of information as they determine how to pay for tuition, housing, books, and other basic needs. In today’s environment, students are facing additional financial challenges coinciding with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising interest rates, and inflation. Each year, millions of students look to their college when receiving federal financial aid and may receive information about financial banking products, debit cards, and deposit accounts.

Read More

Resources for Communities Following Natural Disasters

Resources for communities following natural disasters

Recent natural disasters have significantly impacted communities and their education institutions. Since 2017, there have been over 300 presidentially declared major disasters across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Outlying Areas. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) closely follows the impacts of natural disasters on students, educators, staff, families, and others. Schools are a critical aspect of whole community recovery and provide education, nutrition, physical fitness, mental health counseling, and other resources to students and their families during day-to-day operations. When schools close after a natural disaster, it is critical that these resources remain available to the community and that schools are reopened and operating as soon as possible. In 2018, to better assist schools in dealing with impacts of natural disasters, ED’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education formed a Disaster Recovery Unit (DRU) with the goal of increasing resources dedicated to K-12 schools disaster recovery efforts. ED’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) office and Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) offer support to postsecondary schools.

Read More

Recursos para comunidades después de desastres naturales

Recursos Para Comunidades Despues De Desastres Naturales

Los recientes desastres naturales han impactado significativamente a las comunidades y sus instituciones educativas. Desde 2017, ha habido más de 300 desastres importantes declarados por el presidente en los 50 estados, Puerto Rico y las áreas periféricas de EE. UU. El Departamento de Educación de EE. UU. (ED) sigue de cerca los impactos de los desastres naturales en los estudiantes, educadores, personal, familias y otros. Las escuelas son un aspecto crítico de la recuperación de toda la comunidad y brindan educación, nutrición, aptitud física, asesoramiento sobre salud mental y otros recursos a los estudiantes y sus familias durante las operaciones diarias. Cuando las escuelas cierran después de un desastre natural, es fundamental que estos recursos permanezcan disponibles para la comunidad y que las escuelas vuelvan a abrir y funcionen lo antes posible. En 2018, para ayudar mejor a las escuelas a lidiar con los impactos de los desastres naturales, la Oficina de Educación Primaria y Secundaria del ED formó una Unidad de Recuperación de Desastres (DRU) con el objetivo de aumentar los recursos dedicados a los esfuerzos de recuperación de desastres de las escuelas K-12. La oficina de Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes (FSA) y la Oficina de Educación Postsecundaria (OPE) del ED ofrecen apoyo a las escuelas postsecundarias.

ED ha seleccionado recursos, incluyendo los recursos de otras agencias y organizaciones federales, para restaurar el entorno de enseñanza y aprendizaje, en Recursos para Desastres Naturales | Departamento de Educación de los Estados Unidos. A continuación, se muestran algunos ejemplos de recursos útiles.

Recursos de ED para comunidades K-12 después de desastres naturales:

Recursos de ED para comunidades de educación superior después de desastres naturales:

  • La Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes (FSA, por sus siglas en inglés) proporciona alcance y apoyo a las instituciones elegibles del Título IV nacionales y extranjeras y a las partes interesadas de la comunidad escolar a raíz de y en respuesta a desastres naturales que van desde tornados, incendios forestales, inundaciones, huracanes, tsunamis y terremotos. FSA colabora a través de ED para llegar al liderazgo de las escuelas en las regiones afectadas y ofrecer recordatorios e información clave sobre los recursos especiales disponibles para las instituciones afectadas por desastres. La orientación actual de la Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes sobre las áreas afectadas por desastres para las instituciones participantes del Título IV se puede seguir encontrando en el Centro de conocimiento en https://fsapartners.ed.gov/knowledge-center/topics/natural-disaster-information.
  • La Oficina de Educación Postsecundaria brinda asistencia técnica y apoyo a los beneficiarios que necesitan ajustar actividades y presupuestos como resultado de desastres naturales. La información de contacto del personal con respecto a las subvenciones se puede encontrar en https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/contacts.html.
  • La Unidad de Respuesta a Emergencias dentro de la Oficina de Educación Postsecundaria administra el Fondo de Ayuda de Emergencia para la Educación Superior (HEERF). Las subvenciones HEERF deben usarse para prevenir, prepararse o responder a la pandemia. Las instituciones pueden usar HEERF para proporcionar subvenciones de ayuda financiera de emergencia directamente a los estudiantes, que pueden usarse para cualquier componente de su costo de asistencia o para los costos de emergencia que surjan, incluidos alojamiento y comida. Los estudiantes que reciben subvenciones de ayuda financiera de emergencia HEERF deben priorizarse en función de la necesidad excepcional, que puede incluir necesidades que surgieron como resultado de los huracanes recientes. Las instituciones deben documentar cuidadosamente cómo determinan la necesidad excepcional. Las instituciones no pueden dirigir o controlar en qué usan los estudiantes sus subvenciones de ayuda financiera de emergencia, ya que los fondos deben proporcionarse directamente a los estudiantes. Consulte https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/arpfaq.pdf. Para preguntas adicionales, comuníquese con la Unidad de Respuesta a Emergencias en HEERF@ed.gov

Recursos de ED para prekínder hasta educación superior después de desastres naturales: Centro de asistencia técnica (TA) de preparación y manejo de emergencias para escuelas (REMS): apoya a las agencias educativas, con sus socios comunitarios, a administrar programas de manejo de seguridad y emergencias. El Centro REMS TA ayuda a desarrollar la capacidad de preparación (incluidos los esfuerzos de prevención, protección, mitigación, respuesta y recuperación) de las escuelas, los distritos escolares, las instituciones de educación superior y sus socios comunitarios a nivel local, estatal y federal. REMS TA Center también sirve como fuente principal de difusión de información para escuelas, distritos e IHE para emergencias.

Proyecto de Respuesta de Emergencia Escolar a la Violencia (Proyecto SERV): El programa proporciona financiamiento inmediato a corto plazo para distritos e IHE que han experimentado un incidente violento o traumático para ayudar a restaurar un entorno seguro propicio para el aprendizaje. A discreción del secretario de Educación, se pueden identificar los montos de financiamiento y los períodos del proyecto (sujeto a la disponibilidad de asignaciones) para reflejar el alcance del incidente y las posibles necesidades de recuperación. El proceso de solicitud está destinado a no ser oneroso. Los fondos para las asignaciones del Proyecto SERV suelen oscilar entre $ 50,000 y $ 150,000.

Otros recursos de agencias federales y organizaciones nacionales después de desastres naturales:

Tenga en cuenta: estos enlaces representan algunos ejemplos de los numerosos materiales de referencia actualmente disponibles para el público. La inclusión de recursos no debe interpretarse como una aprobación por parte del Departamento de Educación de los EE. UU. de ninguna organización privada o empresa mencionada en este documento.

On the Heels of the Road to Success Bus Tour, ED and FCC Highlight the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) in North Carolina

On The Heels Of The Road To Success Bus Tour, ED & FCC Highlight The  Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) In North Carolina

By: Lauren Mendoza, Deputy Assistant Secretary for State and Local Outreach, Office of Communication and Outreach

Recently, representatives of the Department of Education (ED) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) visited Charlotte and Durham, North Carolina for conversations on partnerships between schools and community-based organizations to implement the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). ACP, which was established in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provides eligible households discounts of up to $30 per month on internet service and a one-time $100 discount for a connected device. These conversations, which followed the Road to Success Back to School Bus Tour stop in Greensboro, NC, highlighted the impact of ACP and community-led efforts in removing broadband affordability and adoption barriers, allowing more students and families to benefit from transformative learning opportunities empowered through technology. 

Read More

Shining a Light on Inspiring School Employees for a Third Year

Shining A Light On Inspiring School Employees For A Third Year

By: Frances W. Hopkins

We are now in Year 3 of the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award, by which the U.S. Department of Education (ED) honors classified school employees. Candidates include individuals who work in schools as: paraprofessionals and in clerical and administrative services, transportation services, food and nutrition services, custodial and maintenance services, security services, health and student services, technical services, and skilled trades. 

Read More

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month 

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: Prioritizing Student Mental Health In Higher Education

By: Heather Ward, Special Assistant, Office of Postsecondary Education 

If you need suicide or mental health-related crisis support, or are worried about someone else, please call or text 988 or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s chat to connect with a trained crisis counselor. 

As U.S. Department of Education officials have traveled the country visiting institutions of higher education and talking with students, a constant theme is mental health and the growing crisis facing our nation. In conversations, the Department has heard from students about losing peers to suicide and the effect these tragedies have had on them personally.  

Read More

Hispanic Heritage Month: “La Historia De Mi Gente”

Hispanic Heritage Month: "La Historia De Mi Gente"

By: Amanda Zepeda

My first teachers were my parents. Both grew up in immigrant households in the vibrant city of Los Angeles. They were Chicano latch-key-kids of the 1970s. My father began working at a young age, supplementing the family’s income with a paper route before school and gardening work with my grandfather on the weekend. My mother loved reading and writing. She was always naturally good with numbers and words, which made her stand out in her classes. Both were quick-witted and capable, and yet neither of them were particularly pushed by their parents academically. As a defiant reaction to this, my parents made it a point to repeat phrases such as “Appreciate what you have”, “Pay attention in school”, and “You’re going to college!”. They made it their mission to ‘break the cycle’ and give us what they had not been given. 

Read More

How to Become a National Blue Ribbon School

How To Become A National Blue Ribbon School

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that “great schools don’t happen by chance. Great schools happen by design.” It takes hard work & dedication at all levels of a school community – from students, teachers, staff, administrators, & families – to make a school truly shine.

Today, we honor 297 schools for their exemplary teaching & learning with our 2022 National Blue Ribbon School (NBRS) awards. Since 1982, ED has bestowed about 10,000 NBRS awards to over 9,000 schools across the nation, honoring the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities to create safe & welcoming schools where students master challenging content.  

As we celebrate our 2022 honorees, here’s a bit more about the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program & how schools earn their awards:

Which schools are honored?

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public & private elementary, middle, and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.

National Blue Ribbon Schools represent the full diversity of American schools: public schools (including Title I, magnet, choice, and charter schools), and non-public schools (parochial and independent schools). They are urban, suburban, and rural, large and small, traditional and experimental, and serve students of every social, economic, and ethnic background.

How are schools nominated?

The Chief State School Officers from the 50 states, US territories, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) & the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) nominate public schools. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates up to 50 non-public schools, including parochial & independent schools. States are allocated nomination slots based on K-12 students & schools in each state. At least one-third of public schools nominated by each state must have student populations comprising high percentages of disadvantaged populations.

Once ED validates the nominations, invitations are sent to the schools to apply for the award. Nominated schools complete an extensive narrative application describing their:

  • School culture & philosophy
  • Curriculum, assessments, & instructional practices
  • Professional development & leadership structures
  • Parent & community involvement
  • Ways the school has encouraged & challenged all students to develop their full potential academically, emotionally, physically, socially, & culturally

In what categories are schools recognized?

Schools are nominated & recognized in one of two categories based on student performance on state assessments & high school graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are schools with the highest achieving students (the top 15%) in English and mathematics on state assessments and the highest high school graduation rates.  Additionally, the achievement scores of all students tested in any subgroup in the most recent year must be in the top 40 percent of all schools in the state in performance ranking.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are schools that have made the greatest advances (top 15%) in closing the achievement gaps of at least one student subgroup in English and mathematics over the past three to five years on state assessments. High school graduation rates for the student subgroup(s) must also be in the top 40 percent.

Why are the National Blue Ribbon School awards important?

The National Blue Ribbon School awards acknowledge and validate the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in striving for—and attaining—exemplary achievement. National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models of effective school practices for state and district educators and other schools throughout the nation. The NBRS flag gracing a school’s entryway or flying over campus is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.