Sustainable School Successes in the “Show-Me” State

Imagine asking a group of urban students how they upcycle. I assumed I would get answers such as, ‘We keep scrap paper and use it for other projects’ or ’We reuse cardboard paper towel inserts for various projects in our classes’. However, after participating in this year’s “Living School Grounds” 2018 Green Strides Tour in St. Louis, Missouri and seeing the innovative efforts of nine unique schools, I have a new understanding of what it means to be green.

Each of the schools we visited on the 2018 Green Strides Tour demonstrated progress in the three Pillars of ED-GRS: 1) sustainable facilities and grounds, 2) health and wellness and 3) environmental and sustainability learning. These award Pillars are excellent areas to tackle if our overarching aims are to advance student and community engagement; reduce school operating costs and improve health.

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#RethinkSchool: Military Family Finds Homeschooling to be Just the Right Fit

When asked to share their thoughts on the benefits of school choice and their homeschool experience, this military family did what they do every day: they turned the occasion into a learning opportunity. Dan, his wife Jenna, and their six kids gathered at the dinner table to shape a response – as individual, independent thinkers and as a family.

In this interview, slightly edited for length and clarity, the family describes the transformative of impact school choice.

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National Apprenticeship Week: The Time to Rethink Apprenticeships is Now

In June of 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order titled, “Expanding Apprenticeships in America.” This order called for the creation of a special Task Force to identify strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships in the United States. To meet this challenge, Department of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta brought together representatives from companies, labor unions, trade associations, educational institutions and public agencies. On May 10, the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion submitted a report to the President that provided a strategy to create more apprenticeships in the United States through an Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship model.

The centerpiece of the proposal is to build on the traditional registered apprenticeship concept by creating a pathway to new, industry-recognized apprenticeships. The final report lays out that proposal as the first step toward the goal of expanding apprenticeships broadly over the next five years. Secretary DeVos helped lead the Task Force, saying, “Apprenticeships give students proven and meaningful ways to gain skills and kickstart fulfilling careers…We must continue our efforts to strengthen workforce readiness and increase the number of pathways available to students after high school.”

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Succeeding Globally Through International Education and Engagement

#CTEGlobalized panel discussion on the intersection of Career and Technical Education and Global and Cultural Competencies. From left: Maureen McLaughlin, Senior Advisor and Director of International Affairs, U.S. Department of Education; Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary, Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education; Mauro Moruzzi, Ambassador, State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, Switzerland; Robert Burch, Acting Director, Office of Education, Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment (E3), USAID; and Stephanie Zhang, Junior, Fashion Institute of Technology, and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Alumna.

Each year in November, we pause to celebrate International Education Week (IEW), a joint initiative of the U.S. Departments of State and Education. This week recognizes the important role education plays in connecting us across the globe and highlights the benefits of international education and the exchange of ideas, cultures and languages.

On this occasion, the U.S. Department of Education has updated its international strategy, Succeeding Globally Through International Education and Engagement, which reaffirms our commitment to preparing our students for an interconnected and competitive world. It lays out the three key objectives of our international work: increasing global and cultural competencies for all students, learning from and with other countries to strengthen U.S. education, and engaging in education diplomacy.

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School Principals at Work—Sage Advice for New Principals

Principals lead schools in preparing students for successful lives.  They are expected to be leaders and guide administrators through vision, instructional leadership, data analysis and planning.  It seems pretty clear and defined, right?  Yet, most often, if you ask veteran principals if they were prepared to become a principal, they will say “I thought I was until I found myself sitting in that chair.”  That answer doesn’t mean they weren’t adequately trained and didn’t have sufficient teaching experiences or internships.  It simply means comprehending the significance and complexity of the principalship isn’t something you can fully appreciate until you have walked in the shoes of the principal.

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Identifying and Addressing Leaks in the STEM Education Pipeline

Photo of female student in a classroom smiling at the camera.Students need a strong foundation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math, including computer science) education to be prepared for the careers and challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Algebra I is considered the “gatekeeper” course to advanced math and science, with early access and enrollment crucial for students’ future success in STEM. However, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s newly released “data story” , while 80% of public school students are able to take Algebra I early — in 8th grade — only 24% of students actually do so. This “leak” in the STEM pipeline can have long-term effects on students’ education and career opportunities.

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#RethinkSchool: Challenging Journey Empowers Student to Dream Big

When it came time for Miami resident Lily Suquet and her son Ethan to determine which middle school Ethan would attend, they decided to shop around. After looking at five different schools,  they finally settled on Jose Marti Mast Academy in Hialeah, a magnet school with a STEM focus, where Ethan is now an 11th grader.

At his old school, Ethan regularly achieved straight A’s, but he knew that a more challenging learning environment would enhance his education and better prepare him for future success, so in choosing Jose Marti, he chose a school that would test his learning capacity.

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ED Publishes Report on Rural Education

A photo of the cover of the Section 5005 Final Report on Rural Education. The cover contains the U.S. Department of Education logo in the top right corner, with "U.S. Department of Education" written below it. It also contains four photos. The photo that is above the others is of students working on computers to complete assignments in a school in rural Missouri.. The photo on the bottom left is of four wind turbines on top of a green, wooded hill appear in silhouette against the gray skyline. The photo in the bottom center shows a farmer driving a tractor, with an orange reflective safety triangle attached to the back, down the street of a small town. In the background are overhead utility lines, as well as American flags and blue and white posters, commemorating a town celebration. The bottom right photo displays two signs attached to a wooden post warn drivers of approaching railroad tracks. One is an x-shaped black and white railroad crossing sign; the second is a red “yield” sign. Lower on the post is a third sign containing emergency contact information. The photos are on the background of a partly cloudy sky.The U.S. Department of Education recently published the Section 5005 Final Report on Rural Education (also known as the “Rural Report”). The Rural Report outlines actions the Department will take to meaningfully increase the involvement of rural schools and school districts in helping develop and execute Department processes, procedures, policies and regulations.

Congress mandated that the Department produce this report in Section 5005 of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which became law on Dec. 10, 2015. This section of the ESSA requires the Department to

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Innovation Challenge 2018: Announcing the Winners

A photo of a poster with notes taken from the Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem ceremony. The poster contains the #EDU2030 hashtag at the top left, quotes from Secretary Betsy DeVos's speech, notes from various pieces of information from the winners' projects, in a variety of colors with graphs and smaller images to illustrate topics presented.We are excited to announce the winners of the Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem Challenge. Through this challenge, we called upon educators, students, policymakers, industry leaders, technology developers, and the public to develop bold ideas to reimagine what the higher education ecosystem will look like in 2030 and concrete actions that we can take today to move us in that direction. These bold ideas would ensure all learners, regardless of background, can acquire the skills they need to find meaningful work and live fulfilling, economically stable lives. The concrete actions would be pilots or partnerships that could be implemented immediately and would make transformative impact on the way we work and learn.

We focused on three opportunity areas that we consider ripe for innovation: curating lifelong learning pathways that support learners in obtaining rewarding work; creating a marketplace for learning that enables students to effectively track and share the skills they acquire; and leveraging emerging technology to improve individual learning.

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#RethinkSchool: Back to School Tour Observes Innovation Across the Nation

Throughout the months of September and October, the U.S. Department of Education hosted its Rethink School Tour. This year’s tour consisted of 16 Department of Education officials visiting 46 states, 2 territories and the District of Columbia. Department of Education officials met with over 47 national, state and local elected and appointed officials while visiting close to 90 schools and programs throughout the country.

During the tour, Department officials had the opportunity to observe interesting approaches to K-12 and higher education, meet with and hear from students, teachers, parents and administrators and celebrate the many ways rethinking education benefits students everywhere.

Here is what we saw on the 2018 Rethink School Tour.

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High Achievement Requires High Expectations: My Family’s Story

Note: October is Learning Disabilities/Dyslexia/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Awareness Month.


“High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.”
Charles Kettering, American inventor, engineer and businessman.


As parents, we all want to see our children reach their full potential. Our visions of their successes and accomplishments may vary, but we all yearn to guide our children to greatness. How do we set them up to fulfill their potential? What foundations are we building for them? What roadmaps can we provide to help them navigate on their journey?

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School Principals at Work—Just as Tough as It Looks

Note: October is National Principals Month. We can all say “thank you” to principals everywhere by using the #ThankAPrincipal hashtag on social media.

Our Department has long history of frontline staff taking the time to observe and learn in schools and classrooms, affectionately known in our hallways as “ED Goes Back to School.”  This month, National Public Engagement staff of ED’s Office of Communications and Outreach were invited by the National Association of Secondary School Principals to take part in Principal Shadowing, in recognition of October as National Principals Month.  Local principals in DC and Falls Church, VA, in surrounding areas like Loudon County, VA, and Ellicott City and Gaithersburg, MD, as well as school leaders in New York City, Chicago and rural Hemet, CA, opened their inner office doors to Department outreach staff, and as happens in every shadowing experience, “aha” moments were plentiful.

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