Duncan Kicks Off “Let’s Read! Let’s Move!”

Secretary Duncan talks with students at Vashon High in St. Louis

Secretary Duncan visited students at Vashon High School in St. Louis to kick off Lets Read! Let's Move! Official Department of Education photo by Leslie Williams.

Secretary Duncan kicked off this summer’s Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series yesterday at Vashon High School in St. Louis. The program, which supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to fight childhood obesity, promotes summer learning and reading, as well as healthy lifestyle choices and nutrition. Duncan joined students in a summer school reading exercise, toured classrooms, and shot hoops with students in the school gym.

Secretary Duncan plays basketball at Vashon High

Duncan stopped to shoot some hoops with Vashon students. Official Department of Education photo by Leslie Williams.

Vashon High School is one of eleven schools in the St. Louis Public Schools undergoing a turnaround with the support of the Department of Education’s School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. Vashon High School will enter its third year of turnaround this fall, and under Principal Derrick Mitchell, the school has made some encouraging progress. Once on the brink of closure, Vashon’s discipline incidents are down, attendance is up, and from 2009-10 to 2010-11, student achievement increased by 15 percentage points in both reading and math.

Other SIG schools in the St. Louis Public School district are also making noteworthy progress on these key indicators of success. The district has implemented an Office of Innovation to oversee turnaround work in its SIG schools and to provide professional development, leadership training, data tools, and other resources where they are needed most.

Click here to read more SIG stories from around the country, and click here to read about last year’s Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series which included local officials, celebrities and area elementary students. ED’s next Let’s Read! Let’s Move! event will be in early July in Washington.

Alexandra Strott is a student at Middlebury College and an intern in ED’s Office of Communications and Outreach


  1. A little physical activity goes a long way. I saw an interesting stat the other day that 1 in 3 children spend less than 1 hour outside a week. What a difference from when I was a child? I can’t help but feel it isn’t entirely their fault. While I think it is good to educate them on diet, kids are going to be limited with what they can prepare. It really comes down to the parents responsibility and often times with our busy schedules what is “easy” is usually not healthy.

    • I agree that a little activity goes a long way. It’s confusing that it is so different then when we were young. The young children I teach want to go outside all the time. Then why do we not see them playing outside at home? I also agree on the eating healthy. We had a policy that the parents provided the snack for my class and it had to be healthy. There were many that would try to sneak in chocolate chips or m and m’s into their snack. They seem to think that there needs to be a treat all the time.

  2. Now that looks like fun! Childhood obesity is a real problem. I was obese as a child and only got healthier by picking up the game of Squash. I am glad Mrs. Obama is leading the way to healthier children.

  3. Nice blog Ms. Strott. I am creating a Let’s Read movement as well in my home state of Fl.

Comments are closed.