Connecting with Colorado Communities: Bus Tour Day Four

Students at Lowry Elementary in Denver waved goodbye to the "Education Drives America" bus. Official Department of Education photo by Joshua Hoover.

Students at Lowry Elementary in Denver waved goodbye to the "Education Drives America" bus. Official Department of Education photo by Joshua Hoover.

Denver: Getting fit and staying healthy

It may have been a once-in-lifetime occurrence: two cabinet secretaries, one governor, two U.S. senators and dozens of students all line-dancing. Historic or not, the importance of the Let’s Move! back-to-school bus tour event at Lowry Elementary in Denver, was clear: Children who are healthy and active are better prepared to learn.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Lt. Governor Joseph Garcia, Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet and Colorado Commissioner of Education Robert Hammond.

Lowry is part of the Denver Public Schools’ Garden to Cafeteria program, which allows students to grow fruits and vegetables at school and then provide some of their harvest to the school cafeteria for school lunches. The visiting dignitaries ate lunch with students in the cafeteria, toured the schools’ gardens and then worked up a sweat by shooting hoops with students and doing the line dance known as the “Cupid Shuffle.”

Secretary Duncan talks with 1st graders at Limon

Secretary Duncan talks with 1st graders at Limon Public School. Department of Education photo by Joshua Hoover.

Limon: Celebrating Constitution Day

The back-to-school bus’s next stop, Limon, Colo.—population around 1,800—doesn’t get visited by cabinet secretaries often. And that’s a shame, because the eastern Colorado community’s dedication to its school shouldn’t go unnoticed. After a spirited welcome by the Limon Public School band, Secretary Duncan and staff took part in a Constitution Day assembly. (Constitution Day, Sept. 17, is being commemorated in schools all this week. Here are some teaching and learning resources about the Constitution.)

Lt. Governor Garcia, a former college president, traveled on the bus from Denver and explained the importance of understanding our rights under the Constitution. “We need you to become civically engaged,” he told the students.

Limon student body president Toby Kropp introduced Arne and noted that Limon is special because “in the classroom we have demonstrated great excellence.” Kropp boasted Limon’s impressive record in athletics, as well, and challenged the Secretary to a one-on-one basketball game with any member of the Limon basketball team.

During his remarks, Arne said that Constitution Day is a time to reflect about our basic rights as Americans, rights that in some countries “simply don’t exist.”

We were impressed by the community’s support for Limon Public School, which spans kindergarten through 12th grade. Arne praised the community’s dedication by noting that “when an entire community rallies around its school, nothing but good can happen.”

Watch the video highlights from day four:

Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.

On Tuesday, the Education Drives America bus heads to Topeka and Emporia, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. Follow the tour on Twitter with the hashtag #edtour12.

Cameron Brenchley is director of digital engagement and is blogging and tweeting his way from coast to coast during ED’s annual back-to-school bus tour.


  1. How about the Secretary Duncan and staff come to Southern Delaware I know we are a small state but really need him to HELP US!!Sussex County Delaware is in BAD SHAPE…The ACLU will not stay up for children with disability here…Michael M from the ACLU of Delaware told me that he is only one person and,he doesn’t have the manpower or the time!!! I feel his scared..Even thru he knows wrong doing is going on here with kids in Southern Delaware… Shame on him!!!!I told him to pick up his paycheck on Friday because I feel that is all he cares about!! I’ll do his job for 1/2 the cost…I’m not scared mother of 7 !!!! I do have meetings with some churches in the area and they are up-set too!! I told the ACLU in Washington,DC that if we have to go to every laundry mat,bar,truancy court and radio station to get the word out we will do it!! That’s why he called but people to get me to call him!! Well, I will call back DC office and tell them what he said!!! Still the children and the parents here need someone to REALLY care about them…Thank You Mother of 7!!!!

  2. Very interesting tour. Will you be coming to Southeastern Colorado? I am pretty sure the Swink, La Junta and Rocky Ford school systems use local produce, which is plentiful and very good this year. Talking to the food services office for La Junta and Rocky Ford, we learned that the produce must go through their distributor, Sysco, and then come back to the local schools, but it is local (e.g. Hirakata melons). Work is being done to convert Ft. Lyon to a distribution system to eliminate the trip to Denver as part of the carbon footprint.

  3. Cameron: Thanks for spending time in a few of Colorado’s schools and for providing a nice summary of the highlights. I’ll be forwarding this to many state stakeholders. It was a pleasure to meet you and the rest of the staff. Please don’t hestitate to reach out if you have further questions.
    Jennifer Stedron
    Executive Director, Early Childhood Leadership Commission
    Policy Director, Early Childhood
    Office of Lt Governor Joe Garcia

    • @Jennifer – We had a great time in Colorado, and was great to meet you too. Thanks for everything.

      Cameron Brenchley
      Office of Communications and Outreach

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