Fast Forward to 2022: Showcasing our Scholars in CTE Alumni

Fast forward to 2022: showcasing our scholars in CTE alumni

A 2015 Presidential Executive Order expanded the Presidential Scholars award to recognize students on the basis of outstanding scholarship, demonstrated ability, and accomplishment in career and technical education (CTE) fields. February is CTE Month, and in the spirit of celebrating the unique and valuable opportunity CTE provides, we checked back in with a few of the 2016-2018 Presidential Scholars in CTE to learn more about where their educational journey has led them.

Read More

2022 RISE Awardee Announced

By Andrea Suarez Falken, Director of the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees Award 

2022 Rise Awardee Announced

Feeling the love this month? Initiated by Congress in 2019, the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees recognition award is intended to honor one extraordinary education support professional annually and to generate appreciation for all classified school employees. This is the second year of the award, with nominations from governors and state education agencies, often working together, due by November 1 annually.

Read More

CTE Pathways to Quality Jobs

By Sharon Lee Miller, Director, Division of Academic and Technical Education

The Department of Education is committed to expanding career pathways to quality jobs of the future, and the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) provides a powerful opportunity to do so. The law reflects a broad bipartisan commitment to providing students with quality career and technical education (CTE) programs, ushering in a new data-driven process to better prepare students for high skill, high wage, in-demand jobs. And many states and localities are leading the way, utilizing this new process to increase access to quality jobs.

Read More

Investing in Native Youth to Design Their College and Career Futures

By Julian Guerrero, Jr., Director for Office of Indian Education, Office of Elementary & Secondary Education 

Investing in native youth to design their college and career futures

Advancing its commitment to equity, community-driven solutions, and empowering Native Youth to design their own future – the U.S. Department of Education has announced approximately $18 million in grant funding available for Native Youth Community Projects (NYCP) focused on college and career readiness. A major emphasis of this program is on community-led projects that engage school-age children in career exploration opportunities, with an emphasis on learning about the teaching profession.

Read More

ED Invites Applications from States to Support Innovation in Assessment Systems

By Donald Peasley, Assessment Team Lead, School Support & Accountability, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

ED invites applications from states to support innovation in assessment systems

Over the past two years, the pandemic has brought immense challenges to our nation’s students, schools, and communities. Just one year ago, only 46% of our nation’s K-12 schools were open for in-person learning, and countless students experienced traumas, mental health challenges, and academic disruptions. Some students fell behind, and some disconnected from their schools altogether. That’s why since Day One of the Biden Administration, the Department of Education has been focused on reopening our schools safely, getting more Americans vaccinated, and addressing the impacts of the pandemic on students of all ages. As part of this effort, we invested $130 billion in America’s K-12 schools through the American Rescue Plan, and we allowed for unprecedented flexibilities in our K-12 assessment systems, so schools and districts could focus on getting students back in classrooms safely, first and foremost.

The Department of Education is proud that in just one year, we have returned to pre-pandemic levels of schools being open. Today, nearly all school districts are back to in-person learning five days per week. We are seeing students every day interacting with their teachers, peers, and school staff, receiving the academic and mental health supports they need to recover. And while this pandemic has underscored just how important it is for our students to be receiving in-person instruction to ensure all students are receiving high-quality, equitable education, it also has made clearer the gaps in our education system—and presented an opportunity for us to recover stronger than we were before.

That’s why today the U.S. Department of Education is releasing the 2022 notice inviting applications for the Competitive Grants for State Assessments program, a program designed to enhance the quality of state assessment systems to better reflect the needs and experiences of our nation’s students and communities. The program will allow for states to continue to use assessments to quantify the impacts the pandemic has had on our nation’s students, identify gaps which may have gotten worse, and explore ways to direct resources and funding to address those gaps and roadblocks to student achievement. The program will also allow the Department to identify, lift up, and help scale innovative approaches to assessments that advance teaching and learning that can better meet the needs of our evolving education system.

The program will award up to $17.7 million in grants to 4-6 state educational agencies, with estimated grant awards of up to $3 million per grantee. Grantees will use these grant funds over a period of up to four years. The program will focus on assessment systems based on multiple measures, competency-based education, and improved reporting of assessment results to parents and educators.

State educational agencies (or a consortium of state educational agencies) are invited to submit applications that 1) develop or implement assessment systems that use multiple measures of academic achievement; or 2) develop or implement comprehensive academic assessments that emphasize the mastery of standards and aligned competencies in a competency-based education model. The program also includes a competitive priority that focuses on improving how assessment results are reported to parents and educators, so members of school communities can better support how instruction is designed to meet the academic needs of children.

Applications will be due on April 18, 2022. Successful applicants will be selected, and awards will be made, by September 2022. Officials from the Department’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education will also conduct a webinar for potential applicants in the coming weeks. Registration information for the webinar, the application for this grant program, and additional information about the Competitive Grants for State Assessments program is available at

As we continue our work to support our nation’s students in their recovery from the pandemic, we look forward to working in partnership with schools, families, educators, and communities to strengthen our assessment and education systems, so every student has the opportunity to succeed academically and thrive.

Every State Plan for American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Students & Families Experiencing Homelessness Approved

Every State Plan for American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Students & Families Experiencing Homelessness Approved

This week, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) approved all remaining American Rescue Plan Act of 2021’s Homeless Children and Youth Fund (ARP-HCY) state plans. With today’s approval of Mississippi’s state plan, all 52 ARP-HCY state plans are approved by the Department. The $800 million in funding provided by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) will continue to identify and support students experiencing homelessness and connect them with necessary resources and supports, and work to enable them to attend school and fully participate in school activities.

Read More

Cultivating Mentorship Opportunities in Hayward Promise Neighborhoods

cultivating mentorship opportunities in hayward promise neighborhoods

By Edgar Chavez, Executive Director, Hayward Promise Neighborhoods

Mentorship is an opportunity to help others feel seen and explore all possibilities for their future. Reflecting on my work with young people for over a decade, I didn’t always see the power of these principles. As leaders, we tend to lead with outcomes rather than relationships. To see ourselves and others in our wholeness means also understanding past and present forces that shape our everyday experiences so that we may be open to new possibilities, especially during these anxious times.  

Read More

GAO Commends ED Disaster Recovery Work

blog: GAO commends ED disaster recovery work

By Maria Rowan, Education Program Specialist, OESE, Disaster Recovery Unit

Since 2017, over 300 presidentially declared major disasters have occurred across all 50 states and all U.S. territories. In 2021 alone, the U.S. experienced 56 major natural disasters in the form of fires, floods, hurricanes, mudslides, tornados, and severe storms. Whether we witness the aftermath first-hand in our own communities or through our work with affected schools, we know disasters like these can negatively impact the emotional, academic, financial, and physical well-being of students. 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 education disaster recovery efforts.  

Read More

Mentoring in the Time of COVID

blog: mentoring in the time of COVID

By Catherine López, M.A., M.Ed., LDT, CALT,  Certified Academic Language Therapist and Bilingual Content Interventionist working for the Austin Independent School District

Quality mentoring programs are more necessary than ever. Attracting and retaining new teachers has gone from being a serious problem to an acute crisis. Districts that seek to curb attrition rates in their ranks need structured programs that can help fledgling teachers during the first two to three years of their career. 

Read More

$36 Million Available to Support Innovative Projects that Address the Unique Educational Needs of Alaska Natives

By Patrick Carr, Director of Rural, Insular, and Native Achievement Programs, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education 

Today, the U.S. Department of Education released the 2022 application for the Alaska Native Education program. The program will award up to $36 million in grants that will support innovative projects that recognize and address the unique educational needs of Alaska Natives.  Successful applicants will administer a wide range of projects that could include, but are not limited to, support for culturally responsive curriculum development, training and professional development, early childhood and parent outreach, and enrichment programs. For more information, visit the notice inviting applications.  

Read More

White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities Partners with NASA to Foster Innovation and Opportunity for HBCU Scholars

by Arthur McMahan, Senior Associate Director for the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities

In 2021, Janine Jackson, an HBCU Scholar from Morgan State University, participated in the Mini Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Innovation Tech Transfer Idea Competition (MITTIC), part of the HBCU Scholar Recognition Program run by the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Initiative). “The Mini-MITTIC experience was intense, competitive and rewarding,” Janine shared with me. “I am grateful to the Initiative staff and friendly folks at NASA for bringing us all together literally across space and time zones to work together on this experience. I thoroughly enjoyed brainstorming with my team to come up with a product and a pitch. The experience confirmed that diverse perspectives are useful and meaningful when we take time to listen to one other. It also verified how well HBCU students collaborate and create when we link up.”

Read More

Challenge, Opportunities, and Wisdom

I was fifteen when my family moved to the U.S. from a rural town in Mexico. My parents were migrant workers, so after the season, they would return to Mexico to continue working while I remained in Eastern Oregon. As a first-generation, low-income, Latino from a migrant farm working family, education was something I valued but was insecure about. All of that changed when I was recruited into the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) to attend a university. The CAMP Program is managed by the U.S. Department of Education and assists students who are migratory or seasonal farmworkers (or children of such workers) enrolled in their first year of undergraduate studies at an institution of higher education (IHE). 

Read More