ED’s School Ambassador Fellows Connect with #FellowsAtED Twitter Chats

2018 School Ambassador Fellows standing in front of the U.S. Department of Education seal.It took me a while to feel comfortable with Twitter. I opened a personal account years ago, but I just didn’t see what all the buzz was about.

Once my district started encouraging teachers to build their Professional Learning Networks, however, I reluctantly created a professional account.  I was a little skeptical that it would be more of a distraction and less of a genuine resource, but it didn’t take long to convince me otherwise. I only spend an average of five minutes a day on Twitter, and in that short time, I find new ideas, get the most recent news in education, research the latest best practices, discover the most cutting-edge apps and read inspirational quotes that remind me why our job is so important.

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Public Comment Sought for Report on Obtaining Input from Rural Schools and Local Educational Agencies

SUMMARY:  In accordance with section 5005 of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Secretary seeks information from the public regarding actions the Department of Education (Department) can take to improve how it considers the unique needs of rural schools and local educational agencies (LEAs) as it develops and implements its policies and programs.  The Secretary intends to use this information in issuing a final report, required under section 5005, describing the actions it will take to increase the consideration and participation of rural schools and LEAs in the development and execution of the Department’s processes, procedures, policies, and regulations. (Preliminary report in pdf format)

DATES:  We must receive your comments no later than February 20, 2018.

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Fighting Off the Wolves: ED and HHS Host Landmark Human Trafficking Prevention Event

The four panelists at the human trafficking event are seated on the podium as the audience looks on.Human trafficking, exploiting people through forced labor and commercial sex, is modern-day slavery.  ED’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students maintains that schools can and should be safe places where students can thrive.  Unfortunately, the trafficking of America’s students, both for labor and for commercial sex, is a dark presence in our nation’s schools, jeopardizing the health, safety, and the very lives of students.

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Very Special Student Artists Display Vision, Imagination in VSA Exhibit at U.S. Department of Education

Students whose artwork is displayed at the VSA exhibit use oversized scissors to cut the red ribbon at the exhibit.Seventeen-year-old Keevon Howard has mastered one cardinal rule laid down by his high school art teacher, one that resonates beyond the classroom. “Don’t erase,” his teacher counselled — accept the mistake and weave it into your composition. Coping is a vital life skill, she said, so whatever you put on the paper, that’s what you deal with.

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Proud to Serve Again

Elmer Harris standing in his class filled with students.Each year our school hosts a Veterans Day assembly and breakfast. After this year’s assembly, a number of students shared how they were surprised and excited to see my military photo during the slideshow tribute. Some were shocked and amused to see a serious looking and clean shaven Master Sergeant Harris instead of their bearded and smiling classroom teacher, Mr. Harris. I suppose the topic of my 22 years of military service and transition to teaching isn’t something I routinely discuss with students.

Teaching is a family tradition for many educators. That’s not my story.

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FLOTUS, Secretary Visit Highlights Anti-Bullying Efforts

A student smiles enthusiastically while taking a selfie with First Lady Melania Trump during an anti-bullying event.As a School Ambassador Fellow with the U.S. Department of Education, I had the opportunity to help plan and coordinate a visit for First Lady Melania Trump and Secretary Betsy DeVos to Orchard Lake Middle School in West Bloomfield, MI. The school was selected because they had pledged their commitment to anti-bullying initiatives promoting inclusion and acceptance. Orchard Lake Middle School prides itself on diversity and anti-bullying programs, so the principal and staff knew that they would be a good fit for FLOTUS’s bullying prevention platform.

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Still Ripe after 100 Years; ED Panel Discusses the Constitution and World War I

To comply with the law that requires all schools that receive federal funding and all federal agencies to observe Constitution Day, September 17, here at the Department of Education, we focused on the Constitutional issues that arose during World War I. We chose to focus on World War I because 2017 marks the centennial of the U.S. entry into that war.

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A Day in the Life of a Principal

The principal’s day is a reflection of many complex interactions such as:

  • communicating with multiple types of stakeholders,
  • managing financial resources,
  • connecting daily with students,
  • leading professional development, and
  • being a collaborative team player.

You may be wondering how one person could accomplish all of this in one day, so I welcome you into one of my days at Jackson Hole High School.

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A Vocational Rehabilitation Success Story: Joseph Cali

Note: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

The New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS), which receives Federal funding from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services’ Rehabilitation Services Administration, is pleased to share Joseph’s (pictured above) success story in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).


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Vocational Rehabilitation Success Story: George (Burt) Petley

Note: In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA), a State VR agency which receives funding from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services’ Rehabilitation Services Administration, is pleased to share Burt’s success story. 

Burt began his path to employment in a sheltered workshop in 2007, where he did packaging and sorting tasks. Burt’s fellow participants and supervisors said he was dependable and with the support of his sister, Christie, Burt had reliable transportation. While Burt sometimes had difficulty with decision-making, repetitive tasks were an area where he excelled.

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