Education Secretary to Observe Federal Holiday by Participating in City Year's Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Day at Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will deliver remarks and participate in City Year Washington's Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Day. The event, which will take place from 8:45 a.m. to noon on Monday, Jan. 16, at Dunbar High School in the District, will commemorate the civil rights movement and honor the life and work of Dr. King. Secretary Duncan, along with his family, will join in service projects that help revitalize the community; including painting murals, building bookshelves and aiding in neighborhood cleanup.

Founded in 1998, City Year is wholly focused on fighting the national dropout crisis. At its 21 locations across the United States, teams of diverse young people called corps members serve full-time in schools for 10 months working to improve student attendance, behavior and course performance in English and math. As tutors, mentors and role models, corps members help students and schools succeed through:

  • Academic Support: Provide one-on-one or small group tutoring before, during and after school
  • Attendance and Positive Behavior Encouragement: Lead energetic morning greetings, make attendance and positive phone calls home and lead mentor groups
  • Community and School Improvements: Organize and lead activities, celebrations and projects to improve the community and school environment which includes performing physical service such as: painting murals, planting community gardens, renovating schools and refurbishing community centers

In exchange for their year of service, corps members receive a $5,550 education award to defray the costs of college or graduate school, plus a modest stipend for living expenses. Funding comes from public sources, including the Department's School Improvement Grant program and the Corporation for National and Community Service's AmeriCorps program, as well as contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals. City Year is also a partner in a five-year, $30 million grant from the Department's Investing in Innovation (i3) program that is focusing on turning around “dropout factories” in 14 school districts.