Assistant Secretary Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana to visit Schools, Keynote Central Regional School Improvement Grant Conference in Denver

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U.S. Department of Education Assistant Secretary Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana will visit Lake International School in Denver and Fulton Elementary School in Aurora, Colo., on Monday, May 23, to meet with students and school leaders. During her visits, Meléndez de Santa Ana will underscore the importance of turning around low-performing schools and discuss how the Department is supporting states, districts and schools as they undertake this critical work.

On Tuesday, May 24, Meléndez de Santa Ana will keynote the Central Regional School Improvement Grant Capacity-Building Conference for School Improvement Grant (SIG) recipients. She will provide an overview of the SIG program, including its purpose and the financial support it provides. Meléndez de Santa Ana also will discuss the role of the SIG program in the Department’s education reform agenda.

Additional Department officials participating in the conference include John White, deputy assistant secretary for rural outreach, and the Rev. Girton-Mitchell, director of the faith-based and neighborhood partnerships, who will each give remarks during the opening plenary on Wednesday, May 25. White will discuss early progress he has seen during his visits to rural SIG schools and describe federal resources and partnership opportunities, particularly for distant and remote schools in areas where other partnerships are not easily accessible. Girton-Mitchell will share effective strategies for family and community engagement, as well as discuss how school turnarounds benefit students, families and the community.

The U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with its Comprehensive Centers and other regional technical assistance service agencies, is hosting the Central Regional School Improvement Grant Conference. The conference is the last of four regional, capacity-building conferences that began in April to support state and local education agencies, as well as schools, in their efforts to successfully turnaround persistently low-performing schools. The conferences, which also have taken place in Los Angeles, the District of Columbia and Chicago, have brought together practitioners, researchers and education leaders from across the country to discuss challenges and share promising practices and examples.