U.S. Department of Education Assistant Secretary Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Carl Harris will address the 2011 Midwest Regional School Improvement Grant Capacity-Building Conference for School Improvement Grant (SIG) recipients at the InterContinental Chicago O’Hare Hotel. The two-day conference, taking place May 18 and 19, is hosted by the U.S. Department of Education in partnership with its Great Lakes East and Great Lakes West Regional Comprehensive Centers, the National High School Center, and the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. On Tuesday, Dr. Harris will open the conference and discuss how the U.S. Department of Education is supporting states, districts and schools as they undertake the critical work of turning around schools. On Wednesday, Dr. Meléndez de Santa Ana will close the conference and speak about how school turnarounds benefit students, families and the community. The Chicago conference is the third of four regional, capacity-building conferences held in April and May to support state and local education agencies, as well as schools, in their efforts to successfully turnaround persistently low-performing schools. The conferences will bring together practitioners, researchers and education leaders from across the country to discuss challenges and share promising practices and examples.