U.S. Education Secretary will Conclude "Strong Start, Bright Future" Back-to-School Bus Tour with Visit to a Promise Neighborhood School in Chula Vista, California

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and senior staff at the Department of Education will wrap up the 2013 back-to-school bus tour—“Strong Start, Bright Future”—with a visit to a Promise Neighborhood school in Chula Vista, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 13.

Beginning at 9 a.m., Secretary Duncan will take part in a pep rally at Castle Park Middle School in Chula Vista and give brief remarks on the role the community plays in educating children. He will discuss the unique opportunity that parents, teachers, students, school leaders, non-profits, faith-based leaders and business officials have to elevate, invest in and recommit to the importance of education. He also will tour part of the school with Nadya Dabby, the Department’s acting assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement.

Later, Duncan will hold a town hall with local school officials, education stakeholders and community leaders on Promise Neighborhoods, which focuses on cradle-to-career initiatives that call on the entire community to provide comprehensive place-based supports such as high-quality early learning, rich after-school activities, health and wellness services, and crime prevention. A media avail will follow the town hall.

Following the event, leaders from each of the White House Initiatives will host a break-out session at Castle Park Middle School. This list includes: White House Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Director Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Senior Advisor for Nonprofit Partnerships Michael Robbins and Senior Policy Advisor Ken Bedell; White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics Executive Director Alejandra Ceja and Deputy Director Marco Davis; White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans Executive Director David Johns; and White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Advisor Maria Pastrana.

Last year, Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood (CVPN) received a Promise Neighborhood grant from the Department totaling nearly $5 million for the first year of a five-year grant. Castle Park Middle School, along with four other schools, is located within the CVPN. More than half of the students in CVPN receive free or reduced lunch and are English language learners. CVPN has developed an implementation plan for a seamless continuum of cradle-to-career solutions that will provide all children with high expectations for success, steady and nurturing relationships throughout the pipeline, and a clear and viable pathway to college and career success.

“The strength of America’s economy is inextricably linked to the strength of America’s education system,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who began the bus tour on Monday, Sept. 9, in Santa Fe, N.M. “This year’s bus tour will be an opportunity to discuss throughout the Southwest how investments in education are critical to our country’s future and how state and local reforms are delivering encouraging results. Our theme, ‘Strong Start, Bright Future,’ also speaks to the importance of starting the school year off right and providing all our children with high-quality pre-school to ultimately prepare them for success in college and careers.”

This is the fourth annual back-to-school bus tour for Secretary Duncan. In addition to Chula Vista, other stops on the tour included Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Socorro and Columbus, N.M.; El Paso, Texas; and Tucson, Tempe, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Yuma, Ariz. During the tour, Secretary Duncan and senior officials visited classrooms and early learning centers; held roundtables with students, parents, education stakeholders and community members; consulted with tribal leaders; and hosted town halls with military parents and members of the Hispanic community. The tour focused on Preschool for All, ConnectED, RESPECT, Career and Technical Education (CTE), and college affordability.

To read about other tour stops, visit www.ed.gov/bustour.