U.S. Rural Education Official to Visit National Blue Ribbon School in Topsham, Maine; Address Rural Community Colleges Conference in Newry

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John White, deputy assistant secretary for rural outreach at the U.S. Department of Education, will travel to Maine where on Thursday he will visit the newly recognized National Blue Ribbon School in Topsham. On Friday, he will address the Rural Community College Alliance Annual Conference in Newry.

In Topsham, White will tour the Williams-Cone School, named Tuesday by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as one of 286 National Blue Ribbon Schools. The award is based on overall academic excellence or progress in improving student academic achievement.

On Friday, White's remarks to the Rural Community College Alliance conference will focus on the U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Value Initiative. The project builds upon President Obama’s Plan to Make College Affordable. The plan is designed to measure college performance through a new ratings system so students and families have the information to select schools that provide the best value.

The alliance is the primary advocacy organization for America’s 600 rural community and tribal colleges and 3.4 million students. More than 100 college presidents and faculty are expected to be on hand for the conference.