U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. will discuss the need for all students to complete high school and be prepared to complete college regardless of their background at the final National Reach Higher Convening of the Obama Administration on Friday, Oct. 28, 2016 at American University. King will also discuss the need for school counselors, teachers, and administrators to be prepared to work in diverse settings and oftentimes lead the push in schools for more inclusive learning spaces. Recently, the Department released guidance under the Every Student Succeeds Act to help schools and districts provide students with access to a comprehensive, well-rounded education inclusive of creating safe and supportive school environments and emphasizing the integral role that school counselors and social workers can have in students’ lives.
Other senior Department officials will also speak throughout the Convening, Connecting the Dots: Cultural Competence, Counseling, and College and Career Readiness of Underserved Youth, which takes place from Friday, Oct. 28 – Sunday, Oct. 30. The Convening will bring together state teams of leaders from education, counseling and businesses to build upon past convening knowledge and set a path forward to address the unique needs of specific populations of students, particularly students that have been historically underserved.
As part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, the Department of Education and the White House have hosted four national convenings of school counselors to discuss ways to support more students to become college- and career-ready. The convenings took place at the following:
Harvard University – July 2014
San Diego State University – November 2014
University of North Florida – November 2015
University of Colorado-Colorado Springs – June 2016
President Obama has doubled investments in financial aid, increasing the maximum Pell Grant by over $1,000 and establishing the American Opportunity Tax Credit to provide up to $10,000 in tax credits to support higher education over four years. More than two million additional students have received college assistance each year through the Pell Grant over the course of the Obama Administration.The Department of Education recently announced this year’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)— available October 1 for the first time, three months earlier than the traditional January 1 date—so that more students can access the historic investment in financial aid and better information when they need it.