Special *Back-to-School* Issue

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Nuestra Iniciativa HeaderSeptember Issue
Alejandra Ceja

Welcome to the “Back to School” issue of Nuestra Iniciativa! As teachers, parents and students settle back into the daily routine of a new school season, we will be hitting the road—meeting with key community and education stakeholders. These September “Back to School” events will provide us with a great opportunity to gather input and feedback from community leaders, stakeholders and educators. 

Today, nearly 24 percent of pre-k through twelfth grade students in our nation’s schools are Hispanic, making them a critical part of our education system. We must continue to work together on increasing the educational opportunities and outcomes for the Hispanic community. 

We hope the resources in this issue help to meet your unique needs as America goes back to school. We look forward to sharing with you the highlights from the field. 

WHIEEH in Texas
Texas Flag

WHIEEH traveling through Texas on a back-to-school outreach tour!

Sept. 4-6, 2013.

The WHIEEH will visit South and West Texas – a region with a high Hispanic population - to engage key stakeholders on the current state and future of education. Through the tour, they will share information about the President’s education agenda, federal resources, initiatives, and policies; identify successful models in this local region; and discuss what is working. Additionally, the WHIEEEH will gather input and feedback from community leaders, stakeholders and educators about both successful efforts and issues of concern, to inform education policy-making in Washington.

The tour will make nine stops in seven cities that include a combined population of nearly 2.6 million people, of which nearly 2.2 million are Hispanic. Read our Press Release for more information.


September 4

Corpus Christi: Site visit of the Wesley Community Center, joined by the United Way of the Coastal Bend’s President, to highlight the positive impact of a high quality early learning program. 

Brownsville: Roundtable discussion with the superintendent of schools, community leaders, teachers and parents on Hispanic educational attainment.  

McAllen: Site visit at an IDEA Public School campus where students, faculty and administrators will be in attendance. 

Edinburg: Town hall at the University of Texas Pan-American focused on college access and completion.

September 5

Laredo: Roundtable discussion with College of Education students at Texas A&M International University, focusing on the teaching profession. The WHIEEH will then head to a site visit of Laredo Early College High School. 

Eagle Pass: Site visit at Pete Gallego Elementary School, talking with school officials and parents about parental engagement. The second event will finish off the day with a town hall on Hispanic educational achievement and family engagement. 

September 6

El Paso: Town hall at the University of Texas at El Paso on STEM Education that will include STEM projects created by local university and high school students.

ED Tour in the SouthwestRoute for ED Back to School Bus Tour

The WHIEEH’s Back-to-School Texas Tour 2013 will jump-start the U.S. Department of Education’s “Strong Start, Bright Future” Back-to-School Bus Tour that will begin Monday, Sept. 9, 2013 in Santa, Fe, NM and will continue along the Southwest border to California. Cities include: 

  • New Mexico - Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Socorro, and Columbus. 
  • Texas - El Paso. 
  • Arizona - Tucson, Tempe, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Yuma. 
  • California - Chula Vista.   

Each stop will highlight the importance of ensuring that all students benefit from high-quality educational opportunities. Learn more about the tour stops by reading our blog and our Press Release.  

Sign up to receive Strong Start, Bright Future bus tour updates in your email inbox.

RSVP here for Bus Tour
National Summit on Hispanic Early Learning

The WHIEEH and its President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics will hold a national summit on early learning to discuss the status of Latino children in receiving high-quality early learning.

The summit will take place on September 18, 2013, at Miami-Dade College in Miami, Florida. 

Back to School

Here are a few resources to help you and your child get ready. 

  1. With back-to-school season in full swing, Secretary Duncan recently sat down to respond to some pressing education questions from SmartBlog on Education. Read the blog with the full Q&A.
  2. Parents who play an active role in their children’s education make a huge difference in their success. Here are some things you can do to help your child prepare for the upcoming school year.
  3. Secretary Duncan and staff from ED recently released an “It Gets Better” video to address the importance of fostering safe spaces for learning across the country. Part of the Department’s initiative is ensuring that students are protected from the harmful effects of bullying within their communities. Read more on our Free of Fear, Violence, and Bullying blog.  
Grants and Awards
  • This week, the Department announced new grant awards under the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program ($5.2 million for three states), Advanced Placement (AP) Test Program ($28.8 million for 42 states), and Impact Aid Discretionary Construction Program ($20 million for eight districts).
  •  The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is soliciting applications for the “Research: Art Works” program.  Grant awards support research that investigates the value and/or impact of the arts, either as individual components within the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other or with other domains of American life.  The NEA anticipates awarding up to 25 grants -- from $10,000 to $30,000 each.  The deadline for applications is November 5.  Projects can begin as early as May 1, 2014.  

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Educación Universitaria Alex Ceja


Alejandra Ceja, habla sobre el plan del Presidente para hacer que la educación universitaria sea más asequible. 

Making College Affordable

The President recently laid out a plan with three concise steps to make college affordable. Read the White House Fact Sheet and our ED Blog for more information. 


ESEA Renewals

As students and educators go back to school across the country, and as Congress continues to debate how to fix the law commonly known as No Child Left Behind, the U.S. Department of Education has announced that states whose waivers from certain provisions of federal education law will expire at the end of the 2013-2014 school year will soon be able to request renewals of their reform plans, for up to two more years. Read More

Anniversary of March on Washington

"In today's world, freedom means having real opportunities—the kinds of opportunities that come only with a great education. The opportunity to find work that will enable you to support yourself, and your family. The opportunity to make decisions about your future. The opportunity to participate fully in our democracy.

It's going to take a lot of work before every young person has that kind of opportunity." Read the rest of Secretary Duncan's speech delivered at School Without Walls. 


Every Child in Focus

Starting in September with the month of the Hispanic child, National PTA will spotlight the Hispanic community as part of their  Every Child in Focus campaign. They will  highlight the educational challenges and achievements within the community and focus on ways to strengthen family-school partnerships for Hispanic families and students.

This campaign reinforces National PTA’s mission to advocate for every child—with one voice—so all families and communities feel invited and welcomed within PTA, and are equipped with the tools to support their child and make a difference for every child and advocate with their elected officials.  

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