Friday, September 30, 2016

Webinar: Federal Appropriations 101

Webinar: Federal Appropriations 101
When: Wednesday, Oct. 5
Time: 3 p.m. EDT

Every year, Congress must pass a budget to fund the government for the next year. This congressional requirement has become more complex over the years, but no less important, as the budget decides what federal programs should be funded.
National PTA's government affairs department will guide participants through the appropriations process with updates on the funding levels for certain education programs.
Participants will learn:
  • How the annual federal appropriations process works
  • Ways to effectively advocate for investments in education
  • National PTA's federal funding priorities
  • Joshua Westfall, Government Affairs Manager, National PTA
  • Jacqueline Thomas, Legislative Assistant, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)

We encourage you to share this webinar with all PTA members and leaders in your community! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

Initiative Header

September 2016 Issue

As we commemorate the last Hispanic Heritage month observation under the Obama Administration, we want to take a moment to thank our students, families and community members for their support in helping us to advance our cradle to career agenda.  Last year, together we cultivated 150Commitments to Action with a collective investment of over $335 million in support of improving educational equity and opportunities for Hispanic students across the country.  This is a clear example of how collectively we can make a difference in the lives of students and families. In that spirit, we ask you to join us in furthering our agenda. Over the over the course of the next few months, the Initiative will continue to focus on advancing opportunities for Hispanic girls and women in the country, working with Hispanic Serving Institutions to diversity the teaching workforce, elevating the voice of our migrant farmworker families, and promoting the importance of our college completion efforts.  With your support, we can build a better future for the Hispanic community for years to come.  Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! 

“This month, let us reflect on the countless ways in which Hispanics have contributed to our Nation's success, and let us reaffirm our commitment to expanding opportunity and building an ever br­ighter future for all. Let us embrace the diversity that s­­­­­trengthens us and continue striving to ensure the American dream is within reach for generations of Hispanics to come."

Elevating Migrant Voices

Photos from Washington Visit
The Initiative held its third #MigrantVoices convening in Sunnyside, Washington. The visit included meetings with Jones Farm and Haak Farms, both family owned businesses that support education efforts for the children of the migrant farmworkers.  We also had the opportunity to visit a local head start program and convene roundtable discussions with migrant families and students as well as hear from community leaders including area superintendents.
During the roundtables, Executive Director Alejandra Ceja discussed the Administration’s investments in education—from cradle-to-career—and highlighted the importance of early learning, student support services and access to federal financial aid. Cleo Rodriguez, Director of the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association, led a roundtable discussion focused on the importance of developing local partnerships in support of meeting the educational needs of the migrant community.  The documentary film Class of ’27, which is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and is part of the American Graduate initiative was previewed during the Migrant Voices series to help us elevate the national conversation on the importance of early learning. The film can be accessed at

The Initiative launched its #MigrantVoices series in partnership with the Department’s Office of Migrant EducationNational Migrant and Seasonal Head Start AssociationPBS, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The series aims to elevate the voices of migrant students and families while fostering the development of local school and business partnerships.

Opportunity Tour Travels From D.C. to LA

Bus Tour Bus Graphic

"And we'll have the opportunity on this tour to celebrate the tremendous potential of our young people: their potential to make great discoveries in science and medicine and technology; their opportunity to create great literature; their opportunity to participate fully and productively in the 21st century economy, as well as to perform their duties as citizens in their neighborhoods and communities; to heal differences among neighbors; and to open up conversations with strangers. We will celebrate the potential all of our students have to change the world." Secretary John King remarks at Department Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Secretary King and senior Department officials visited 11 cities in six states across the American Southeast as part of the Obama Administration’s seventh and final Back to School bus tour.  This year’s theme was “Opportunity Across America.”  Events focused on key initiatives over the eight years, highlighting the progress made to expand opportunity across the nation and the groundwork laid for continued momentum.
Read more about the tour online and on social media(#OpportunityTour).

Use the College Scorecard to Find & Compare Colleges

College Scorecard
The Department recently released its first annual update of the redesigned College Scorecard—available—to ensure that students and families have the most up-to-date, comprehensive, and reliable information available on colleges, all in an easy-to-understand format. The site allows visitors to sort and filter their search results to easily compare schools and decide which college makes the most sense when considering the typical costs, average student loan amount, students’ ability to repay their loans, and their future earnings.

Absences Add Up

Stats on Absences
Tookit Cover Page
A student who misses just two days of school each month — 18 days total in the year — is considered to be chronically absent.  In the United States, more than 6 million children are chronically absent from school each year.
Missing just two days of school per month makes children more likely to fall behind and less likely to graduate.
To combat chronic absenteeism, the Department, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the Ad Council have partnered to create a public service campaign, Absences Add Up. On the website, parents are empowered with information and resources to help ensure their children attend school each day.

Closing of ITT Educational Services, Inc. (ITT)

ITT Educational Services, Inc. (ITT) announced that it is closing all of its ITT Technical Institute campuses. ITT has increasingly been the subject of numerous state and federal investigations and in August it was determined that ITT was not in compliance, and is unlikely to become in compliance with [ACICS] Accreditation Criteria. If you are currently or were recently enrolled at ITT:  
  1. You may be eligible to have your federal student loans for your program at ITT discharged. We will post and update information about how to receive a discharge at our ITT announcements page.
  2. If you wish to continue and complete your program at a different school – especially if you are close to graduating – you may be able to transfer your credits.
Read a message from the Secretary of Education to ITT students in English or in Spanish.

7 Myths Debunked About FAFSA
You might have heard that the next FAFSA® will be available onOctober 1, 2016 as opposed to January 1, 2017. Well, it’s not a myth! If you (or your child) are planning to go to college during the 2017–18 academic year, you’ll want to make sure you have your facts straight. Check out the 7 myths about the FAFSA.

Commissioner News

The President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics advises the President and the U.S. Secretary of Education on matters pertaining to the educational attainment of the Hispanic community. 

Commissioner Dr. Lisette Nieves - Dissertation of the Year
Dr. Lisette Nieves
The Initiative wants to congratulate Dr. Lisette Nieves for being chosen for the 2016 Dissertation of the Year Award. Her dissertation, Breaking the Tradeoff Between School and Work: Community College Voices on Navigating Work and School Roles, was selected among numerous exceptional studies. She will be recognized during the awards luncheon at the National Council on Student Development Conference onMonday, October 17 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 
Commissioner Sylvia Acevedo - Interim CEO of Girl Scouts
Video Image
Sylvia Acevedo, interim CEO of Girl Scouts, presents Girl Scouts with a special patch when she meets them. To her, it signifies that girls can achieve their dreams, because she did—thanks to Girl Scouts. Sylvia, an engineer and rocket scientist by training, explains the elements on her patch and the significance behind each item in this video.
Commissioner Dr. Monica Martinez-XQ Institute
Congratulations to Dr. Monica Martinez who has accepted a role at XQ Institute where she will be responsible for leading, managing, and coordinating capacity-building for the new Super Schools Initiative.   

Find a Community College in Your State with High Salaries

Access the list of public, two-year community colleges that have the highest earnings of any community college in the state. 

Affordable Four-Year Schools with Good Outcomes

Access the list of four-year public colleges that offer their students an affordable higher education, with relatively high salaries. 


ParentCamp: Improving Literacy Outcomes
October 14, 2016 from 8AM - 12:30PM EST in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Department of Education (Department) is celebrating the first anniversary of ParentCamp, a free conference for parents and teachers, with a focus on improving literacy outcomes for all students. This ParentCamp will offer attendees an opportunity to share experiences, opinions, hopes, and ideas that will improve the education and well-being of all children and their families. 
Register NOW! 

FAFSA Reminder

Students can file as early asOctober 1, 2016, rather than beginning on January 1, 2017.   Starting with the 2017-18 FAFSA, students will use earlier income and tax information.  For example, students -- and their parents, as appropriate -- will report their 2015 income and tax information, rather than their 2016 income and tax information.  


Hispanics are nearly one in four of our public school students, but less than one in ten of our teachers. With the #LatinosTeach campaign, the Initiative features Hispanic teachers to demonstrate that while they are underrepresented, there are many Hispanics who are dedicating themselves to serving their community through teaching.

Eduardo Lopez Photo
Eduardo Lopez, High School Science Teacher, CA
Rene Muñoz, Junior High Language Arts Teacher, CA
Mario Benabe
Mario Benabe, High School Math Teacher, NY
Karla Gudiño Avila, High School Math Teacher, MI
Betzabe Gonzalez
Betzabe Gonzalez, Middle School Teacher, CA
Jose Guarradama
José Guadarrama, Elementary School Teacher, LA
Jose Gonzalez
Jose Gonzalez, Middle School Math Teacher, CA
Ricardo Salcedo
Ricardo Salcedo, Middle School Language Arts Teacher, CA
Jason Torres-Rangel
Jason Torres-Rangel, High School English Teacher, CA
Sally Paz y Mino-Wilson
Sally Paz y Miño-Wilson, Elementary School Teacher, MD
Shajena Erazo Cartagena
Shajena Erazo Cartagena, High School English/ College Prep Teacher, DC
Francisco Parra
Francisco Parra, High School Science Teacher, CA
Marvin Cano
Marvin Cano, Middle School Science Teacher, CA

Read about all the teachers featured by the Initiative. 

School Resource Officers/Campus Police

Both the Education and Justice Department’s Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS) releasedletters to states and districtsemphasizing the importance of well-designed School Resource Officer (SRO) programs and calling on leaders of higher education institutions to commit to implementing the recommendations from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing in the campus policing context.  (Education: P-12 letter and campus letter; Justice: P-12 letter and campus letter; SECURe rubrics: state and local policy and local implementation; and press callaudio and transcript).

International Education Week

Planning is underway for the 17th annual International Education Week (November 14-18).  The week gives schools, colleges and universities, and communities an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.  This year’s theme is “Promoting Cultural and Global Competencies for All”.

Empowering Students Through Nutrition

Students eating school lunches
Schools are one of the most important places students learn about nutrition and healthy eating. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a new toolkit to help families get off to a healthy start this school year by incorporating fun activities and resources into their school's back to school night or open house. 

Help Enroll Students for Health Care Coverage

As students begin the new school year, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services are calling on states and districts to help enroll students in health care coverage during school registration processes and ensure students have access to the health care coverage they need.  In support of this effort an “Insure All Children” toolkit has been released.
Research shows that children who have health care are more likely to graduate from high school and college than uninsured children, and, when eligible parents are enrolled in Medicaid, their children are more likely to receive preventative and necessary health care.

ESSA Update

The Department releasedproposed regulations to implement the requirement in Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), that federal funds must supplement, and may not supplant, state and local funding.  This proposal will help ensure that federal funds are additive and do not take the place of state and local funding in low-income schools, in keeping with the long-standing commitment under Title I that the nation’s highest-need students receive the additional resources needed to help them succeed.  The regulation would mean up to $2 billion in supplemental state and local funding for high-poverty schools (Federal Registernotice, press call audio, and NPR’s “All Things Considered”interview).

To learn how you can become an intern with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, go here. To become an intern with the U.S. Department of Education, go here.
Comments/Questions? Please send an email [Subject: "Nuestra Iniciativa"] to Initiative Deputy Director Jaqueline Cortez-Wang at
Nuestra Iniciativa contains links to other websites and news articles. These links represent just a few examples of the numerous reference materials currently available to the public. The opinions expressed in any articles or web pages do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Education or the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The inclusion of resources should not be construed or interpreted as an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education or the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics of any private organization or business listed herein.