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Gary to Hold Community Conversation on Schools

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Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson announced today that Gary will partner with the National League of Cities and the U.S. Department of Education to hold a “community conversation” to discuss strategies to advance learning, enhance student engagement and improve schools. Unveiled today at National League of Cities' Congressional City Conference in Washington DC, a “memorandum of understanding” was signed with the Department of Education that outlines three goals for cities to focus on: early childhood education, afterschool and postsecondary attainment. Gary's event will will be about creating a network of support for the kindergarten-through-12 educational system in the city, including afterschool programs, mentoring programs, and summer programs. Community conversations will initially occur in 14 cities.
“This is a great opportunity for the city of Gary to discuss an issue that is of universal concern to local residents and paramount to the future viability of our community. We understand that many of young people are concerned with basic issues such as food, clothing and shelter. This fact makes it difficult to focus on the demands of school and we have to provide extra support to the children and educators to insure the achievement of our students. We will invite all parties who hold the best interests of our children to join in this conversation.”
This work in Gary will be an extension of the discussion initiated by the Educational Committee of the New Day Task Force prior to Freeman-Wilson taking office. The Committee is chaired by Urban League President and CEO Dr. Vanessa Allen and NIPSCO Corporate Citizenship & Employee Involvement Officer Eddie Melton. Both organizations will be partners in facilitating the Community Conversation.
“We are proud to partner with the Department of Education in this extremely important effort to provide better educational opportunities to children nationwide,” said NLC President Chris Coleman, Mayor of Saint Paul, Minn.
“This ‘memo of understanding’ expands a local-federal partnership that is focused on supporting local efforts to improve schools and close the achievement gap. Through our ‘community conversations’ with local leaders, families and community organizations, we can formulate actionable strategies that improve educational opportunities for all.”
“We know strong schools are at the heart of strong communities,” added U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “That’s why we’re excited about this new effort with the National League of Cities to help local leaders form partnerships with families and educators, which will better ensure that every child has the opportunity to access a high-quality education, and, ultimately, that every American has the chance to pursue their dreams.”
Community Conversation Participating Cities & Mayors
Avondale, Ariz. – Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers
Berkeley, Calif. – Mayor Tom Bates
Dayton, Ohio – Mayor Nan Whaley
Gary, Ind. – Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson
Hattiesburg, Miss. – Mayor Johnny Dupree
Kansas City, Mo. – Mayor Sly James
Louisville, Ky. – Mayor Greg Fischer
Madison, Wis. – Mayor Paul Soglin
Memphis, Tenn. – Mayor A C Wharton
Phoenix, Ariz. – Mayor Greg Stanton
Pittsburgh, Pa. – Mayor William Peduto
Saint Paul, Minn. – Mayor Chris Coleman
Salt Lake City, Utah – Mayor Ralph Becker
Savannah, Ga. – Mayor Edna Branch Jackson
The MOU announcement was made at NLC’s annual Congressional City Conference held at the Marriott Wardman Park March 8-12. More than 2,000 local elected officials and leaders convened for the conference to focus on the federal policy issues that are important to local governments.


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