Community Conversations to Focus on Closing Achievement Gap, Improving Student Outcomes



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-- WITH PHOTO -- TO EDUCATION, AND NATIONAL EDITORS:

Cities Partner with U.S. Dept. of Education to Improve Schools Through

Early Childhood, Afterschool and Postsecondary Attainment Programs

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today at the

Congressional City Conference in Washington, the National League of

Cities (NLC) and the U.S. Department of Education announced the joint

signing of a "memo of understanding" (MOU) detailing a plan to

strengthen partnerships among federal and local governments, schools,

families and other organizations with the goal to advance learning,

enhance student engagement and improve schools. As part of the MOU,

NLC will hold community conversations in a number of cities across the

country this year to discuss strategies to meet three goals: early

childhood education, afterschool, and postsecondary attainment.

Community conversations will initially occur in 14 cities to bring

together local leaders, educators, families and community leaders to

discuss strategies for providing children with the foundational skills

needed to enter school ready to learn, access to high-quality

afterschool learning experiences and achieving postsecondary

attainment. The conversations will also focus on closing achievement

gaps (including for young men of color) and increasing student

outcomes, including non-academic outcomes, with specific focus on

social-emotional skills.

"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*

*Media Availability: These mayors will be attending the press

conference announcement and will be available for media interviews.

The joint 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.

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city

leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for

19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million

Americans.

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081022/NLCLOGO

SOURCE National League of Cities

-0- 03/10/2014

/CONTACT: Tom Martin, National League of Cities, 202-626-3186, martin@nlc.org

/Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081022/NLCLOGO

PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com

CO: National League of Cities

ST: District of Columbia

IN: EDU

SU: JVN EXE NPT CHI

PRN

-- DC79921 --

0000 03/10/2014 14:30:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com

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