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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to Visit Tucson and Tempe on "Strong Start, Bright Future" 2013 Back-To-School Bus Tour

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As part of the U.S. Department of Education's "Strong Start, Bright Future," back-to-school bus tour, Secretary Arne Duncan will hold events in Tucson and Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

Joined by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Secretary Duncan will start the day at Tucson Unified School District Bus Depot at 7 a.m., to discuss how school bus drivers are on the front lines of school safety efforts as students begin and end their day. Then Secretaries Duncan and Foxx will go on a school bus ride-along to Dodge Traditional Magnet School, where they will visit with students and teachers and participate in a service project to highlight the importance of citizenship and strengthening communities at 8 a.m. There will be a press availability when the secretaries arrive at the school.

Next, Duncan will visit Sunnyside High School at 10:30 a.m. to see how technology is being used to empower educators and engage students. He will talk about the administration's ConnectED initiative to ensure all schools have access to high-speed Internet in the classroom.

Later in the afternoon, Duncan will attend a community town hall at Arizona State University at 4:30 p.m., where he will discuss college affordability and how to increase the Hispanic community's educational opportunities--ultimately strengthening our nation's education system.

Finally, Duncan will visit the "Healing Field" Memorial in Tempe, Ariz., at 7 p.m. to honor victims and first-responders of the Sept. 11 attacks.

There will be a press availability after each public event.

"The strength of America's economy is inextricably linked to the strength of America's education system," said Secretary Duncan. "This year's bus tour will be an opportunity to discuss throughout the Southwest how investments in education are critical to our country's future and how state and local reforms are delivering encouraging results. Our theme of "Strong Start, Bright Future' also speaks to the importance of starting the school year off right and providing all our children with high-quality preschool to prepare them ultimately for success in college and careers."

Also in Arizona on Wednesday, other Department officials will travel the state in support of the "Strong Start, Bright Future" back-to-school bus tour.

In advance of Secretary Duncan's arrival in Phoenix on Thursday, Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Director Brenda Girton-Mitchell and Senior Advisor Ken Bedell will host a roundtable at Katy's Kids Preschool with students, families and community leaders titled, "Community and Family Engagement: ensuring students succeed."

Along with Secretary Duncan's visit to Tucson, Acting Assistant Secretary Michael Yudin will join sixteen district wellness coordinators, retired University of Arizona (UA) Men's Basketball Head Coach Lute Olson, UA Women's Basketball Head Coach Niya Butts and UA mascots Wilbur and Wilma T Wildcat at Marana Middle School (MMS) in Marana, Ariz. Yudin will highlight the First Lady's Let's Move! Active Schools program to bring physical activity back to America's schools. MMS Principal Kristin Reidy will issue a district-wide "60 minutes for 60 days" physical activity challenge and lead students, staff and parents in a dance-off, relay races and various sporting activities.

Later on Wednesday, Acting Assistant Secretary Michael Yudin will hold an event at Tonalea Elementary School in Scottsdale, Ariz. Yudin will tour the school and host a panel discussion about the challenges and successes with a Multi-Tiered System of Supports, such as Response to Intervention, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports and other school and district-wide reform approaches that may help students with disabilities, and all students, achieve better results and outcomes.

And in Bisbee, Ariz., Acting Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement Nadya Dabby will visit a 2012 Investing in Innovation (i3) Validation grantee implementation site. The National Writing Project--the grantee--is working in Bisbee School District, as well as over 40 districts across the country, to improve the delivery of professional development.

For live, up-to-the-minute updates from the road, follow the "Strong Start, Bright Future" tour on Twitter using the hashtag #edtour13, or see the department's bus tour page. To receive media advisories, press releases, notifications about postings to the blog and other special updates during the tour, subscribe to the department's "Strong Start, Bright Future" e-mail updates.


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