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Calhoun’s LCF Program among stops on Secretary of Education’s Seventh Annual Back-to-School Bus Tour: “Opportunity Across America”

September 2, 2016

Calhoun Community College’s program at the Limestone Correctional Facility (28779 Nick Davis Rd., Harvest, Alabama) is among the stops selected by U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. during his Seventh Annual Back-to-School Bus Tour:  “Opportunity Across America.”

According to Department of Education officials, the tour will kick off on Monday, September 12, in the nation’s capital and end in Louisiana on Friday, September 16.  Secretary King’s visit to Calhoun’s program is scheduled for Wednesday, September 14. During the stops, King and other senior Department officials will hold events touting the Administration’s key initiatives over eight years, highlighting the progress made to expand opportunity across the nation and the groundwork laid for continued momentum. 

The Department’s interest in Calhoun’s program stems from the college’s selection earlier this year as one of only 69 colleges nationwide selected to participate in the Second Chance Pell pilot program, an experiment announced in July 2015 to test whether participation in high quality education programs increases after expanding access to financial aid for incarcerated individuals.  The pilot program allows eligible incarcerated Americans to receive Pell Grants and pursue postsecondary education with the goal of helping them get jobs and support their families when they are released. 

“We are extremely pleased to have been selected by the Department of Education to participate in the Second Chance Pell program, and just as excited that Secretary King has included our program among his stops for the Back-to-School Bus Tour,” commented Calhoun President Dr. Jim Klauber.  J. F. Ingram State Technical College and Auburn University were the only other Alabama institutions selected for participation in Pell pilot program and will also be highlighted during Secretary King’s visit to LCF.  

In addition to Secretary King and officials with the Department of Education, others expected to be included in his visit are Alabama Governor Dr. Robert Bentley; Calhoun President Dr. Jim Klauber; Dr. Hank Dasinger, president of Ingram State; and Dr. Jay Gouge, president, Auburn University.

This year’s “Opportunity Across America” tour will include stops in Washington, D.C.; Charlottesville, Virginia; Bristol, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis, Tennessee; Harvest, Alabama; Little Rock, Arkansas; Indianola, Mississippi; and Monroe, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana. President Barack Obama entered office in 2009 with a comprehensive vision for improving our education system to advance our children’s opportunity and success. That vision included efforts to address the dropout crisis, improve student achievement, and increase graduation rates; expand equity in education through stronger schools; ensure all students achieve high standards that prepare them for college and career; and grow innovation and investment in what works, while safeguarding the right of all students to a world-class education.

Thanks to the hard work of educators, state and local leaders, communities, parents, families, and students, the nation has made significant educational progress over the last eight years. High school graduation rates are at an all-time high, and the dropout rate has decreased—with all groups making progress, and students of color closing gaps. The nation has a new education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, passed with bipartisan support and signed by President Obama in December 2015 that offers the chance to reclaim the promise of an excellent, well-rounded education for every student. More states have implemented their own unique plans for education reform and school turnarounds. More individuals now have access to programs to offset the rising costs of higher education, including expanding Pell Grants and making student debt more manageable. More students and families have access to the information they need to make the best choice about college—from easier and now earlier financial aid to the next generation of college transparency with tools like College Scorecard. And more students have access to pre-K, free community college, and computer science classes. 

Below are preliminary details of Secretary King’s visit to the area on September 14, 2016.  The event will include a press availability with King and local leaders.  Press will be allowed to cover Secretary King’s arrival at 8:30 a.m. as well as the press conference, scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.

The deadline for media to RSVP via email to bob.horton@doc.alabama.gov is 5 p.m. (CST) on September 9, 2016.  Additional instructions will be provided to the media once confirmed.   

Follow the bus tour on social media at #OpportunityTour.
EVENT 1
TOPIC: Rally to celebrate eight years of expanding opportunity across America and bus send-off 
WHEN: Monday morning, Sept. 12
WHERE: Front Courtyard, Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building, 400 Maryland Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 
EVENT 2
TOPIC Investing in Innovation (i3) and Computer Science for All 
WHEN: Monday afternoon, Sept. 12
WHERE: Buford Middle School, 1000 Cherry Ave., Charlottesville, Virginia 
EVENT 3
TOPIC: ConnectED
WHEN Tuesday morning, Sept. 13
WHERE: Vance Middle School, 815 Edgemont Ave., Bristol, Tennessee 
EVENT 4
TOPIC: America’s College Promise
WHEN:Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 13
WHERE: Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, Tennessee 
EVENT 5
TOPIC: Teacher Leadership and Lifting up Educators
WHEN: Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 13
WHERE: Battle Academy, 1601 Market St., Chattanooga, Tennessee 
EVENT 6
TOPIC: Criminal Justice Reform and Second Chance Pell
WHEN: Wednesday morning, Sept. 14
WHERE: Limestone Correctional Facility, 28779 Nick Davis Rd., Harvest, Alabama 
NOTE: As this event is at a correctional facility, protocols on media RSVPs to follow in more detail
EVENT 7
TOPIC: College Scorecard and FAFSA 
WHEN: Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 14
WHERE: Craigmont High School, 3333 Covington Pike, Memphis, Tennessee 
EVENT 8
TOPIC: Preschool for All 
WHEN: Thursday morning, Sept. 15
WHERE: Pike View Early Childhood Center, 441 McCain Blvd., North Little Rock, Arkansas 
EVENT 9
TOPIC: Promise Neighborhoods
WHEN: Thursday afternoon, Sept. 15
WHERE: Carver Elementary School, 404 Jefferson St., Indianola, Mississippi 
EVENT 10
TOPIC: Race to the Top and teacher leadership
WHEN: Thursday evening, Sept. 15
WHERE: Sallie Humble Elementary School, 3800 Westminster Ave., Monroe, Louisiana 
EVENT 11
TOPIC: Visit with Baton Rouge educators and students impacted by flooding 
WHEN: Friday morning, Sept. 16
WHERE: University Terrace Elementary, 575 W Roosevelt St., Baton Rouge, Louisiana 
EVENT 12
TOPIC: College access, affordability, and completion event 
WHEN: Friday morning, Sept. 16
WHERE: Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 
EVENT 13
TOPIC: Turning around struggling schools 
WHEN: Friday afternoon, Sept. 16
WHERE: Cohen College Prep, 3520 Dryades St., New Orleans, Louisiana