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Day 1 of NEA back-to-school tour wraps up in Denver

Stop highlighted effective teacher-and union-led school transformation models

Denver - August 23, 2010 -

National Education Association (NEA) President Dennis Van Roekel kicked off a five-day, six-city back-to-school tour in Denver today. In addition to energizing staff about the upcoming school year, Van Roekel highlighted two successful teacher- and union-led innovative school transformation efforts. He was joined by Colorado Education Association (CEA) President Beverly Ingle and Denver Classroom Teachers Association President (DCTA) Henry Roman as well as dozens of Association members.
The three education leaders visited the Math and Science Leadership Academy, a new teacher-led public school where educators collaborate on all aspects of the school’s operation. And they met with the teachers and administrators at Lake International Baccalaureate Middle School who are taking part in a groundbreaking employee and management partnership in transformation.
“For long-term, sustainable school transformation, shared responsibility and collaboration are essential,” said Van Roekel. “All stakeholders must be at the table, working together for the benefit of students.” 
“The collaboration underway here in Denver with the Math and Science Leadership Academy deserves special mention. In this union-led school transformation effort, teachers are working together on everything from curriculum to peer review to professional development. This is a prime example of great things happening in public schools.”
Van Roekel also visited Lake International Baccalaureate Middle School, which is beginning its first year of transformation. Educators, parents and the DCTA worked collaboratively all summer long on the plan to improve academic achievement, even taking on the task of recruiting students.
“It is very exciting to have NEA President Dennis Van Roekel here to help kick off the school year in Denver,” said CEA’s Ingle. “There is so much good collaborative work going on for the benefit of our students.  We are pleased to shine the light on these efforts and the impact they are having on students and the teaching staff and other professionals who work in our schools.”
The beginning of the school year, always an important time for students and educators, is also a good time to engage parents and the community. And that’s important because research shows that parent, family, and community involvement correlates with higher academic performance and school improvement. When parents are engaged in their children’s education, students are more motivated, they get better grades, and they are less likely to drop out.
“Everyone gets excited during back-to-school time, but we have to come up with creative yet practical ways to sustain that energy all year long,” said NEA’s Van Roekel. “We want parents involved throughout the school year and at every grade level.”
On to Columbia, Missouri
The NEA back-to-school tour next moves to Columbia, Mo., where Van Roekel will award a $10,000 NEA grant to expand parent and community involvement in Columbia’s public schools. NEA has given millions of dollars in grants in other communities to support efforts to close achievement gaps. He also will meet with educators at West Junior High School and Jefferson Junior High School to welcome them and their students back to school. 

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez (202) 822-7823,