HHS Secretary Sebelius to Address National Community Schools Forum; Penn’s Gutmann to Speak Also

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Media Contact:Julie S. McWilliams | juliemcw@upenn.edu | 215-898-1422April 1, 2010


PHILADELPHIA -- U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will deliver the keynote address to more than 1,000 guests from across the country at the Coalition for Community Schools 2010 National Forum April 6-9 at the Marriott-Downtown, 1201 Market St.

Preceding the secretary’s speech at the 12:45 p.m. opening session Wednesday, April 7, University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann will join with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and Pennsylvania Education Superintendent Gerald Zahorchak to make introductory remarks. Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships is co- hosting this event with the coalition,

Sebelius will be joined by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who will take part via video, in a presentation on the connection between community schools and health.

The coalition is an alliance of organizations in education K-16+, youth development, community planning and development, family support, health and human services, government and philanthropy as well as national, state and local community school networks.

Community schools are partnerships between schools and other community resources that focus on not only academics but also health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement, thus leading to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities.

The conference sessions will feature such topics as developing community schools, Penn’s university-assisted community school model, financing, partnering with local governments, a results-based approach, philanthropy and funders as well as a number of “how- to” issues.

Jim Shelton, assistant deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, will discuss moving community schools forward during the 8:30 a.m. opening session Thursday, April 8.

Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers and Dennis Van Roekel of the Natiuonal Education Association will examine the role of teachers in community schools and why both organizations are strong advocates for community schools. The conference will conclude at 10 a.m., Friday, April 9, with a panel discussion on seeking private philanthropy by educating funders about community schools.

In addition to attending workshops and open sessions, conference participants will have two opportunities to visit their choice of 14 Philadelphia-area community schools, including the Netter Center partners Alexander Wilson Elementary School and West and Sayre High schools in West Philadelphia.

Those attending will also have the opportunity to interact with students from area community schools. Some students will assist during the site visits. Others will show some of what they’ve learned:

· African drummers, dancers and stilt walkers from Imhotep Institute Charter High School will perform during dinner at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 7, at the Marriott-Downtown.

· The Martin Luther King High School Choir will be the luncheon entertainment at 11:30 a.m., April 8, also at the Marriott.

· Teams of high school students from Kansas City and Philadelphia will face off at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, April 8, at the National Constitution, 525 Arch St., in a debate about the benefits of community schools.

Additional information about community schools, the conference agenda and speakers is available at www.communityschools.org/.