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Gary launching new education initiative

Updated: March 10, 2014 10:29PM



GARY — Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson announced a new initiative Monday aimed at improving schools and engaging students.

Freeman-Wilson said Gary will partner with the National League of Cities and the U.S. Department of Education for a “community conversation” to discuss strategies to boost education.

Gary is one of 14 cities that’s part of the memorandum of understanding signed Monday by the NLC and the Department of Education.

The agreement outlined three priority goals — early childhood education, after-school and post-secondary attainment.

City spokeswoman Chelsea Whittington said the first session with the city’s education partners will probably take place in April, but a date has not been set yet.

Session participants will be asked to create a network of support for the K-12 educational system in the city, including after-school, mentoring and summer programs.

Urban League president and chief executive Vanessa Allen, a former Gary Community School Corp. administrator, and Eddie Melton, an official with the Northern Indiana Public Service Co., are chairing the initiative.

Gary Community School Corp. spokeswoman Sarita Stevens said the school district welcomed the initiative and has pioneered an early childhood development school, the Bethune Early Learning Center, for children ages 3 and 4. Stevens said the school serves about 730 children.

“We’re glad to come to the table, and we have a program model,” Stevens said.



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