Starting Fresh

Speaking with parents at Latino Family Night, hosted by Bethel Unified School District in Eugene, OR

It’s been a busy few weeks across the country, as schools, teachers, and students all head back to school. This has always been one of my favorite times in the year – especially when I was a teacher back in California – as there’s a sense of newness, and a sense of starting something fresh, that’s so exciting when it comes to heading back to school.

This fall, I celebrated back-to-school with events from coast to coast, first visiting a number of states in the Delta with Secretary Duncan’s Bus Tour and then heading west to meet with teachers, administrators, and students in Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico. It was certainly refreshing for me to spend this time visit schools and celebrate the excellent teaching and learning that’s to come.

I’m using this idea of starting fresh to kick off this site for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) at the U.S. Department of Education. I hope this site will be a place where we can share with you the work that’s happening within OESE, and how our work will better support students, teachers, and schools moving forward.

I would love to hear your ideas and feedback – just email me at and I’ll do my best to address your concerns through this blog.

Dr. Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana
Assistant Secretary, OESE