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W.K. Kellogg Foundation participates in key discussions at NBC News’ Education Nation New Orleans Summit

Keith Aikens

NEW ORLEANS – NBC News’ Education Nation On-the-Road tour arrives in New Orleans this week, where W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) leaders will engage with NBC News correspondents, the region’s thought leaders, educators, students and other stakeholders in discussions around improving educational opportunities and outcomes for children in southeastern Louisiana. The Education Nation New Orleans Summit will begin on Friday, April 12 at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and continue through the weekend. A portion of the programming will be aired on NBC News’ New Orleans affiliate, WDSU, and the entire program will be live-streamed on www.educationnation.com.  

La June Montgomery Tabron, executive vice president for operations and treasurer at the Kellogg Foundation, will introduce the first panel on early childhood education, a topic the foundation has long-supported as a key strategy to improve long-term educational outcomes for the nation’s most vulnerable students. 

“We know that children who receive quality early care and a solid educational foundation through third grade are much more likely to achieve long-term academic success, which leads to greater career opportunities and life experiences,” said Montgomery Tabron. “Providing early education for this city’s most vulnerable children will help break the cycle of multi-generational poverty that has impacted the New Orleans community for many years. It’s time we make this a city-wide priority. ”  

Since 2008, shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated some of the city’s most vulnerable communities, the Kellogg Foundation made a commitment to work alongside community-based organizations for at least a generation, naming it a priority place. Currently, the foundation supports 29 community-based programs with a total investment of $20 million; several of the foundation’s grantees will share their success stories, lessons learned and insights for scaling up models that work at the summit.     

William Buster, the foundation’s director of Mississippi and New Orleans programs, will introduce  a Student Town Hall session, which will bring forward candid insights from students who can speak firsthand about what is working, what isn’t and what more is needed to engage and inspire students to excel in school. “A central strategy for our work in New Orleans is to create a child-centered city that, with key investments in our most precious resource, will over time yield better educational outcomes, healthier, more stable families and communities and a stronger regional economy,” said Buster. 

This is the third year the Kellogg Foundation has worked with NBC News on Education Nation, as a way to build support for child-centered approaches to some of the nation’s most pressing challenges, including education, public health and family economic security. The New Orleans Summit is part of Education Nation’s On-the-Road tour which seeks to elevate community dialogues on education in Detroit, New Orleans and Phoenix. 

Hoda Kotb, co-anchor for the fourth hour of “Today” and WDSU News Anchor Sula Kim will moderate the panels on Friday. Other panel topics include a focus on the lessons and challenges associated with turning around failing schools and a discussion of the skills and knowledge required of the 21st century workforce and the importance of preparing Louisiana’s students to compete in a global economy.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. 

About “Education Nation”
“Education Nation” seeks to create a thoughtful, well-informed dialogue with policymakers, thought-leaders, educators, parents and the public, in pursuit of the shared goal of providing every American with an opportunity to achieve the best education in the world. These discussions cover the challenges, potential solutions and innovations spanning the education landscape. By providing quality information to the public, NBC News hopes to educate Americans so they can make decisions about how best to improve our education system both in the near and long terms, and to shine a spotlight on one of the most urgent national issues of our time.

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