The first-ever Tribune Education Expo will showcase talented students, informative speakers, and what East Valley schools have to offer a booming child population.
The free event — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 24 at the East Valley Institute of Technology, 1601 W. Main St., Mesa — will feature booths and displays by 10 school districts, five private schools, and 22 charter schools.
The Arizona Department of Education, Raising Arizona Kids magazine, and Salt River Project also will be on-hand to provide educational information to parents.
"Arizona is the fastestgrowing state in children under 5," said Tribune Executive Editor Jim Ripley. "We saw the expo as a way to bring parents, schools and kids together to help parents make the best, most informed decision about their child’s education."
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne will be the first of several speakers on a range of topics. Horne’s address will look at the importance of social studies, science and the arts in a school curriculum. A classically trained pianist, Horne also will provide musical entertainment.
Other speakers and topics include:
• Dr. Scott Rigden, a Tempe physician, "Nutrition for Mood, Mind, Memory, and Behavior."
• Dr. Jill Stamm, director of New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development, "Neuroscience Enters the Nursery."
• Steve Rogers, a teacher and coach with the Gilbert Unified School District, "Self-Esteem and Parental Involvement."
• Deb Bertolet, director of the service learning project for the Mesa Unified School District, "Student Learning through Community Service Activities."
At 11 a.m., 26 East Valley students will compete for a $1,000 prize in the final round of the Tribune Current Events Challenge. The finalists are being selected each week from correct entries sent in to the current events quiz on the newspaper’s School Matters page.
In addition, dancers, cheer teams, choirs and musical groups from several East Valley schools will perform, and several students will present award-winning Arizona Academic Decathlon speeches.
A children’s planetarium from the Mesa school district, bouncy jumpers and face painters also will be available, and refreshments will be sold by EVIT culinary arts students.
EVIT will offer guided tours of the high-tech vocational school, and provide free child care to kids under 5.
Educators plan to use the expo to convince parents that their schools are right for their children.
Debra Gomez, assistant superintendent in the Tempe Elementary School District, said she wants parents to see how passionate Tempe educators are about their vocation and dedication to children.
Mike Cowan, assistant superintendent in the Mesa district, added, "I anticipate parents will quickly understand the wealth of opportunities we can provide students in Mesa public schools."
Mary Gifford, a nationally known school choice advocate and director of Arizona Virtual Academy, relishes the competition the expo is stirring.
"This is school-choice nirvana, a parent’s best dream," she said. "I don’t know anywhere else in the country where something like this is going on."
April 18: Read letters from parents about their children’s schools in the Tribune Perspective section.
April 19: Find a map and complete program of events in the Tribune Education Expo special section.
April 19: Meet finalists in the Tribune Current Events Challenge on the School Matters page.
Information: (480) 898-6370