In a showcase of public, private and parochial schools, today’s Tribune Education Expo will give parents the chance to research the best education options for their children.
The expo, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the East Valley Institute of Technology, 1601 W. Main St. in Mesa, is free and will feature informative displays and booths from 10 school districts, five private schools and 22 charter schools.
"The East Valley is blessed with high-quality schools," said Tribune Executive Editor Jim Ripley. "I think parents will come away with an appreciation of the quality options they have so they can make the best decision for their child."
The expo also will provide an opportunity for parents to hear from experts on issues that impact learning: Early brain development, nutrition, self-esteem and community involvement.
Dr. Scott Rigden, a Tempe family doctor specializing in bariatrics, nutrition and weight management, will show parents how to improve their children’s diets.
"We’re going to talk about how to make changes within the family unit and stay positive," he said. "There will be hints on healthier snacks that can promote overall better performance in school."
At 10:30 a.m., State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne will speak on his three main initiatives for this year: Better schools, better teachers and better curriculum. He plans to stress that schools must balance state-tested subjects of reading, writing and math with the arts, science and social studies.
A classically trained pianist, Horne also will kick off a day of performances that includes:
• 10 a.m., Mesa’s Poston Junior High School Jazz Ensemble
• 11 a.m., Tempe’s Connolly Middle School Jazz Band
• 1 p.m., Gilbert’s Technical and Leadership Academy drill and rifle demonstration
• 1:30 to 3 p.m., dancers, cheer teams and music groups from Carmel Community Arts and Technology School, Center for Educational Excellence, Camelot Charter School for the Performing Arts, Legacy Schools, International School of Arizona and Eagle’s Aerie Charter School.
At 11 a.m. in the auditorium, 26 East Valley students will vie for $1,000 in the R.C. Hoiles Tribune Current Events Challenge. Hoiles founded Freedom Communications Inc., which includes the Tribune. The finalists were drawn from correct entries submitted each week to the newspaper’s School Matters page.
At 12:30 p.m., expogoers will get a taste of the state and national premier scholastic competition, the Academic Decathlon. Speeches from this year’s competition will be presented by Matt Rolland, a student at Mesa’s Westwood High School and gold medalist in the state decathlon, and four students from Mesa’s Mountain View High School team — Greta Baranowski, Kate Ernzen, Marshall Hunt and Collette Mann — which placed second in the nation at the U.S. Academic Decathlon.
Horne said the expo is a good opportunity for parents to educate themselves.
"In Arizona, we have gone with the philosophy of school choice," he said. "But the assumption of that is that parents will be well-informed. I hope parents will inform themselves so they can make the best choices."
This is the first time the Tribune has hosted an education expo.
"If this event proves to be valuable to parents and to our schools, we’ll do it again," Ripley said.
If you go
What: Tribune Education Expo, an offering of public and private schools, educational speakers, student performances and children’s activities
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today
Where: East Valley Institute of Technology, 1601 W. Main St., Mesa
Cost: Free. EVIT also is offering free child care for children younger than 5.
Information: A program and map of exhibits will be available at the door.