U.S. Secretary of Education visits Eau Claire elementary school Monday

Miguel Cardona visited Locust Lane Elementary Monday morning to kick off a road trip across the Midwest this week.
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 3:56 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona began a tour of Wisconsin at an elementary school in Eau Claire Monday morning.

Cardona visited Locust Lane Elementary to highlight his Return To School Road Trip and to highlight a safe return to in-person instruction.

After touring the school and several classrooms, Cardona took part in an all-school pep rally outside. Cardona said that Locust Lane is the type of school he would send his own children to.

“Every classroom we went into, they talked about being happy to be back,” Cardona said. “And that’s what’s at stake, that’s what’s at stake across the country. Giving our students the chance to be back in the classroom, they’ve suffered enough so I’m so pleased to see it in action.”

Seeing the in-person learning plans in the Eau Claire Area School District drew praise from Cardona.

“It’s one thing to talk about plans, it’s another to see it in person,” Cardona said. “Eau Claire is doing it wonderfully, and I’m glad to start my tour here.”

First-grade teacher Colleen Gallaher said Cardona’s visit was well-received.

“For him to visit, it really makes us feel validated and see kids learning and the importance of being back face-to-face, in-person,” Gallaher said. “Most kids do so much better when they can learn face-to-face and do hands on activities.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited Locust Lane Elementary School in Eau Claire,...
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited Locust Lane Elementary School in Eau Claire, Wis. on Monday, September 20, 2021 as the first of nearly a dozen stops in his Return To School Road Trip across the Midwest.(Bob Gallaher / WEAU)

Fourth-grade teacher Mike Peplinski said it was a “treat” to have Cardona visit the school.

“It means a lot,” Peplinski said. “His message is very clear: We want to be better when we get back, and I think all educators say that same thing.”

Cardona said it’s the Department of Education’s job to support educators in schools and communities across the country in order to provide a welcoming environment where students can grow.

“This morning, I saw that here,” Cardona said. “I’m proud of you, because of your efforts, we are going to build back better.”

Additionally, Cardona praised the face covering requirement in the school, and spoke with teachers and students about their needs during the pandemic.

“It’s our ticket to safe re-opening for uninterrupted learning,” Cardona said about the face covering requirement. “We can prevent interrupted learning if we follow the mitigation strategies, we know what works.”

Cardona went from Eau Claire to UW-Madison Monday to speak to students in the School of Education program following his visit in Eau Claire, with plans to speak with Latinx students and students who are part of special education teaching programs.

Cardona’s Return To School Road Trip will visit five states in the Midwest, including Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. Eau Claire was the first of 11 scheduled stops on the tour, including three in Wisconsin Monday. Full details about the tour and where Cardona will visit are available on the website.

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