Nationally-known educator to address Ashdown teachers

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Written by Nancy Cook

Nationally known in educational circles as "one of America's most respected new voices in education," Dr. John W. Hodge will serve as the keynote speaker for the first day of Ashdown School District's opening district-wide professional development days at Ashdown High School on Monday, Aug. 13, and then share lunch from 11:00-12:15 with all interested parents and students of the district for a more personalized discussion time.

An expert in assisting schools to make the necessary changes to help all children meet and exceed rigorous academic standards, Dr. Hodge will address the district employees from 9:30-11:00 on the topic "Closing the Achievement Gap - Helping All Students Achieve," followed by the informal luncheon with parents and students in the AHS cafeteria.  Additional time also will be spent with grade-level teachers in groups during afternoon "carousel" sessions.

A former teacher and assistant principal, Dr. Hodge is president and co-founder of Urban Learning and Leadership Center (ULLC), an organization focused on student achievement and reduction in the achievement gap. 

    He also was the driving force and director of An Achievable Dream Academy, a high performing, high poverty school in Newport News, Virginia, that has received numerous national awards.  According to the Premiere Motivational Speakers Bureau, "what sets Dr. John Hodge apart in the field of education is his well-documented ability to put research and theory into everyday practice in rural, urban and suburban schools."  He is known for his practicality and as a presenter who definitely "walks the talk."

Ashdown School District's priority focus this year is on closing its achievement gap between the high and low achievers on state assessment tests, and the district feels confident that securing Dr. Hodge to address the issue and help in developing strategies will motivate all involved parties (teachers, staff, parents, and students) to create the bridge to close the gap.

As co-author of the book Standing in the Gap, Dr. Hodge states, "Across the nation, schools are demonstrating that it can be done:  That students can reach high standards, that all children can succeed, that the gap between white and minority students, poor and affluent, can be closed." 

  Ashdown School District encourages all interested parents and students to meet Dr. Hodge at the luncheon from 11:00-12:15 in the high school cafeteria and to discuss concerns and strategies for creating and sustaining academic excellence for all students.  As Dr. Hodge emphasizes in his book, "It can be done ... it must be done ..."

For information on how to book John Hodge for your next event, visit


John Hodge: School Improvement Expert; Educating Students Socially, Academically and Morally

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