County schools will allow teachers to show Obama address
by Jason Collins
Sep 04, 2009 | 577 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Beeville, Skidmore and Pettus school district superintendents say that they plan to utilize Tuesday’s presidential address to students as a teaching tool.

In all three cases, the video will be shown as it fits into lesson plans most likely in a recorded form at a later date.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, “During this special address, the president (Barack Obama) will speak directly to the nation’s children and youth about persisting and succeeding in school.

“The president will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning.”

BISD Superintendent Dr. John Hardwick Jr. said that the decision of viewing either the live or recorded version of the speech will be left to the teachers.

“We are not going to shut down everything,” he said, saying that classes will continue as usual.

Teachers, Hardwick said, have the option of using the speech as part of their curriculum and developing questions and having open discussions.

“We always encourage our teachers to use the window of opportunity and use current events to motivate students,” he said. “The teachers are also expected to make sure they don’t lean on the students or try to influence the students to their own opinion.”

Skidmore-Tynan Superintendent Dr. Brett Belmarez said that they would follow similar guidelines.

“We won’t be interrupting classes for this viewing,” he said. “We are not afforded the luxury of taking time out to do this.”

Belmarez said that while they won’t be interrupting classes, teachers have the option of showing the address during class if it fits within their curriculum.

“Each individual campus will make that decision with teachers,” he said.

For youngsters in the elementary grades, the viewing time, 11 a.m., is in the middle of their lunch period.

Belmarez said that those students who wish to see it also can view the recorded version on the government Web site. This same recording can also be used by teachers wanting to incorporate it into their curriculum.

The decision not to interrupt class was not politically motivated, Belmarez said, echoing the comments of the other superintendents.

“Oh Lord, no,” he said adding that some of the teachers did show the presidential inauguration during class and that it was used as part of the curriculum.

At Pettus ISD, Superintendent Tucker Rackley said that they will show a recorded version of the address to students but not the live version.

“We are going to record it and later during the week we are going to incorporate that into our social studies classes in the 4-12 grades.”

For those parents concerned about the broadcast, a permission letter was sent out this past week.

Parents, after viewing Tuesday’s broadcast, either live or recorded, can then return the permission slip either giving permission or declining.

“There is a lot of controversy and parents are concerned,” Rackley said. “I want to put this into the hands of the parents.”

A call to the Pawnee superintendent was not immediately returned.
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