There has been a lot of discussion in the community regarding President Barack Obama’s speech to students that aired Sept. 8, 2009. I would like to thank the parents and other community members who took the time to share their comments and concerns with me.
The first opinions that I received came from parents concerned that the speech was going to be shown during school time and without parental permission or parental involvement. Most stated that this was an activity to be watched and discussed at home with parents and family members. Some of the opinions I received after the content of the speech was made available to the public came from parents and community members concerned that the speech was not going to be shown live to students.
The District has a procedure in place for reviewing all educational materials that are available as an instructional resource for teachers and schools. District Curriculum staff reviewed the President’s speech and applied the same criteria established for approving supplemental educational materials such as videos, magazines, books, software, etc. After review, staff felt that the speech aligned with the Sunshine State Standards and the District’s Academic Plans.
The speech was recorded by our Media Services Department staff in the same manner as all other educational related programs and was made available to teachers and schools starting on Wednesday, Sept. 9. Through subject area content and the District’s Character Education Program and its “Words of the Month” (i.e., Attitude, Preparation, Perseverance, and Responsibility,) many of our teachers have taken the opportunity to incorporate the President’s speech into their classroom instruction and have been encouraged to do so.
It was my hope that the parents who wanted their children to see this program would view it with their children at home, giving them the opportunity to respond to any questions that might have been asked. I looked at this as a great “family” activity; and a wonderful opportunity for parents and children to listen to what the President of the United States had to say, and then to sit and discuss as a family what the message meant to them.
Again, I want to thank everyone who shared their opinions with me. I always look forward to receiving comments from parents and other members of our community, and I truly respect the opinions that each of you have shared.
— James W. Browder, Ed.D.
Superintendent of School