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Statement on presidential address

On Tuesday, September 8 at 11 a.m. (central time), President Obama and the U.S. Department of Education are planning a nationally-televised address to students about the importance of education.  (See the U.S. Department of Education for for more information.)

Some of our principals received an e-mail about the speech from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan this week.  The e-mail indicated the goals of the speech will be to challenge students to stay in school, work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their school work. Secretary Duncan also stated the speech will emphasize the shared responsibility parents and educators have in the education of our youth.

This has prompted some to ask what Parkway plans to do, if anything, to make the speech available to our students.  Below is a summary of the response Parkway is providing to these questions.  Superintendent Malito also shared this information with principals this week:

1. We appreciate that this broadcast is intended to promote education and encourage students to work hard in school.

2. However, Parkway does not require schools to participate in this type of event.  This position is consistent with guidance we received from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education about the speech.

3. Individual building principals or teachers may decide to broadcast the speech to certain classes if it is relevant to the curriculum and classroom activities.  In such cases, students should have the option of not participating, and teachers should be prepared to offer an appropriate alternative lesson for students wishing not to participate.

4. We place the highest priority on preserving instructional time in the best interest of our students and teachers, so we try to avoid participating in stand-alone activities unless they can be integrated into the existing curriculum.

5. The speech will be broadcast at 11 a.m., which is lunch or recess time at many of our schools.  We do not plan to pull students out of lunch or recess on Tuesday.

6. The speech could be taped and played later in events after school, such as social studies club activities if the faculty sponsor feels it is appropriate.

7. With current technology, there are many other ways students and families could view the speech later if they choose.  Parkway will record the speech and make it available for future use by our teachers and administrators.

Visit Parkway's Facebook page to join the discussion about this topic  --Parkway Facebook.