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Obama Talks to U.S. Schoolchildren – 9-14-10

Read President Obama’s speech as prepared for delivery

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Superintendent David S. Doty appreciates the attention the President of the United States is giving our schoolchildren and the attention that he is giving to the most important policy matter of our day. At the same time, the Superintendent has always been a strong advocate for protecting the rights of conscience of both children and parents, and believes that the District’s approach in this matter is appropriately sensitive to the wide variety of political sensitivities and viewpoints in this diverse District.

The District is distributing the following letter to all parents.

September 1, 2010

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The U.S. Department of Education has announced that President Obama will give his second annual Back-to-School speech to U.S. students, which will be streamed live over the Internet on Tuesday, Sept. 14. The White House reports that the speech is an opportunity for President Obama to speak directly to students across the country.  In last year’s address, he encouraged students to study hard, stay in school, and take responsibility for their education.

We recognize that any speech by the President can cause strong feelings and reactions. However, it is part of our civic duty as school communities to instill in our young people respect for the Office of the President, and to cultivate habits of civility and courtesy toward our political leaders. We also believe any message encouraging students to work hard and strive for academic excellence is worthwhile for our students.

It is for these reasons that we have directed all Canyons District schools to broadcast the speech live on Sept 14. Nearly all of Canyons’ elementary schools have received sufficient technology upgrades to accommodate the live stream. Principals in schools that do not yet have the needed wiring will show a recorded version of the address on the same day.  Parents are welcome to view the broadcast with children at school, and are encouraged to call their school to make arrangements.  I urge you to check the White House’s Web site, www.whitehouse.gov, for updates on the President’s speech, including broadcast plans. Last year, the White House released a description of the President’s remarks in advance of the event, and we anticipate that the same will be done this year.

That said, Canyons School District respects Utah State Board of Education Rule R277-105, which states: “A parent, a legal guardian of a student, or a secondary student may request a waiver of participation in any portion of the curriculum or school activity which the requesting party believes to be an infringement upon a right of conscience ….” Parents or guardians who do not want their children to view the broadcast should fill out the “waiver of participation” on the reverse side of this letter and return it to the appropriate school. Students opting out of the President’s speech will be provided with a meaningful alternative activity.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and for partnering with us in the education of your children.


Dr. David S. Doty, Superintendent

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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