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President Obama’s Nationwide Address to Students - Update from Superintendent Jeffrey Hubbard, September 7, 2009

September 7, 2009

Dear Newport-Mesa Families,
Happy Labor Day!   I hope you have enjoyed some time with your family and friends this holiday weekend. I am truly excited about the start of school tomorrow in Newport-Mesa and I look forward to seeing returning parents and students and meeting new families.
I want to offer additional clarity regarding my decision not to air the President’s speech live at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, and the basis for it.
The District never received any direct communication from the President’s Office about the planned live address. Apparently, a letter was sent directly to all principals nationwide on August 26 from Secretary Arne Duncan, advising them of the address. The District did not find out about the planned address until Wednesday, September 2 at 3:00 p.m., when we received a call from another district asking about how we planned to handle the address. We immediately began to review our options. 
As part of our review, it was immediately determined that the District does not have the technological capabilities to stream the President’s speech live, district-wide.   We were advised that in doing so, we could bring down the entire internet system for the District, which means no one would see the speech and all other activities, such as student registration, would also be halted. 
In the midst of our Wednesday night review, we began to research what our neighboring districts were planning to do. It was clear that our neighboring school districts were utilizing a common practice of allowing parents the opportunity to opt out if they chose not to have their student view the live speech.   
I attempted to find a middle ground solution that would respect the President and also the community of students and families of the Newport Mesa School District.
So, based on the following factors, I made my decision not to air the President’s speech live at 9:00 a.m.:
  • Technologically, we cannot support the live streaming of the President’s speech, district-wide.
  • It’s the first day of school and there is strong potential for disruption with our registration, enrollment and class list systems which would cause significant delays to our students and families.
  • We will capture the President’s speech which can be replayed at a later date that will be able to be supported technologically and allow for parents to opt their students out of the activity if they choose.
  • The District will not be making the decision about the replay as we have left that in the capable hands of our teachers and principals who can determine the best approach for their individual school site.
  • We are aware that the text of the speech has been made public today, Monday, September Unfortunately, since today is a National holiday, we are not in session and offices are closed. Even with the text available, we still cannot stream it live nor can we meet the notification to parents.

I have included a link to the President’s speech attached to this message. I look forward to watching the speech myself later this week with my 8 year old daughter. 

I am happy to hear from you and I understand this decision does not meet with everyone’s approval.  I can assure you, this decision was not politically charged in any way.  I look forward to a great school year.  I can be reached at
Dr. Jeffrey Hubbard, Superintendent
Posted by: Laura Boss, District Admin, Newport Mesa Unified School District Published:9/7/09
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