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President Obama Visits Kenmore Middle School

(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) President Obama chose Kenmore Middle School as the venue for a major speech on education and the future of the No Child Left Behind program this morning.

Speaking in the school’s gymnasium, Mr. Obama said No Child Left Behind must be “fixed” to improve the county’s education system. Certain parts of No Child Left Behind, the president said, are not working properly.

As evidence, Obama noted that No Child Left Behind had labeled Kenmore as “failing,” when in fact, he said, it’s “thriving.”

“We need to focus on the schools that need the most help,” Obama said.

“It’s not enough to leave no child behind,” the president added. “We need to help every child get ahead, we need to get every child on a path to academic excellence.”

Before his speech, Mr. Obama dropped by the school’s auditorium, where most of the student body had been brought to catch a glimpse of the commander-in-chief. (There was limited seating inside the gym.)

The room was buzzing with excitement as the president took the stage. After lauding the work of Kenmore’s principal and teachers, Obama told the kids about his own experience as a middle school student.

“I was at my worst, getting into trouble, visiting the Principal’s office,” he confessed. Obama explained, to scattered giggles, that boys at this age “start getting a little distracted.”

Mr. Obama then headed to a classroom, where a few lucky students shared presentations they had been working on. The presentations — which included Power Point slides, artwork and musical interludes — discussed topics from music to the Harlem Renaissance to Duke Ellington.

“That’s an excellent presentation,” Obama told one group of presenters. He told another group that their presentation was “beautiful,” and complimented the clothing choice of one boy who was wearing an “Obama” t-shirt with a peace sign inside the “O.”

Among those in attendance at the school this morning — who Mr. Obama publicly acknowledged before his speech — were Rep. Jim Moran, Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy and members of the Arlington School Board.

Earlier: President Obama seems to be making a habit of visiting Arlington’s public schools.

Fresh off visits to Wakefield High School and Long Branch Elementary, the president will be dropping by Kenmore Middle School this morning. The president is scheduled to deliver a speech on how American schools can “win the future” around 10:40 a.m., according to published reports.

Last week Kenmore was named the SMART Showcase School of the Year for its use of innovative interactive whiteboard technology.

Expect traffic issues along Route 50 and Carlin Springs Road later this morning as police prepare for the president’s motorcade.

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