President Obama Visits Kenmore Middle School

by March 14, 2011 at 3:55 pm 6,799 41 Comments

(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.

  • Lacy Forest

    I wonder why he’s never seen at District schools.

    • Overgrown Bush

      The SS probably can’t secure them to their level of satisfaction.

      • el fat kid

        eh, funny but doubtful. might be easier at some schools, they already have the screening equipment in place (albeit not to secret service standards).

  • mehoo

    DC is an easy Democratic win in 2012; Virgina barely went for Obama last time.

    • SD

      While I agree with that, he should be going to Fairfax not liberal Arlington.

    • Nance

      Again, it’s all about the logistics. Easy drive down a main highway from the white house, easy for Secret Service to secure. If he doesn’t want to spend all day on it, Arlington is the logical choice.

  • Andrea

    It shouldn’t matter where he goes. People can be so petty. It’s about the children and their part in all this NOT where or why.

    • CW

      This is too easy…

    • CW

      Really, no one has gotten to it yet? Sigh…

  • Pingback: Region swings back to pre-recession levels; POTUS visiting Arlington school this morning; Congressman wants Thundersnow tickets waived; Last WWI veteran buried; and Alexandria ex-teacher sentenced with terror charges | Northern Virginia Magazine()

  • Sgt. Hartman

    President Obama to Visit Kenmore Middle School Reeducation Camp This Morning. [There, I fixed it.]

  • Pingback: President Obama Visits Kenmore Middle School, Arlington, VA | Arlington Housing Report()

  • Andrea

    Because that was REALLY necessary. As I said, petty people.

    -I appreciate what he’s trying to change. NCLB is a horrible program and I’m glad to see it change.

  • Mkt Common

    It’s nothing to do with VA schools & everything to do with visiting a public school that photographs well to the rest of the country & is within spitting distance of the White House. That way he gets the good PR, it’s a good relatable photo op to voters across the country & he can get in & out & back to other business quickly.

    If he’s getting benefits with VA Dem voters, well that’s just a nice attendant benefit.

  • Folks who read this between 3:55 and 4:15 p.m. — sorry for rough copy. While trying to get the article updated in time for our afternoon email newsletter, we pressed the update button before we should have. For about 20 minutes readers saw what was essentially a work-in-progress. It should be relatively grammar-mistake-free by this point.

    • Allan

      It’s getting there – replace “complemented” in “complemented the clothing choice” with “complimented” and you’ll be a lot closer!

  • When next?

    Winning? Is he taking his marketing tips from Charlie Sheen now? Schools -it’ about winning schools…

    • el fat kid

      Hah. I was wondering if he would drop this in wake of the Charlie Sheen stuff but apparently not. WTF or “Winning the Future” was unveiled a month or two ago, well before Sheen’d descent into nuttiness.

      I guess they spent too much on focus groups, designers, banners, schwag and other crap to turn back now. If the acronym didn’t dissuade them, it’s doubtful sheen will.

  • el fat kid

    This whole Arne Duncan hoopla is such a load. He has publicly stated his preference for offsetting the costs of increased testing by cutting teachers and allowing class sizes to soar. If there’s one person who plays far more dirty than the teacher’s unions, it’s Arne. You can be guaranteed that if you disagree with him over something an anonymous source will fill a WP, NYT, or some “new wave” education publication attacking your credibility and motives. Plain and simple, he is in favor of destroying neighborhood schools in favor of charter schools and commercializing a field that should not be run based on a business model.

    I have been a harsh critic of APS in the past, they generally lack focus – spending way too much on facilities and frills, but they have done an amazing job addressing the unique needs of low-income and ethnically diverse schools.

    If Arne Duncan was the superintendent, or CEO as he likes to call himself, 20 years ago, he probably would have wanted to close Kenmore and Wakefield along with several others and convert them to charter schools. Thankfully, Arlington took the opposite approach and rather than cutting and gutting as Duncan is famous for, they instituted practical reforms and continued to invest in the potential for success as neighborhood-based public schools.

  • SouthArlJD

    Both Kenmore and Wakefield are schools with very high minority populations but which have featured award-winning teaching techniques and teachers. Coupled with the extraordinarily easy access from the White House it makes sense to have the President come out to these schools, where the cameras can show a wildly diverse sea of faces, and where he can highlight a subject near and dear to his heart. This is a guy who really, really, relishes being a bookish nerd and he wants to congratulate schools and teachers which can innovate and excel and where the often poor and disadvantaged minority kids can also excel.

    • Josh S

      Well said.
      Also – WHAT a thrill for these kids, the faculty, etc. I’m too jealous. When I taught at Yorktown, we had Colin Powell come out to give a speech and that was cool enough.
      Arlington will go Democrat no matter what, but it is Virginia, now a swing state, so it helps. DC and Maryland are in the Democratic column no matter what.
      No need to waste extra time and resources going farther into Virginia. Maybe next year when the campaign in truly on.

  • Yes We Can

    At least he isn’t rounding up the troops and hopping aboard the 747 we like to call Air Force One and leaving a huge carbon footprint to go read a Dr. Seuss book to kids in North Dakota. Live and work close-by, leading by example.

    • Josh S

      Exactly. I certainly hope that was at least part of the decision-making process.

  • Arlwhenever

    That’s so precious seeing the MPD motorcycles lined up in front of the 7/11 — hope management had a chance to stock up on donuts.

    • Too Easy

      Just a banner day for sales

  • Anon

    Enough already! APS shouldn’t be letting this or any other POTUS use the schools as a prop for political advantage….

    • el fat kid

      I agree with the sentiment but… This wasn’t a campaign speech and i think it must be pretty inspiring and “cool” for any kid to see the president speak, regardless of who is in the WH.

      • Yes it was “cool” for us 🙂

    • local

      What political advantage did he get?

    • Josh S

      A bizarre and out of touch posting if ever I’ve read one….

    • SouthArlJD

      By your standard no one in politics should ever venture into the schools to give a speech supporting academic excellence and good education policies.

      The advantage of having the POTUS visit a kid’s school is priceless. Not all, but some of those kids are going to be inspired by that visit and may make a few better choices because they’re thinking of their futures. If just one kid at these schools veers away from the slippery slope of apathy and hopelessness and toward academic excellence because the President’s visit inspired him/her, then the visit is well worth it.


    • borf

      You’re living proof that we need to fix No Child Left Behind.

  • yeah you guys are jelous because he came to our schooooool(:
    Hahahahaha haters will hate <3

    • borf

      First one to post a taunt without any spelling errors wins. No winner so far.

      • Aaron

        Maybe if we spend more on ACPS salaries and benefits, the kids will spell better?

      • Josh S

        What’s extra funny is that even the emoticon is backward.
        But seriously, I’ll cut middle schoolers a lot of slack. As long as the posting isn’t profane, they’re ahead of the pack….

        • borf

          I’d cut them slack if they weren’t posting taunts. It’s my witty comeback.

    • Anonymouse

      I too, am a Kenmore student but I’m not one to brag. I don’t think this is even brag worthy; We were just lucky.

  • jb

    Well done Kenomore Middle School. It was such an historical event for the ACPS and the community for The President of the United States “Obama” to be in our presents. Sorry, that there’re arent ‘doubles’ of him to go around to all DC, VA and MD communities.


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