Tag Archives: 2010

President Obama Honors 2010 National Teacher of the Year

Posted by: WillieBeyond
Written by Sarah Brown Wessling

Is this where I pinch myself?

2010 National Teacher of the Year award recipient Sarah Brown Wessling (C) of Johnson Community School District in Iowa speaks as President Barack Obama (R), and Education Secretary Arne Duncan (L) listen during a Rose Garden ceremony April 29, 2010 at the White House in Washington, DC. Presenting the award has been a presidential tradition since Harry Truman. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

Earlier today, I was honored to join President Obama, Secretary Duncan, and Dr. Biden in the Rose Garden of the White House to accept the National Teacher of the Year award.

I couldn’t be more overwhelmed and humbled by this honor. I was joined by the most remarkable assemblages of teachers – the 2010 State Teachers of the Year – I have known. Each is gifted and passionate about the work he or she does; yet, together we are galvanized in our shared vision of what teaching and learning can be. My family, my administrators, some of my own teachers and former students, along with many representatives from the State of Iowa were also in attendance. In front of us all is the collective responsibility to create hope and opportunity for every child in this country.

I think there is a misconception about this honor, that its purpose is to differentiates one teacher from another. Rather, this honor is about our similarities, about what unites us. It’s the deliberateness I share with Daniel, the design I share with Kate, the attention to students I share with Melissa, the pursuit of ideas I share with Ed – all of these teachers here and from home. It is about the purpose I share with each educator standing here today.

If you were to come into my classroom, the first thing you would notice is that my desk is in the back corner, despite the building design to make it otherwise. This placement is but an outward sign of an implicit philosophy, that teaching must be learner-centered.

“The desk in the back of the room” displaces hierarchies, creates an environment where a teacher becomes a lead learner, and evolves into a web of interdependence where the classroom walls become boundless. When we embrace this open-model of learning, the consumers of our curriculum will become designers of their own learning.

It is in these moments of learning that I fondly think of my students. I am here because my students couldn’t be. When we listen to them, their message is clear: Labria would say she deserves worthy learning experiences; Robert would want to be seen as an individual, not as a number or the score on an exam; Meredith would clamor for innovative curriculum; Jasmina would say she deserves passionate teachers. They all would say we need 21st century teachers, not just adults teaching in the 21st century.

Our dream for our students is the same dream we have for our own children, to be recognized for their strengths, to learn from their weaknesses and to be seen as a person of infinite potential.

We are facing tough times in education when it may be difficult to find what to hold onto, but each learner is a story. I see the world in stories and I believe it is these stories that will sustain and teach us. They will challenge and sometimes confuse us. But in the same way that I believe in the transformative power of language to unite us, I am certain that the stories of our students will sustain us.

The 2010 Teachers of the Year are here because our students couldn’t be, because their stories compel us to be here, because we couldn’t be anywhere else.

Sarah Brown Wessling is a high school English teacher at Johnston High School in Johnston, Iowa, and the recipient of this year’s National Teacher of the Year Award.

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Filed under Children, Education, Pres. Barack Obama, Secretary Arne Duncan (Sec of Education), Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube

Dr. Jill Biden Thanks 2010 National Teachers of the Year

Posted by: TheLCster

Dr. Jill Biden introduces Vice President Joe Biden during a reception for the National Teachers of the Year at the Vice President's residence at the Naval Observatory Residence, April 26, 2010. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

On Monday evening, Dr. Jill Biden hosted the 2010 National Teachers of the Year reception to congratulate teachers across the country for making a difference in their students’ lives. She was joined by the Department of Education’s Undersecretary Thelma Melendez and Chief of Staff Margot Rogers.

Dr. Biden said being surrounded by teachers at the reception made it one of her “absolute favorite events of the year”:

“Just like each of you – I see day in and day out in my classroom the critical importance of education to the lives of Americans and the success of our nation.

I love being a teacher because I see that I can make a difference in the lives of my students. Regardless of the subject I’m teaching, my goal is to impart a sense of confidence in my students that will give them the strength to move in a positive direction.

I know each of you here tonight could share similar stories about your students who have been inspired by something you have taught them – and have, in turn, inspired you.

You stand here as the best of the best – each being honored this week for going above and beyond for your students, and our country.

So – on behalf of myself, my husband the Vice President, and President and Mrs. Obama – I want to say Thank You.”

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Filed under Children, Dr. Jill Biden, Education, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, Vice-President Joe Biden

President Obama Announces Vote 2010

There are only 190 days until the 2010 election.

Many of you have been at work long before now. You’ve held strategy sessions all across the country to discuss how to most effectively help candidates in your community who are fighting to bring about change.

At OFA headquarters, we’ve been poring over your ideas, your input, and the best data we can get our hands on to determine the most helpful role we can play.

Together, based on that feedback, we’ve crafted a comprehensive electoral plan that can make a big difference in the upcoming elections.

President Obama recorded a video message to share our goals for 2010 with you — and to remind us what’s at stake. Watch it now.

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We’ve accomplished a lot together. But we’re in for a tough fight this fall.

Historical trends aren’t in our favor — the president’s party generally loses seats in the first midterm election. And even though President Obama has taken bold steps like the Recovery Act to put us back on the path to prosperity, escaping from a financial crisis like this one takes time.

The prognosticators and pundits are predicting steep losses for the Democrats. The Republicans are already measuring the drapes for their new offices, saying that anything short of an electoral landslide that gives them back control of Congress won’t be a victory.

But these are the same folks who said Barack Obama could never become president, the same ones who said we were trying to do too much, too fast — and that we’d never pass historic health reform. They were wrong then, and they’re wrong now.

I believe we can avoid the nightmare electoral scenario that Republicans in Washington have already convinced themselves will happen. But only if we work together.

Two years ago, we challenged a group of young and disaffected voters to participate in the 2008 election. They cast votes for the very first time and helped us elect a new president. You told us that your top priority for 2010 was to help these people head back to the polls — and we built our plan around that goal.

President Obama has America heading in the right direction. But our opponents want to repeal health reform. They’re standing with Wall Street banks to block any efforts to rein in reckless behavior and protect consumers. And they’re attacking a foreign policy that has renewed America’s standing in the world. They are eager to undo all we’ve done.

The stakes are high. And that’s the level of commitment we need from you. So watch the President introduce our 2010 plan — and find out how you can get involved in the fight

It’s a pleasure to continue our work together,

David Plouffe

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Filed under 2010 Elections, Change, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized

Earth Day 2010 Round Up from Across the Obama Administration

Posted by: Audiegrl

It’s been a busy Earth Day here at the White House and around the Administration.  Yesterday Vice President Biden kicked off the Administration’s Earth Day Celebration by announcing $452 million in Recovery Act funding to support a “Retrofit Ramp-Up.” This program will create thousands of jobs and allow these communities to retrofit hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses while testing out innovative strategies that can be adopted all over the country.  President Obama also issued a Presidential Proclamation on Earth Day calling on Americans to join in the spirit of the first Earth Day forty years ago to take action in their communities to make our planet cleaner and healthier.

This afternoon, Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, hosted a live chat on WhiteHouse.gov to answer your questions about how the Administration is working to improve the environment and build a clean energy economy that supports the jobs of the future.  This evening, the President hosted an Earth Day reception in the Rose Garden at the White House where he discussed some of the challenges that lie ahead in achieving a clean energy economy:

I think we all understand that the task ahead is daunting; that the work ahead will not be easy and it’s not going to happen overnight.  It’s going to take your leadership.  It’s going to take all of your ideas.  And it will take all of us coming together in the spirit of Earth Day — not only on Earth Day but every day — to make the dream of a clean energy economy and a clean world a reality.

Over on the Social Innovation and Civic Participation blog, guest blogger and former Peace Corps volunteer Kelly McCormack shares here story about a community solution to an environmental problem in Gautemala.

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Finally, President Obama’s cabinet and other senior government officials fanned out across the country as part of the Administration’s 5-day celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.  From live chats, to announcing major investments in renewable energy, to appearing on the David Letterman show – all-in-all a busy day!

  • Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson
    Both EPA and Earth Day celebrate their 40th birthdays this year!  On Earth Day, Administrator Jackson joined Green For All at the Grant Houses Community Garden in Manhattan to take a tour of the garden, deliver remarks to students and volunteers and participate in a planting activity with volunteers.  Later tonight catch her on the David Letterman Show to talk about the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and the President’s clean energy and green jobs agenda. Check out EPA’s Earth Day website to learn more about what they are doing to celebrate 40 years of going green!
  • Energy Secretary Steven Chu
    On the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the Department will invest more than $200 million over five years to expand and accelerate the development, commercialization, and use of solar and water power technologies throughout the United States.
  • Commerce Secretary Gary Locke
    Secretary Locke spoke in Jersey City, N.J., at the Lincoln Park restoration project that is turning a landfill into a healthy wetland. NOAA funded this habitat restoration project through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
  • White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley
    Chair Sutley will deliver remarks at the Earth Day Network’s 40th Anniversary of Earth Day festivities on the National Mall this Sunday.  Today she shared her personal reflections on Earth Day on the White House blog.
  • Labor Secretary Hilda Solis
    Earlier today Secretary Solis hosted a webchat to discuss issues and opportunities related to Earth Day. The Department of Labor also issued a report detailing green job training opportunities made available over the past year, including $490 million in Recovery Act funding for green jobs training.
  • Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki
    Secretary Shinseki awarded $20.2 million to install solar energy systems at 18 VA medical centers through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
  • Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus
    Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus celebrated Earth Day by attending a flight test of the “Green Hornet,” an F/A-18 Super Hornet multirole fighter jet powered by a biofuel blend. Secretary Mabus has made the exploration and adoption of alternative fuels a priority for the Navy and Marine Corps.
  • Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
    Secretary Salazar joined hundreds of children on the National Mall for a Buddy the Bison Hike sponsored by the National Park Service. Later he joined the Earth Day Network event on the mall to talk the need to address urgent environmental crises such as climate change.
  • Transportation Secretary  Ray LaHood
    Secretary LaHood celebrated Earth Day at a rally in Chicago with Mayor Daley and the Chicago Climate Action Plan.  You can read more about his day on his blog Fastlane.
  • Education Secretary Arne Duncan
    Secretary of Education Arne Duncan delivered remarks at a ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day Thursday at the National Mall in Washington.
  • Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen
    Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen reflected on his blog “iCommandant” on the Coast Guard’s mission of saving lives and saving the planet by helping to protect and preserve marine life and habitats.

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The Obama Family Host the 2010 Easter Egg Roll

Posted by: Audiegrl

The First family are holding this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday, April 5, 2010 with the theme of “Ready, Set, Go!” promoting health and wellness. Over 30,000 people from all 50 states and DC will visit the South Lawn of the White House this year. The event features live music, sports courts, cooking stations, storytelling and, of course, Easter egg rolling. All of the activities will encourage children to lead healthy and active lives and follow the First Lady’s ‘Let’s Move!’ initiative, a national campaign to combat childhood obesity.

The 2010 White House Easter Egg Roll souvenir eggs are available for purchase online at the National Park Foundation website. Each wooden egg is expertly crafted, painted, and includes the signatures of the President and First Lady.

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The White House press office has announced the following performers and leaders in their field to participate in this year’s festivities:

  • Sara Bareilles, Justin Bieber, the cast of the television show Glee, Yo Gabba Gabba, Sesame Street, and Little Beat, The #1 Chinchilla and DJ Willy Wow! will perform on the Rock ‘n’ Egg Roll Stage
  • J.K. Rowling, Reese Witherspoon, Apolo Ohno, Mariska Hargitay, Dylan and Cole Sprouse, Elmo and Maria of Sesame Street and Betty DeGeneres will read on the Storytime Stage
  • Billy Jonas and Miss Amy will perform on the Ellipse
  • Chef Art Smith, Chef José Andrés, Chef Cliff Wharton, Chef Nora Poullion, Chef Robert Wiedmaier, Chef Susan Limb, Chef Victor Albisu, and the White House Chefs will prepare healthy eating demonstrations in the Play with your Food area.
  • Billie Jean King, Gigi Fernandez, Ilana Kloss, Delaney Rudd, Liezel Huber, Katrina Adams, Anna Rawson, Jane Geddes, Kris Tschetter, Martin Gramatica, Michele Smith, Al Bumbry and Earl Boykins will help organize games in the Sports Zones
  • NFL players will lead children in healthy activities as a part of the NFL Play 60 Movement. Those participating include Washington Redskins players Kevin Barnes, Alvin Bowen, Derrick Dockery, Reed Doughty, Chris Horton, Marko Mitchell, Will Robinson, Casey Rabach, Justin Tryon, Edwin Williams, Anthony Montgomery, Lorenzo Alexander, H.B. (Horatio Benedict) Blades, Doug Dutch as well as, Baltimore Ravens players Matt Lawrence and Sam Koch
  • Eggspress Yourself: Arts & crafts for the kids to enjoy
  • Music: The DC Youth Orchestra and the United States Marine Corps Band

Assistant Pastry Chef Susie Morrison puts the finishing touches on some marzipan chicks for an Easter Egg Village as the White prepares for the annual Easter Egg Roll, April 2, 2010. The White House Easter Egg Roll is a tradition that has spanned more than 130 years. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters, Sasha and Malia, attend Easter Sunday service at Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., April 4, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

All of the headliner music acts and Storytime Stage readers will have their performances broadcast live on www.whitehouse.gov/eastereggroll. A full schedule will be posted on the morning of April 5th so citizens from across the country can participate in the event.

A more ambitious and comprehensive approach to sustainability was taken to minimize the environmental impact of the 2010 Easter Egg Roll. Some of the highlights include: the “greenest” souvenir egg in Egg Roll history, crafted from Forest Stewardship Council certified U.S. hardwood; goody bags made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic; the use of organically grown fruits and vegetables at the Play with Your Food station; and increased recycling and composting capabilities on the day of the event.

The White House Easter Egg Roll is made possible by the hard work of close to 1,200 volunteers

Photos courtesy of Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obamafoodorama, Lynn Sweet/Chicago Sun-Times, Alex Wong/Getty Images North America, and Pete Souza/White House

The Mount Ennon Baptist Church Children’s Chorus from Clinton, Md., performs at the Easter Prayer Breakfast in the East Room of the White House, April 6, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama (C) reads Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Suess, for a group of children and his family, first lady Michelle Obama (R) and daughters Malia Obama (L), 11, and Sasha Obama, 8, during the Easter Egg Roll at the White House April 5, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America)


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2010 Easter Egg Roll Performances/Readings

Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Introducing West Wing Week ~ Future Planes of the Future ~ March 26 – April 1, 2010

Posted by: Audiegrl

Arun Chaudhary, the official White House videographer, debuted on Friday a new feature over at www.whitehouse.govWest Wing Week.”

With everything that President Obama does in a given week, it can be easy to miss important news and interesting events. West Wing Week sums up the past seven days at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, or wherever the President may travel. It features highlights from last weeks events plus never seen behind-the-scenes footage of life in the White House.

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Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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President Obama’s Saturday YouTube Address 03/27/10

white house gov logoWhiteHouse.gov~~Two Major Reforms on Health Care & Higher Ed~~The President looks back on a week that saw the passage of two major sets of reforms: one putting Americans in control of their own health care, and one ensuring student loans work for students and families, not as subsidies for bankers and middlemen.
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