Administrators LEAD & MANAGE MY SCHOOL
President Barack Obama Makes Historic Speech to America's Students

Classroom Activities
Grades preK-6
download files  PDF (115K) | MS Word (119K)
Grades 7-12
download files  PDF (170K) | MS Word (184K)

On September 8, 2009, President Barack Obama delivered a national address to the students of America. During this special address, the president spoke directly to the nation's children and youth about persisting and succeeding in school. The president challenged students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning.

The U.S. Department of Education invites students of all ages, teachers, and administrators to participate in this historic moment by watching the president's address, which is available above and on the White House Web site ( We also encourage educators to use this moment to help students get focused and inspired to begin the new academic year. The Department of Education offers educators a menu of classroom activities—created by its teachers-in-residence, the Teaching Ambassador Fellows—to help engage students in the address and stimulate classroom discussions about the importance of education.

To learn more, please see the following:

To further encourage student engagement, the U.S. Department of Education is launching the "I Am What I Learn" video contest. On September 8, we will invite students to respond to the president's challenge by creating videos, up to two minutes in length, describing the steps they will take to improve their education and the role education will play in fulfilling their dreams.

We invite all students age 13 and older to create and upload their videos to YouTube by October 8. Submissions can be in the form of video blogs, public service announcements (PSAs), music videos, or documentaries. Students are encouraged to have fun and be creative with this project! The general public will then vote on their favorites to determine the top 20 finalists. These 20 videos will be reviewed by a panel of judges including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The panel will choose three winners, each of whom will receive a $1,000 cash prize.

Starting this Friday, you can visit to find out more.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions (September 4)

Q: What is the speech about?

A: The goal of the speech and classroom activities is to challenge students to set goals, work hard and stay in school. This isn't a policy speech.

Q: Who came up with the idea?

A: The White House and Department of Education collaborated

Q: Is it mandatory?

A: No. The Department is inviting schools to show the address. The choice is entirely up to schools and their communities.

Q: Who did the letter announcing the speech go to?

A: The e-mail went out on Aug. 25 to districts (all 14,000+) and schools (as many of the 100,000+ public and private as we could reach).

Q: Would the administration be willing to release the speech in advance of its delivery?

A: Yes. The speech will be released on Monday and delivered on Tuesday.

Q: Has any other President done something like this?

A: In 1991 President Bush addressed the nation's students on live television from an American history classroom at Deal Junior High, in Washington, D.C.

Q: How can I watch the speech?

A: You can watch it at 12pm ET on the WH website, on CSPAN or on the CSPAN website. It will also be available via satellite for schools. For more information you can visit

Q: If I miss the speech can I watch it later?

A: The speech will continue to be available on and on

Frequently Asked Questions (September 3)

1. When will the president deliver his address?

President Obama will speak to the students of America at 12:00 p.m., ET on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009. (Note that this is a change from the time originally scheduled.)

2. How can I watch the president's address to students?

Viewers may watch the address via the Internet by visiting the White House Web site, at, where the address will be streamed live.

C-SPAN, the cable public affairs network, will cover the president's speech live on its C-SPAN television channel and provide live streaming video online at The speech also will be aired live on C-SPAN Radio (90.1 FM in Washington, D.C., and channel 132 on XM Satellite Radio).

White House television will make the address available via satellite for access by local broadcast outlets and school districts. The satellite feed will be live for testing and calibration beginning at 11am ET on September 8th using the following coordinates:

  • Galaxy 28/Transponder 17, Slot C (9 MHz)
  • Uplink Frequency 14344.5 Horizontal
  • Downlink Frequency 12044.5 Vertical

For updates related to the president's speech, please visit or

3. What is the duration of the president's address?

The president is scheduled to speak for 15 – 20 minutes. The U.S. Department of Education provides resources for educators who may choose to use the president's address as a teachable moment. Two menus of classroom activities, one for students in grades Pre-K – 6, and another for students in grades 7 – 12, may be found here:

Classroom Activities (Pre-K – 6)
download files  PDF (115K) | MS Word (119K)

Classroom Activities (7 – 12)
download files  PDF (170K) | MS Word (184K)

4. Does the White House Web site have the capacity to host all of the potential live viewers for this event?

The White House Web site is equipped with the appropriate amount of bandwidth to accommodate a large viewership.

5. Will the address be available in some form after the original broadcast date and time?

Downloadable video of the speech will be made available at as well as on will provide archived and "on-demand" viewing options.

6. Will the address include captioning for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers?

The live address broadcast on C-SPAN will include captioning.

7. Is the "Get Schooled" television event in the evening on Sept. 8 hosted by the Viacom network and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation connected to the president's speech?

While the U.S. Department of Education is a partner in this effort, the president's noontime address is a separate event. Get Schooled is a five-year national platform developed by Viacom and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that connects, inspires, and mobilizes people to find effective solutions to education challenges. The initiative provides resources, information, and creative programming aimed at engaging a range of audiences in an effort to address America's education crisis. A television event, Get Schooled: You Have the Right, formally kicks off the "Get Schooled" initiative at 8:00 p.m., ET on Sept. 8.

Print this page Printable view Bookmark  and Share
Last Modified: 09/17/2009