Today was Inauguration Day. What was the lesson plan at North Salem schools?
At noon today, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. officially took office as the 46th President of the United States. Inauguration Day always represents a historic moment in American history - an opportunity to show civics and democracy in action - though today’s was particularly unique in light of the pandemic and the violence that took place at the Capitol just two weeks ago. North Salem Central School District educators, with guidance from administrators, cautiously incorporated the moment into their lesson plans.
North Salem Middle School / High School Principal Vince DiGrandi advised Government & Economics and Global I teachers who wanted to share the viewing of the oath of office with their high school students to use non-profit public cable network C-SPAN. The choice of network was in accordance with guidance from the Tri-State Consortium, an alliance of public school districts. DiGrandi said that middle School students and those students who did not view the event live today may view or discuss the historical process in their classrooms on Thursday via highlights and news clips. Due to social distancing guidelines, the school did not host a mass viewing in larger gathering areas.
At Pequenakonck Elementary School, Principal Mary Johnson and Vice Principal Dr. Stephanie Bell met with instructional leaders ahead of Inauguration Day to talk about what each grade level had planned. All grades planned to teach the purpose and history of Inauguration Day using materials from age-appropriate news magazines like Scholastic News. First grade talked about what an oath is while upper grades used articles to talk about the meaning of the day as well as the historical traditions. On Thursday, some upper grade teachers may use news clips to highlight the importance of the day.
In 4th grade, teacher Nicky Federici said that teachers shared some videos on the history and symbolism of Inauguration Day, and engaged in class discussion. Students did not view the swearing-in ceremonies, which took place during the grade’s lunch and recess period.
Elsewhere in Westchester, the Ossining Union Free School District made the decision not to broadcast the ceremony live in elementary school classrooms, out of concern for the potential of violence. In a letter sent to families, Superintendent Dr. Raymond Sanchez said, "to ensure the social and emotional well-being of our students, the meaning and impact of the inauguration and transfer of power certainly will be topics of discussion in our classrooms, but we will not broadcast the ceremony live in the elementary schools."