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First Lady Barbara Bush Video Conferences With Millburn Students

South Mountain students joined a video conference, which included more than 50,000 other students worldwide.

Photos courtesy of Nancy Dries
Photos courtesy of Nancy Dries

The 5th grade students at South Mountain School participated in an educational videoconference with the George Bush Presidential Library in Texas called “Reading Discovery with First Lady Barbara Bush” on January 14, 2014 at 11:00 AM.

South Mountain computer teacher, Sheri Sandler and 5th grade teacher, Marylou Kirk, collaborated with Shirley Hammond, Bush Library and Museum Director of Education, and Melissa Cannady-Magnuson, Park Ranger and Director of Educational Programs from the National Parks Services, to bring this videoconference to the students of South Mountain School.

During this videoconference, which included an audience of approximately 55,000 students worldwide, Mrs. Bush read from the award-winning book, Liberty, and answered questions from the students.  Also featured was an appearance by the author of Liberty, Mr. Lynn Curlee.  Mr. Curlee discussed his research process and shared writing tips with the audience.

Last year, South Mountain School was honored to be selected to be one of the schools to ask a question directly to Mrs. Bush during the videoconference.  This year, South Mountain was once again proud to have been chosen to pose a question live to Mrs. Bush.  A student from Mr. Mongon’s class, was chosen to present that question to Mrs. Bush.

In addition, South Mountain School was thrilled to welcome Melissa Cannady-Magnuson and Kathy Craine, Park Rangers from Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty, who presented a portion of the program from the SMS computer lab.  With the damage sustained during Sandy, their facilities are still not functional, so we were more than happy to host the National Park Service request.  As a result of this collaboration and new partnership, two additional students from SMS, one from Ms. Kirk’s class, and one from Ms. Hearon’s class, had the opportunity to speak about their experiences while visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

As a result of Millburn’s continued commitment to equip the classrooms with technology, the third and fourth grade classes were also able to watch the live stream of the program as it occurred.  

Mrs. Bush is passionate about childhood literacy and believes that each child should have their own personal library.  Subsequently, every student in South Mountain School will receive a copy of the book, Liberty, as a result of our collaboration in this project.  When the books arrive in the spring, the South Mountain School community, in the spirit of Mrs, Bush’s passion for literacy, will come together to share a schoolwide reading celebration focusing on Lynn Curlee’s book, Liberty.

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