Nebraska School Classrooms Watch the Presidential Inauguration

Jan. 20, 2021, 4:47 p.m. ·

Joe Biden sworn in as the 46th president of the United States (Screenshot Photo Courtesy Biden Inaugural Committee)

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Students across Nebraska watched President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris take the oath of office today... some school teachers are using the historic event as a teaching moment in their classes.

English Language Learner teachers Dana Pavuk and MaKenna Supencheck in Grand Island combined their classes to watch a livestream of the Presidential Inauguration with Spanish translation. Pavuk said they wanted to share a positive historical moment with their students who are learning English.

"We felt that this was an important lesson for them to experience an important historical moment and to own that as children who have come to America and have made America their adopted country," she said.

Pavuk said the students enjoyed watching and were even more excited to see Jennifer Lopez perform in Spanish.

Lincoln Public Schools used a different approach. Jaci Kellison is the district’s social studies curriculum specialist and said classes didn’t watch the inauguration live, but will study the event tomorrow.

"There is a lot of background knowledge that can be built and a lot of knowledge that can be applied in discussing and watching the inauguration," she said. "And I think if students have the opportunity to do that tomorrow, that they'll get a lot of value and meaning out of it."

Other classes, like Laura Roberts’ remote learning at Bluestem Montessori Elementary School in Lincoln, have been following the presidential race since last year. It was only natural for them to watch the final step of the election.

"Having them participate and watch the ceremonies of that community is a really important part of their learning process and their understanding that they belong to this wider world," she said.

Roberts said when students see how different national leaders respond to challenges like the pandemic and system racism, it expands their world view for the better.