First couple visits DC public middle school to welcome back students

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. go through (something) / ɡoʊ θru / (phrasal v.) – to experience something difficult or unpleasant

    I can’t afford to go to school. My family is going through a financial problem.

  2. struggle / ˈstrʌg əl / (v.) – to try very hard to deal with a problem or difficulty

    Our company struggled to survive during the pandemic.

  3. modernize / ˈmɑd ərˌnaɪz / (v.) – to make something, such as a method, system, building, etc., more suitable for use in the present time

    The government is raising money to modernize classrooms in public schools.

  4. rigorous / ˈrɪg ər əs / (adj.) – strict, difficult, or demanding, usually because something is at a high level

    The basketball players underwent rigorous training for their championship game.

  5. funding / ˈfʌn dɪŋ / (n.) – money that is provided by an organization for a particular purpose

    The government will increase its funding for education.


Read the text below.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited a Washington, DC public middle school to welcome students back for the new school year.

The Bidens stopped by Eliot-Hine Middle School, located east of the U.S. Capitol, to mark the District of Columbia’s first day of school for the 2023-24 year.

The event kicks off several back-to-school activities for the first lady, who traveled later to the Midwest to celebrate teachers and to highlight the mental health needs of students.

Jill Biden is a longtime teacher. She’s the first first lady to continue her career outside the White House. She teaches English and writing at Northern Virginia Community College, which is where she taught during the eight years her husband was President Barack Obama’s vice president.

Speaking to a 7th-grade math class, the first lady said. “We love our students. And so, so if you’re going through tough times or, you know, maybe you’re struggling a little bit at math, in math, maybe you’re struggling a little bit at home, you know, you can go to your teachers, you can trust your teachers. We are always here for you guys.”

The school was built in 1931 and was recently modernized with state-of-the-art facilities. It has about 300 students. According to its website, it is focused on rigorous academic and socio-emotional instruction, and it receives federal funding to help support low-income students.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Jill Biden told a class of 7th-grade students that they can go to their teachers and trust them when they’re struggling at home or school. How do you think this statement would impact the way students see their teachers? Discuss.
  • One of the reasons Jill Biden traveled to the Midwest is to highlight the mental health needs of the students. Why do you think she wanted to highlight such needs? Does your government also pay attention to the mental health needs of students? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Jill Biden visited the Midwest school to also celebrate teachers. How do you think this visit has impacted teachers in the school? Discuss.
  • In what other ways do you think government leaders can show their appreciation to teachers (ex. salary increases, recognition awards)? Discuss.