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TO:                Superintendents of Schools and Principals


FROM:          J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner


DATE:          March 26, 2001


SUBJECT:    Maine TV-Turnoff Week, April 23-April 29, 2001



On behalf of Governor Angus S. King, Jr., and myself, I invite your school to participate in Maine TV-Turnoff Week, April 23-29, 2001.  During this week, students are challenged to limit their television viewing to only four hours for the week and to use their time instead to pursue educational and fun activities.


The statistics related to TV viewing and its impact are astonishing.  Americans watch an average of 250 billion hours of television each year.  Children spend 1,680 minutes each week watching television compared to only 38.5 minutes each week in meaningful conversation with their parents.  Over 4,000 studies about the effects of TV on children show a correlation between TV viewing and aggressive behavior and lower academic performance.


Joining this nationwide campaign is an opportunity for schools to provide leadership in improving academic performance.  Because of the positive impact it can have on children’s academic performance and on family and community building, I encourage every public school in Maine to participate.


Schools may join TV-Turnoff by submitting the enclosed green Commitment Sheet and by working with families and communities to plan alternative activities for students.   Suggestions are included and I encourage you to be creative and develop your own activities.  Capital Pizza Huts has again generously agreed to provide personal pan pizzas to Maine students who successfully participate in TV-Turnoff Week by watching four or fewer hours of television during the week.  We will mail the students= certificates for a personal pan pizza to your school when we receive the blue TV-Turnoff Follow-up form.


Do not submit the pink participation form.  Capital Pizza Huts has agreed to provide up to 15,000 pizzas on a first-come, first-served basis, so please return the follow-up information promptly.


Area businesses may also be willing to give discounts or host special events.  Special recognition will go to schools with more than 50 percent of their students participating in the TV-Turnoff.  We encourage you to design your own recognition system for individual classrooms with more than 75 percent participation.  Families may also participate.  After April 30, use the blue TV-Turnoff Follow-up form to report your activities so we can recognize your school.  If you have already hosted a similar event in your school this year, please report these on the TV-Turnoff Follow-up form.


If you have any questions regarding this opportunity to help students focus on learning, please call Dr. Edwin ABuzz@ Kastuck at 207-624-6776.  I look forward to hearing about your plans for Maine TV-Turnoff Week.