After lunch, we returned to the Congressional Room for our afternoon learning session. Yes, the time in Washington DC was not just all fun, but an opportunity to learn together as principals. First, we heard an inspirational address from Colonel Art Athens. Colonel Athens is a marine and serves at the Naval Academy. His speech was titled: He spoke to us about leadership and the importance of the 3 C’s and an H. Courage, Competence, Compassion, and Humility. He told us to be a great leader we need to have the courage to make the tough decisions and do what is right for all that we lead. We need to be competent in what we are doing, in other-words being a life-long learner and always seeking knowledge and to strive to be better as a leader. Of course, he spoke of compassion and the need for a leader to care about all of those he or she leads. Undergirding the three C’s are humility. It is something he strives to work on each and every day! Humilty means to be humble and not think highly of ones self to such a detriment that he or she thinks they know it all and doesn’t listen to those around him or her, or care about what others have to say. He talked about noticing each person as a leader and ensuring that we are paying attention to every person we come into contact with, learning from them and loving them. The Colonel has 10 children and the stories he told us were heart felt and all of us gave him a standing ovation.
After the Colonel’s speech we lined up to fill our bags with the mementoes that all of the NDP’s brought with them and displayed. We took a brief break to come back for a collaborative learning session. This was one of my favorite opportunities because we got to talk together in groups. The focus was on 21st Century Learning and we sat at tables that interested us. Each table was labeled with one of the 21st Century themes-Communication, Creativity, Collaboration, Technology, etc. Our process was to future-think and provide examples of positive opportunities, challenges, and then problem solve how we might impact policy decisions made by state and federal government officials. We were thanked for our input and then dismissed for a few hours of rest and preparation for the big event-the Awards Banquet and ball! But, surprise, surprise! We received another gift, a full 16 set student edition from the Encyclopedia Brittanca company will be sent directly to our school! I also received a downloadable version for my computer! Nice!