First, our country is in really good hands. I marveled at the levels of passion, talent, and vision on display from the various speakers and conference attendees. It is really interesting to listen to the approaches different schools, both big and small, put in place to reach the same goal…provide opportunity for our kids. School districts may have completely different ideas on the “how” of educating our children, but the “why” never wavers. This is also very true in the state of North Dakota. There was a great group of superintendents from North Dakota that attended the conference and I thoroughly enjoyed connecting with each of them. I look forward to collaborating with all of them in the years to come. There is no shortage of great educational leaders in this state based on my interactions with them.
Now to some of the more interesting things I learned in San Diego. First the shocking, according to one speaker, 1 in 5 millennials feel they can trust people. That means 4 out of 5 don’t feel people are trustworthy. I found this to be a sad statement of our society. This group of 20 and 30 year olds are either incredibly skeptical or have been burnt too often in the past. Either way I feel this is something that we have to work on (and work against) with our students each and every day. Society has become increasingly skeptical and it is something schools have to acknowledge. Schools have to continue to build trust with students, parents and communities to reach a level where we are all on the same page in finding success for our students.
Next, I am going to show you a slide from a presentation I found.
Finally, I want to discuss one last thing. People often have a fear of putting themselves “out there”. Whether it is meeting new people, trying new things, or practicing something you aren’t good at, it isn’t easy for people. During my conference, I chose to confront this fear head on and set a goal of meeting a superintendent from every state. Each day I made a concerted effort to introduce myself, ask people questions, and just strike up conversations. While it was difficult at first, the results were very rewarding. I didn’t reach my goal, but did end up meeting superintendents from 35 different states. I met very accomplished administrators who are doing remarkable things in their schools.
I bring this up in hopes of motivating our students. Don’t be afraid to try new things because you have no idea the possible benefits of taking chances. It isn’t easy, but the best things aren’t supposed to be.