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Common Goals; Mutual Inspiration: The U.S. Army and National School Boards Association address Education Leaders at Annual Conference

Jun 27, 2017

“Reach, Elevate and Inspire,” was the theme of the 2017 National School Boards Association (NSBA) Annual Conference, where the U.S. Army gathered alongside NSBA, more than 5,000 school board members and numerous other sponsors for two days of learning, growing, networking and collaborating. 

On March 25-27, 2017, at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver, Colo., the annual conference brought together school board members from across the country with the goal of enhancing their skills in governing and leading their districts back home. Workshops, study halls, speakers and networking opportunities were all part of the programming – along with a healthy dose of inspiration to keep attendees motivated to succeed in their roles in one of public education’s most complex and challenging jobs. No stranger to excelling in complex environments and challenging missions, the U.S. Army shared much common ground with conference-goers, and was able to offer relevant and valuable information, resources and expertise over the course of the two-day event.

The U.S. Army booth in the Exhibition Hall provided an interactive area where attendees learned about Army career paths, leadership opportunities and available scholarships, as well as the free educational resources the Army provides to any young person regardless of whether they wear a uniform or not. U.S. Army representatives staffed the booth, distributed information and giveaways, and held conversations with interested education leaders throughout the conference. 

Captain Michael Schreckengost discusses Army opportunities with an education leader at the 2017 NSBA Annual Conference in Denver, Colo.

Aligned with NSBA’s goal to provide tools and experiences to help its members govern and lead, the Army presented two study hall sessions and two educational workshops with topics ranging from techniques to improve student performance, to the benefits and opportunities of Army ROTC, to the value of March2Success in bringing equity to test prep, and U.S. Army leadership best practices. During the first study hall, “Building Healthy Schools: A U.S. Army-Led Look at Improving Student Performance,” Captain Katrina Clark, ROTC Brigade Nurse Counselor, discussed the impact of student health on school performance and shared the Army’s best practices in the areas of sleep, fitness and nutrition – like the research-based strategies used in the Performance Triad – that can help civilians and Soldiers alike to perform to their fullest potential.

The next study hall session, “Scholarships and Career-Readiness: Increasing Student Opportunities through Army ROTC,” led by Captain Chris Hank, Associate Professor of Military Science, Metropolitan State University of Denver, provided attendees with information on how Army ROTC can enhance the college experience, provide financial support and make students more competitive in the workplace through valuable training in problem solving, critical thinking and leadership.

Captain Chris Hank presents on the benefits, opportunities and financial assistance available through Army ROTC at the 2017 NSBA Annual Conference in Denver, Colo.

During the workshop titled “Understanding March2Success: A Free Tool for Bringing Equity to Test Prep,” two U.S. Army Education Services Specialists, Dr. Dywaine Robinson and Mr. John Turks, led an educational session based on the idea that student success should never depend on the ability to afford an expensive test prep program, a notion that was heartily agreed-upon by the educators in attendance. The presenters shared the U.S. Army’s free, no-obligation online tool, March2Success, and demonstrated how it improves performance on standardized tests while enhancing math, science and language arts skills, as well as helps students prepare for state required exams and the SAT and ACT.

The final workshop, “Lead, Develop and Achieve: Assessing and Enhancing Your Leadership Skills In and Out of School,” covered the building blocks of leader development and how education professionals can apply Army leadership approaches to their own careers. Co-presenters Captain Scott Slaugh, Assistant Professor of Military Science, University of Colorado and Captain Michael Schreckengost, Commander, U.S. Army Wheat Ridge Recruiting Company, shared their perspective on the fundamentals of leadership, cultivating different leader styles and self-assessment techniques anyone can use. 

Brigadier General Donna Martin, Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, delivers opening remarks about the importance of supporting student success during the National Black Council of School Board Members Luncheon during the 2017 NSBA Annual Conference in Denver, Colo.

A particular highlight of the conference was the National Black Council of School Board Members Luncheon. More than 400 members of NSBA’s National Black Council and National Hispanic Councils gathered for a lunch event and to hear the inspiring story of keynote speaker Steve Pemberton, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for Walgreens. Brigadier General Donna Martin, Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, was one of two opening speakers at the luncheon. Citing the common goals held by the Army and NSBA of providing a quality education to ensure young people complete their secondary education and have access to the foundation and opportunities they need to succeed, Brigadier General Martin spoke about the Army’s commitment to ensuring widespread educational opportunities and why it is so important that the two organizations continue to work together. Coupled with the compelling story of the challenges Mr. Pemberton overcame on his pathway to success, the luncheon was an inspiring and energizing conclusion to the conference. 

From left, Captain Katrina Clark, Brigadier General Donna Martin, Captain Michael Schreckengost and Mr. Tony Castillo, all representing U.S. Army Recruiting Command, pause for a photo at the conclusion of another successful NSBA Annual Conference.

From learning about healthy student sleep habits, to sampling cafeteria menus that tasted more like gourmet fare, to exploring the latest innovations and approaches for educational success, the event was a productive experience for all who attended. Together with NSBA, the U.S. Army continues to identify ways to provide resources, information and support to the education leaders that so greatly impact our nation’s young people and their futures.

For more information about NSBA, please visit: www.nsba.org


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