15th National Training Seminar....for the sake of the child

Posted August 12, 2013

The 2013 National Training Seminar (NTS) theme reinforced that now, just as the past, our students and youth need a national-level voice to continue speaking on their behalf. Secretary of Defense, The Honorable Chuck Hagel reinforced that point as he provided the final session remarks at NTS and spoke on many of the current buzz topics to include sequestration and furloughs, and took the opportunity to announce the 2013 Department of Defense educational partnership grants worth nearly $20 million. Hagel noted MCEC being a critical partner in the Joining Forces initiative “Operation Educate the Educators”* and emphasized to MCEC “You help give children a voice, one that needs to be heard. And your work is more important than ever before.”

From the opening session with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General and Mrs. Martin E. Dempsey in dialogue with the audience concerning the needs of our military families to the closing comments of Secretary Hagel, this year’s Seminar was packed full with professional development content and training for all who participated in the experience.

We were fortunate to have senior leaders of every branch of military service on hand to participate in panel exchanges with each other as well as with the NTS participants as the conversations ranged from force readiness to the well-being and support of military families.

From the collaborative training events to the distinguished lectures and evening enrichment sessions, every effort was made to ensure our attendees received maximum opportunities to learn and grow while sharing their own professional experiences with fellow participants.

One of the premier highlights of the Seminar was the LTG (Ret) H.G. “Pete” Taylor Partnership of Excellence Awards with the Secretary of Education, The Honorable Arne Duncan presenting a compelling case for providing a quality learning experience from early childhood through higher education completion and that the implementation of Common Core State Standards plays an integral role in the path to success. Following the Secretary’s remarks, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. of Georgia’s Second Congressional District provided timely and heart-touching remarks before presenting well-deserved awards and recognition to outstanding schools and installations as well as for individual program achievement.

The show stealers of the Seminar though had to be the Student 2 Student (S2S) teens who were there representing five outstanding schools from across our country as well as the four S2S college alumni who were there to share the impact that S2S had on their lives. These young adults showcased their school S2S programs and select students presented their Defining Moments before each general session as well as introducing some of our most senior speakers. These were simply amazing young people who brought clarity to what MCEC is all about.

Our 15th National Training Seminar could not have happened without the corporate sponsors who said “yes, we will help”. Thank you! We are ever so grateful for those who met the need but we also owe a special thanks to the more than 50 volunteers who made the magic happen- especially Deloitte LLP, who provided over 35 incredibly hard-working people. And finally, we would be remiss if we did not say thank you to the individual sponsors who made it possible for many educators, parents, and students to participate in this training experience…for the sake of the child.

*In collaboration with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher’s Education (AACTE)