I had a great experience keynoting the Fifth Annual South Dakota Parent Engagement Conference in Rapid City, South Dakota this past Saturday. I felt honored to be asked to be the keynote speaker for this awesome conference. The keynote was focused on bullying prevention and related topics such as ways to improve school climate, techniques to enhance student supervision and cyberbullying. The session also included information on evaluation of school security.
This is the third time I have keynoted a conference for the South Dakota Department of Education and they always put on a first-class conference with no logistical details left to chance. The turnout of more than 130 parents and educators from all corners of the state on a Saturday was impressive, especially when the state’s population and distances travelled by attendees are considered. This was the second time I have had good attendance on a Saturday in South Dakota in spite of the fact that one conference was held on the opening day of deer season and the other at the start of pheasant season – both are big events in the state.
I met many impressive advocates for the children during the event. The information on student supervision, bullying of students with special needs and improving school climate were of great interest to the participants along with the information on recognition of indicators of bullying.
I have had the good fortune to keynote many conferences in South Dakota and have thoroughly enjoyed every visit to this beautiful state. I once again found attendees to be eager to participate in the discussion and straightforward in their comments. A great day was capped off when I bumped into Colonel Oliver North as I was going through security at the Rapid City Airport. The Colonel who had just returned from a trip to Afghanistan and was probably still pretty tired, forgot to take off his dog tags and had to be patted down by TSA. He was gracious to the TSA personnel and to other passengers who wanted to shake his hand. I had an opportunity to chat with him for a minute and he was most cordial with me as well.
Personnel from two school districts and a tribal Christian school at the conference indicated they wanted me to present for them and I look forward to more visits to this beautiful region of the country where so many care deeply about student safety. It was truly an honor to be able to visit with so many wonderful people in this great state and I cannot wait to make my next visit.