SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — When a large number of principals and assistant principals get together and commiserate, you can bet some stealing is going on.

Stealing ideas, that is, which is a major reason why the 40 officials from Department of Defense Dependents Schools, Japan District, traveled to this southern Japan base for the district’s annual End of the Year Administrators Meeting.

Such gatherings are “great opportunities to steal good ideas from other schools,” said Gail Anderson, assistant principal at Yokota Middle School, between sessions Tuesday afternoon.

The meeting is typically held in Tokyo, but officials decided a slightly different environment could make the “morale boosting” event even more attractive.

“This is a time when we come together and focus some on staff development and current educational trends,” said DODDS Japan District Chief of Staff Peter Grenier.

The principals and assistant principals hold these gatherings twice a year.

“It’s also a time to hear about updates on policy and to share ways in which technology is being integrated into the classrooms at different schools,” he added. “And it’s also a great morale booster for our administrators.”

Even though there were no specific overriding issues in focus for this meeting, Anderson said the opportunity for the administrators to be in one place is quite valuable.

“There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel when we have 40 subject-matter experts gathered here, and we can bounce our ideas around and see what kind of feedback we get. It also provides us with an opportunity to network with administrators at the other schools, and to get information firsthand from our district leadership,” she said.

Christy Blevins, principal at Sasebo Elementary School, enjoyed the opportunity to showcase Sasebo and the base’s Harbor View Club for a couple of days.

“I think it’s important that we are having this here because we are so far off the beaten path, and a lot of them have never been here,” she said. “I think everyone is seeing what a nice community we have. It helps them to understand the work we are doing in Sasebo.”

The meeting, held at the base’s Harbor View Club, started on Tuesday and was to end on Thursday.

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