We all were looking forward to the day we would take a field trip to Captiol Hill to meet Senator Tim Kaine. The morning started with reviews of the protocols used when meeting with representatives. The room was filled with nervous and excited energy. As a group we all headed to the metro via a George Mason shuttle bus then tried to keep our group of 50 teachers together along with our fearless guides. I admit there were a few bumps, bruises, lost cards, and delays but we all got to the train station for lunch. Our lunch vouchers gave us a grand selection of options and I went straight for the crepes, yum. The time came to have our group start the half mile walk over to the Capitol Building. It was my first time visiting and hope to go back again to further explore the art, sculptures and architecture there. Once through security we were in the Visitors Building and made our way to the appointment desk for our badges, we were there on "official business"! The room was a perfect size for our group and we were able to take photos by academy group as Senator Kaine walked in to speak. I am looking forward to seeing the photos taken by the photographer of our groups. Senator Kaine was a wonderfully charismatic speaker and has strong connections to the arts which he spoke to previously in an article "Lessons learned from 40 School Years." He took about five questions from our group of fifty teachers. I was thrilled to have him listen to my question regarding Immigration Reform and the impact on our schools when acclimatising the ELL (English Language Learners) and their families into our communities. Kaine was very knowledgeable about Harrisonburg Schools and our high number of ELL students. and was very complementary what a great job the school system has done to help the new families coming into our community. My hope is the concern will keep the impact in the minds of the government as they make plans for reform considering the issues facing our country with immigration.
The final question spoke to the support for the arts and of course our crowd of teachers were thrilled with his positive response. Our moments seemed to fly by with the senator but I enjoyed every minute. I wish my great grandfather, who was a Congressman could have seen me standing up for my concerns. After our visit at the Capitol we were set free to dash to the museums. We rushed through the National Gallery with fuel from a gelato with espresso before the guards yelled us out the door when they closed at five. Running through the rain we made it to see the gardens near the Smithsonian castle and ended our tour at the American History Museum. Any moment surrounded by masters and cultural pieces proves to be inspirational. Though our visits were short my mind is swirling with ideas to take back and incorporate into new lesson plans for this fall! Watch out SKMS we are going to become time travelers through history!