Language + Communication = Advancement

Hello fellow educators!

On July 21, 2017, I joined a community of student leaders in the United Nations General Assembly Hall to celebrate innovative ideas in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations (UN). The event, themed “Many Languages, One World,” brought youth from around the globe together to present action plans for advancing the SDG. Their presentations were borne out an essay contest sponsored by ELS Educational Services and the UN. The contest encouraged young scholars to share their ideas on how to repair the quality of living within the areas of SDG, such as quality education, climate action, economy growth, and justice. The presentations, which were the culmination of research, exposed current issues in many countries and offered resolutions to avoid the stagnant results of previous trials.

As essay contest winners showcased their visions of the future, their presentations were simultaneously translated by interpreters into the UN’s six official languages. With the help of listening devices, those in attendance could hear the presentations in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, or Spanish.

On the subject of education, students spoke up about the issues of race and sex, and advocated for equality in education to combat this problem. One student’s objective was to eliminate illiteracy and offer free secondary education. Another student argued that education could be the key to achieving all targets of the SDG. Others suggested how we, as global citizens, could support a switch to alternative sources of power, such as green energy, to reduce carbon dioxide. Students advocated for improvement in the quality of water in rural areas and explained how the water affects agricultural products. With limited access to food and water, students may become malnourished and dehydrated, and therefore struggle to succeed in school.

We need to make keeping students in school a priority. An essay winner speaking about Brazil revealed a link between school dropouts and criminal activity in that country. As global citizens who belong to the education community, we have to be mindful of students who may not live in safe conditions. Creating a comforting space within the classroom and leading students in project-based learning activities can allow them to feel safe and empowered.

We must increase collaborations among our neighboring countries and communicate our successes in repairing these damages. By sharing what’s wrong in one country, we can offer tips on how another country made it right. Improving the policies and systems of management that currently exist throughout all countries would reflect a global agreement on acceptable standards of living.

Diversity makes our society more resilient. Education makes it powerful.

Happy Teaching,
Clairetza Felix

Clairetza Felix is a graduate student in the Literacy Specialist program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She chose to become a UN Youth Representative to be able to offer a unique approach to education.

Kappa Delta Pi’s Response to Charlottesville

The sad and tragic events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, August 12 are a stark reminder of the importance and relevance of our work as educators. As members of Kappa Delta Pi, a storied organization with a 106-year legacy of inclusion and equity, we call on our members to take action.

First, stand united with us in support of our mission and vision for empowering, preparing, sustaining, and supporting teachers as they advocate for the best interests of students. We remain committed to the goal of advancing instruction so that students are globally aware, socially responsible, resilient, and able to solve problems in just and equitable ways.

Second, take an active role in developing empathy in ourselves and our students, and in modeling respect for others and tolerance for those whose ideas and beliefs are different than our own. By incorporating a social justice approach to education, young people of all backgrounds will learn that they are not victims of their circumstances and that they can become part of the desperately needed change to disrupt and eliminate inequities.

Third, directly confront and counter racism and discrimination, and provide a healthy and caring way to address these difficult issues. Silence supports a colorblind perspective that exists in many school settings and communities. As educators, we must work together and support one another to educate children who are committed to creating a better and more just society.

We can reach these goals by explicitly teaching current events like the one in Charlottesville to our students and helping them to understand the consequences of these actions. One person can make a difference; however, by working together as a profession, we can have an even more powerful impact on making our schools, our communities, and our world a better place.

Dr. Peggy Moch, Executive Council President (2016–2018)
Faye Snodgress, Executive Director

Join this year’s Green Apple Day of Service

Green Apple Day of Service kicks off this month! The Day of Service is an opportunity to join schools across the world in celebrating the central role that schools play in preparing the next generation of global leaders.

Since 2012, more than 790,000 volunteers in 73 countries have participated in events, affecting the learning environments of over 7 million students and teachers. With 1 in 8 people around the globe attending a school every day, there is more work to be done!

Every event is chance to give students hands-on experience with sustainability and to strengthen civic leadership, environmental literacy, and project management skills. 

A schoolyard cleanup project in Guatemala as part of GADOS 2016. This project used funds from private school workshops to fix up the courtyard of a local public school.

This year, participants make a commitment at the start of school and name their own project date for any time throughout the school year. To help with fundraising, Green Apple Day of Service is using the DonorsChoose.org platform to drive donations to schools, and the Center for Green Schools and its partners are providing thousands of dollars in match funding to projects that receive donations from their communities. Projects receive tailored guidance for their specific project date and project type, and they are eligible for prizes just by keeping up with planning and executing their project.

You can learn more about Green Apple Day of Service and sign up at greenapple.org.

 

 

Celebrating Our 2017 Graduates Through Photos

Each spring, KDP staff members organize a photo contest for members to submit their graduation photos on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram) with the hashtag #KDPgrad and be entered into a drawing for one of five $20 gift certificates to the KDP Store.

This year, because the judges received so many great selfies, candids, and professional portraits as well as stories that accompanied, it was SO difficult a decision to choose only 5. But, rules are rules, so we are recognizing honorable mentions as well. (See the full album on Facebook here).

Below are the winners—in alphabetical order.

Saundra Armstrong

Saundra Armstrong, University of the District of Columbia

“After a career in the federal government and in non-for-profits for 20+ years in administrative positions, I was asked to substitute for two weeks. Needless to say 16 years later I’m still working with young children and have earned a BA with honors.”

Alexis Finch-Priester

Alexis Finch-Priester, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

“I started college heading in the nursing track. Throughout my high school years I’ve always had a job where I was working with children, and I continued while in college. During my first year of college a found a job in the local school system and LOVED what I was doing. I just knew that this was the job for me. Being a first generation college student I was a bit hesitant to explain to my family that I was going to be changing my major. I knew I was making the right decision. Without even noticing I had become an advocate for education. I realized my true passion for leading children, making every little moment teachable. I never thought that I would be graduating with an education degree but I am so excited that I get to call myself an educator. I’m so glad that I get to make a positive impact in the lives of children the way so many of my teachers did. I know this job will be rewarding in so many ways and I can’t wait to have my own classroom.”

Malia Rivera

Malia Rivera, James Madison University

“When I was in 8th grade, I had a teacher tell me I wasn’t good at math and I’d never be good. Later in High School I came to the realization that my teacher was very wrong, I was good at math! All I needed was a teacher who believed in my success. Since then, I have been determined to become a secondary math teacher. My journey to becoming a teacher has lead me on a mission to get rid of the mindset of “I can’t do that, I’m not good at math” that many students have. All it takes is one great teacher that believes in them, and I plan on being that teacher.”

Michael Williams

Michael Williams, Georgia State University

“I grew up in poverty and lost my mother at a young age. Growing up, teachers were there for me when I needed them the most. I experienced first-hand how much impact an educator can have on a child’s life. I dropped out of high school in 10th grade for no good reason. If it weren’t for some of my close family and my teachers, I am not sure I would have returned to school and completed my high school diploma. My teachers pushed me to apply for colleges and did everything they could to help me out. After spending two years at a smaller college, I transferred to Georgia State University where I just graduated summa cum laude with my Bachelors of Science in Middle-Level Education with concentrations in language arts, social science, and special education general curriculum. I also completed a minor in special education: high incidence disabilities. I’ll be working through the summer as a 7th-grade social science teacher in Atlanta, GA and will officially begin my teaching career as an 8th-grade Georgia History teacher in Gwinnett County Public Schools for the 2017-2018 school year.”

Kathy Zhao

Kathy Zhao, Stevenson University

“I have always loved working with children since I was 12 years old. I started with babysitting, then in the summer I was a camp counselor, and later worked at a daycare. From there I feel in love and I wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher. I believe that teachers are the foundation. My senior year of college, I loved every moment of student teaching and I knew right away that teaching will be my passion. I loved seeing my student’s eyes light up when they understand something they learned. I want to be apart and touch many children’s lives.”


And these are our honorable mentions (in alphabetical order)…

Sierra Becker

Sierra Becker, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (for Best Mortar Board)

“I have always had a caring, passionate personality. Throughout my college career I have dabbled in various career paths; however, I always wandered back to teaching. Once I transferred to UW-Whitewater I dove head first into everything I needed to do in order to excel as a secondary educator. Even with an accident last fall that has postponed my student teaching, I have stayed resilient with my career path. From that, and through the resources that KDP has offered me, I have found a multitude of opportunities to continue my career in the teaching field and continue my service educating our youth!”

Ursula Bryant

Ursula Bryant, University of Saint Thomas-Houston (for Most Inspirational Story)

“I was a teen mom, didn’t get a high school diploma. At 21 I received my GED. I was a single stay at home mother with two children who were disabled. After my son died in 1997, I started school, receiving my degree in teaching at the age of 40. After teaching ten years, I returned for my master’s in school counseling, which I’ve graduated with May 20, 2017.”

Audre Cantrell

Audre Cantrell, Northeastern State University (for Best Action Shot)

“I started my journey by volunteering with Community Action Project in Tulsa, OK (CAP Tulsa). It is an early childhood program for low income families. The program provides early childhood education to the child as well as before and after care. The program also helps the family find work, extra food, and clothing. The mission of CAP Tulsa is to pull the whole family out of poverty. I have been working with the program for the past three summers (first as a volunteer and twice as a part time teacher assistant). Because of this experience, I was motivated to go back to school to receive my Early Childhood Education degree. I have been offered and accepted a lead teacher position in a three year old classroom with CAP Tulsa. I am so excited to share my love for learning and play with my students. Education is a powerful tool to have in life. I want to inspire my students to continue to learn and to become a lifelong learner.”

2017 #KDPgrad with Pride Photo Contest – Now Open!

KDPgrad

Are you a senior or grad student who is graduating this spring or graduated in December?

First of all, congratulations! We are proud of you and wish you the very best as you job search and start your teaching career.

We know you must be proud of yourself and your achievements, too—and took (or will take) photos of yourself in your cap and gown with your KDP cords, stole, and/or medallion.

Share one or two of your favorite pictures of yourself on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #KDPGrad as a first step to entering our annual KDP Graduate with Pride photo contest.

To complete your entry, go to http://www.kdp.org/gradwithpridecontest.php to answer a quick survey so we know who you are and a couple of sentences about your journey to become a teacher.

All completed entries will be entered into a drawing to win 1 of 5 $20 gift certificates to the KDP Store.

Pictures will be placed in an album on KDP’s Facebook page. One way to win is to share the photo(s) from our page and/or ask your friends and family members to “like” your photo for a chance to win the most “likes.”

Eligible participants are members who graduated in December 2016 or are graduating this spring semester. The contest deadline is June 16, after which winners will be selected.

Good luck! We’ll be looking for your picture soon!

2016 Winners of the #KDPGrad Photo Contest

Tell Congress to Fund Education Leadership!

This spring, Congress will be making critical decisions about President Trump’s budget request to cut education spending by 13%.

The School Leader Recruitment and Support Program (SLRSP), the only federal program that specifically focuses on strengthening leadership in our high-need schools, is at risk.

With the emphasis on increasing student achievement, turning around failing schools, and producing college and career-ready graduates, successful school leaders are especially important.

Education leadership and leadership development, including teacher leaders and building/district leaders, have been part of Kappa Delta Pi for more than 105 years. While teacher leadership plays a critical role in improving student learning outcomes and enhancing the professional growth of teachers, schools also must have quality principal leadership.

According to the National Association of Secondary School Principals, principal leadership is second only to classroom instruction among all school-related factors that contribute to what students learn at school. Even more significant is the finding that quality principal leadership is particularly important to high-poverty schools.

The issue of quality school leadership connects with KDP’s mission in other critical ways too.

KDP has a rich legacy of working to support and retain thousands of talented new teachers who enter classrooms every year, especially those teaching in high-poverty urban and rural schools. Any teacher retention effort must include effective school leaders, because leadership is among the most important factors in a teacher’s decision to stay in a school or in the profession.

Studies have shown that improvements in school leadership were strongly related to reductions in teacher turnover. While teacher attrition has always had negative consequences on student academic achievement, school finances, and school culture, it is particularly problematic given the increasing teacher shortages across the country.

As part of an organization committed to equity and quality education for ALL students, we must advocate for adequate education funding, including the School Leadership Recruitment and Support Program for high-needs schools.

To that end, KDP, together with 29 other organizations, signed onto a joint letter.

As professionals, we can use our voices to educate members of Congress about the importance of education funding overall as well as for critical programs such as SLRSP. You, too, can sign the letter by following the link above.

We must remember: Teachers change the future!

Igniting My Passion for the Teaching Profession

During her senior year in high school, my daughter was in honors chemistry, and all she did was worksheets.

When she shared this with me, I was shocked and retorted, “But you’re in honors chemistry! All you do is worksheets? Really?” So I called the chemistry teacher, who informed me, “Yes, all we do is worksheets. You just don’t understand; you’re not a teacher!” Right then and there I said to myself, “No I am not, but I can fix that!”

So I decided to go back to college in 1992 after my only child graduated from high school.

I attended what was then Valencia Community College, graduating with honors in the spring of 1994. In the fall of 1994 I started at the University of Central Florida and was inducted into the Omicron Lambda Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi.

Becoming a member of KDP truly changed my life in ways I could never have imagined and has helped me to become a better person and a better educator.

My association with Dr. Marcella Kysilka, a former International President of KDP and the Omicron Lambda Chapter Counselor, continued to fuel and grow my knowledge of pedagogy and my passion for teaching. Upon graduating cum laude in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education, I obtained my temporary teaching certificate. After interviewing at three different high schools in my area, I was called by all of them offering me a teaching position.

I could have taught at any of the three schools. Yet I thoughtfully chose to teach at the inner-city school. Believing in the mission of KDP and the vision “Quality Learning for All” drove me to do everything within my power to inspire and motivate my students and to help them to learn and grow as individuals.

I used dice to teach probability. Kids showed up to my class that had never come before because they wanted to learn about dice. That’s OK. They also learned about probability and working with percentages and fractions along the way.

My students were project engineers for a few days, having to create boomerangs from cardboard after examining various sample models. They determined the slopes of the flanges and then created and decorated their boomerangs, which I called “sloperangs.” The looks on their faces when we went outside and tried out their prototypes were priceless. The sloperangs really worked!

We made the rate × time = distance formula come to life by measuring off fixed distances in front of the school and running “speed traps”—timing the cars as they passed. Then we went back inside and did the calculations to determine how fast the cars were going in miles per hour.

Was it an easy group of students to teach? No.

Were the challenges with teaching these students small? No.

Was it worth it? YES!

I am grateful for the opportunity I had to be their teacher, and I am grateful for being part of KDP.

My membership in KDP inspired me then and continues to ignite my passion as an educator.

Please consider a gift to Kappa Delta Pi today to celebrate the 106th year since our founding on March 8, 1911. Gifts of $19.11 or more are being matched thanks to the generosity of our Former Presidents. Donate now.

Dr. Peggy Moch is a full professor at Valdosta State University where she teachers Mathematics courses and serves as the Alpha Beta Kappa Chapter Counselor.