Five Reasons to Attend the 2017 Green Schools Conference and Expo

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The Green Schools Conference and Expo is coming up! From March 21–22, education, facilities and green building leaders and advocates will gather in Atlanta, Georgia, for professional development, networking and advancement of the green schools movement. Kappa Delta Pi is proud to partner with the U.S. Green Building Council to promote this conference and expo.

Here are the top five reasons to come to GSCE 2017, broken down for educators, administrators and facilities and building professionals:

Educators:

  • Get ideas for how to make the outdoors your classroom. Learn how you can develop a sense of place for your students in nature, using natural resources and sustainability to teach science and writing. Come away with a toolkit of new teaching habits that are designed to immerse your students in the natural world.
  • Tackle the challenge of helping students to apply new concepts. Hear ideas on how to use data to empower student action, and learn how to craft projects that engage students in the concepts of sustainability and stewardship to the environment and their communities.
  • Explore how to address math and literacy standards while exposing students to nutritious eating habits with a food preparation and taste test. Strategize ways to make lessons in gardening, the environment and nutrition relevant to students of all levels, and come away equipped with a model lesson that can be calibrated to fit your students.
  • Maximize student engagement by using the context of the entire school environment and community at large. Break down the barriers and receive direct instruction in how to make sustainability cross-curricular, student-centered and empowering and fun for learners of all ages.
  • Learn to use Visible Thinking Routines and Human-Centered Design to create a mindset of sustainability in your school community. Actively participate in sample activities you can replicate in your own classroom, and collaborate with others in your content area to brainstorm resources and best practices. Problem-solve obstacles you face within your professional learning community, such as time restraints, siloed curricula and the focus on high-stakes testing.

Administrators:

  • Go beyond “buy-in” to integrate sustainability with all of your faculty and staff. Learn from experts who have defined an evidence-based professional learning framework that addresses shifting culture and teaching practice through effective, ongoing relationships. Explore how to grapple with the challenges of integrating education for sustainability within the constantly shifting landscape of education standards and with diverse opinions about the value of sustainability integration in our public schools.
  • Learn how to leverage space as the “third teacher” to positively influence the physical, mental and emotional health of students. Hear from experts about the architectural concepts that emphasize quality light, color, materials and acoustics, which reflect the growing national priority to plan and design high-performance school environments.
  • Hear what it takes to build successful school–community partnerships to lead a school toward sustainability. Learn how to develop strong guiding principles that help all stakeholders filter important information, discuss options and consider educational models to support the best interest of the community.
  • Better understand the innovation that happens when curriculum- and facilities-related decisions are integrated to promote sustainability. Explore a clear pathway for achieving a powerful level of collaborative leadership within a school district. Learn about educational leadership approaches and strategic partnerships that can reinforce school culture and practices that are in alignment with sustainability. Develop systems of measurement and evaluation to ensure desired educational and sustainability outcomes.

Facilities and building professionals:

  • Learn to tackle some of the greatest roadblocks to innovative school construction: mixing public and private funding, working within public school regulatory environments, balancing participatory design and the realities of getting a building constructed by looking at the whole campus rather than a single building as the organizing focus, and implementing “bleeding edge” construction technologies that are new even to construction partners.

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(Original post by Anisa Baldwin Metzger of the U.S. Green Building Council on Thursday, January 26, 2017. Images via http://greenschoolsconference.org/five-reasons-attend-2017-green-schools-conference-and-expo)

Election 2016: Who is Running to Represent You?

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In the upcoming election on Tuesday, November 8, candidates are running for local, state, and national offices in the government. Prior to the election, it is important to spend some time determining who is running and what positions they hold on various issues. This information will help you to make an informed decision.

  1. 20161024_panelDetermine the candidates: The following website creates a sample ballot based on your street address: https://ballotpedia.org/Sample_Ballot_Lookup. The sample ballot includes candidates at all levels of government.
  1. Analyze the candidates’ positions: Now that you know who’s running for office, conduct a Google search and go to the candidates’ websites, where you can analyze in-depth their positions, particularly those regarding education.
  1. doggettAttend a forum hosted by a candidate: I live in Austin, Texas, and Lloyd Doggett represents my district in the United States House of Representatives. He recently a forum in my hometown that was open to the public. I had met Representative Doggett several years ago when my KDP officers and I attended an advocacy event in Washington, DC. He met with us for a few minutes outside the Capitol before an important vote on the House floor. Because I was curious about his current positions on education, I attended the forum in Austin.

Sincerely,

Nathan Bond
Chair of the KDP Public Policy Committee

Advice for the Next President of the United States

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“While we try to teach our children all about life,
they teach us what life is all about.”
— anonymous

You are likely reading this on the brink of our national election.

There have been months of bickering, insult slinging, and behavior that would not be tolerated in most of our classrooms.

Certainly there are adult issues that must be addressed, yet I sometimes wonder that if we remembered more often the voices and ears of children, we might find the margins of compromise that allow debates to become more about the “us” and less about the “them.”

Children truly have wisdom and perspective that adults sometimes forget or lose in the busyness of life.

I am sharing three links in this blog that are the voices of younger children and adolescents. What if those running for political office, as well as those who already hold a policymaking position, and the media gave more time and attention to the wisdom they have to offer?

The first link is a video made by children at the IPS/Butler Lab School. They offer advice to the next President of the United States, which includes the importance of remembering the Golden Rule and why it is best to choose kindness over meanness.

Our children are watching; so how do they reconcile what they are told is appropriate behavior for them and then see adults not modeling it? 

The second video, also by the IPS/Butler Lab School is of the children reading the famous 100 Languages poem by Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the internationally known schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Listen carefully and ask yourself, “Am I allowing students to learn and demonstrate their understanding through multiple forms of communication?”

Are you asking the child “to think without hands, to do without head, to listen and not to speak, to understand without joy?”

The third link is one of the most powerful messages I have seen, created by three young adolescents. Their message, cited in unison, provokes deep thinking and questioning about their school experience, their life as a student, and their questions about society and culture. How do we answer the question they raise as to why we ban certain books but we will not ban assault weapons, especially in light of school shootings?

While you may not agree with all of their questions and observations, it will definitely provoke thinking about issues and concerns of today’s adolescents. 

What I found in each of the three messages was the power of a child’s mind and heart and their openness for understanding.

It reminded me of the quote by Aristotle: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

I encourage you to find time to listen to children of any age that surround you and be open to learning from their minds and hearts.

Dr. Ena Shelley has served as dean of the Butler University College of Education (Gamma Nu Chapter) since 2005, championing the College’s mission “to prepare educators for schools, not as they are, but as they should be for all learners.” She has taught courses on early childhood education and kindergarten instruction since joining the college faculty in 1982. In 2012, she presented at the Indianapolis TEDx conference on “The Solutions Within.” Watch her TEDx Talk by clicking here.

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Election 2016: What Are the Candidates’ and the Parties’ Platforms?

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The four political parties with candidates for President on most ballots have positions on education-related issues. In addition to the party-adopted positions, the candidates have explained their positions as well during the last few weeks. Because of the volume of information, it can be challenging to keep the positions clear in one’s mind.

If you want a recap of the positions of the four presidential candidates and their parties (Democratic, Green, Libertarian, and Republican), then please join Amy Stich, Gary Miller, and me on Tuesday, October 18, from 7 to 8 p.m. (EDT). During this webinar, we will compare the positions on some education-related issues in an impartial manner. This webinar will help you to make an informed decision on Election Day. Register now for free!

Speaker Bios

bond_nathanDr. Nathan Bond is a full professor at Texas State University and the chair of KDP’s Public Policy Committee. Dr. Bond served nationally as KDP President from 2010 to 2012, and he has served locally as KDP Faculty Counselor at his university for the past 16 years. He and Sam Perry co-authored the article titled Voting as a Form of Professionalism: Five Steps to Take Now, which appeared in the Fall 2016 edition of the New Teacher Advocate.

miller_garyDr. Gary Miller is an assistant professor at The University of Texas at Tyler, where he serves as the program coordinator for the Master’s of Education Program in Educational Leadership. Dr. Miller is a member of KDP’s Public Policy Committee and recently co-authored a white paper for KDP on policy issues related to technology.

stich_amyDr. Amy Stich is an assistant professor at Northern Illinois University and member of KDP’s Public Policy Committee. As a sociologist of education and former senior policy analyst with the Council of Ontario Universities, Dr. Stich teaches a number of courses at NIU, including a doctoral seminar on the foundations of educational policy. Her current research examines the continuities between and unintended consequences of K-12 and postsecondary policies and practices relative to social inequality.

Sincerely,

Nathan Bond
Chair of the KDP Public Policy Committee

Are You Registered to Vote? The Deadline Is Fast Approaching!

Are you going to vote in the presidential election on Tuesday, November 8?

image_blog2-1Did you realize that you must register to vote prior to the election? Citizens of the Unites States who are at least 18 years old are required to register to vote in the county or city where they intend to vote in the elections.

Deadline to Register: The deadline to register is fast approaching. In many states, the deadline is around October 10. Click on this interactive link to determine your state’s deadline to register. http://yourvoteyourvoice.org/state-deadlines

Register to Vote: The guidelines for registering to vote vary from state to state. Click on this link to access the voter registration card and the guidelines for your specific state: https://vote.usa.gov  Voter registration cards also are available at your county or city courthouse.

Exercise your constitutional right as a citizen. Register to vote, and then voice your opinion by voting on November 8.

Nathan Bond
Chair of the KDP Public Policy Committee

A Graduate Student Summer and Online Session

For most graduate students in education, summer is the season of accomplishment.  Whether you are a teacher or administrator, work duties are a bit more relaxed.  This means that you are able to set goals to advance your degree progress.  That might mean that you are able to take an intensive week-long class, have time to write your candidacy exam, or analyze data collected during the school year.

If you are one of those graduate students, be proactive.

Now is the time to look at your summer calendar to set achievable goals for yourself along with a timetable that will keep you on track.  Some of these goals might require you to meet with your committee.  If this is the case, make sure that you schedule your meetings before spring semester ends to ensure the availability of your team.

While you might work more intensively toward your degree during the summer, do consider how much you can reasonably accomplish.

Stretch yourself, but don’t snap.

It’s difficult to start a new school year when you do not feel refreshed and renewed.

  • Remember to set time aside for yourself.
  • Time spent with your family and friends keeps you motivated and grounded.
  • Plan outings that you can look forward to as rewards for rigorous work.
  • Set smaller achievement goals and rewards every day that can keep you on track.
  • Take a walk around the neighborhood or make a coffee run if you meet your daily goal.
  • Find a place to work with limited distractions.  It might pay off to take the time to go to the library instead of getting up every few minutes to do something around the house that will divert your attention from your task.

Blog header 6The National Graduate Student Committee of Kappa Delta Pi is offering an online professional development contributing some tips, resources and challenges for you this Saturday, April 23 starting at 10:30 a.m. Eastern. You can register by clicking here.

We invite you to join us if you are able. If not, we will be gathering a list of information that we share, along with some recommendations that we might not have time for, in a document that you can download. Check back here next week to download those tips!

Is a KDP member the Best in Education?

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When you think of an active K-12 teacher who exemplifies the profession and accomplishes more with less, who comes to mind? Certainly, that person is a KDP member!

Nominate that teacher for a $20,000 prize!

TheBestSchools.org invites the members and staff of Kappa Delta Pi to nominate outstanding K-12 teachers for the Escalante–Gradillas Prize for Best in Education. Awarded annually in alternating years to a school administrator or teacher, the 2015 prize went to principal Lisa Kaplan of Andrew Jackson School in Philadelphia. For 2016, a practicing teacher will receive the prize.

The Escalante–Gradillas Prize for Best in Education goes to an educator who exemplifies the same spirit as noted math teacher Jaime Escalante of Stand & Deliver film fame and his principal, Henry Gradillas. Escalante and his AP Calculus students achieved notoriety through hard work and devotion to excellence, overcoming numerous obstacles. TheBestSchools.org seeks the same in an educator you know—someone who achieves stellar results while accomplishing more with less.

Nominate a teacher through June 1, 2016!

Further details and nominating qualifications are at TheBestSchools.org site and on the informational guide found here. A panel of leading educators will award $10,000 to the selected teacher, with an additional $10,000 granted to that teacher’s school or district. Finalists will be announced September 1, 2016, with the winner chosen in early October 2016.

Feel free to share the following shortlink with others on social media: http://bit.ly/2016prize.
Also, send a tweet to let your followers know about the prize!

Good luck to all of the nominees!