Got a Minute? for Week of March 16, 2015

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and first day of Spring this week!!

In our March 16 Got a Minute? video I remind you that the Job Search Summit webinars are over, but your opportunity to take advantage of the Job Search help is not.

Please feel free to join the Job Search Academy on KDP Global even if you don’t watch any of the videos. You will learn a lot and get your questions answered as you seek a full-time teaching position. If you need further help, call headquarters at 800-284-3167 (free) or email me at sally@kdp.org. We are here to support you! Have a great week!

Got a Minute? Week of March 9, 2015

Got a minute for KDP? See what’s going on at headquarters in a one-minute(ish) video.

This week:

Got a Minute? Week of February 23, 2015

Got a minute for KDP? See what’s going on at headquarters in a one-minute(ish) video.

This week:

One Year Later—How We’re Changing to Better Serve You

Faye Snodgress is executive director of Kappa Delta Pi.

Faye_S_7-1-14Last April, I shared information about the results of a membership needs assessment and stated that I would keep you posted on our progress in moving the Society forward based on what we learned.

Since the start of the 2014-2015 academic year, much of our effort has been focused on providing a more consistent chapter experience for collegiate members by:

  • Providing common expectations for all chapters,
  • Implementing new training for chapter officers, and
  • Increasing the amount of resources and support provided to our chapters by Headquarters staff.

Our efforts seem to be making a positive impact. As of the end of December, the number of initiates has increased 7% and there has been a steady increase in the number of graduate students. As an indication of increased chapter engagement, 14 chapters have volunteered to host regional iLEAD conferences this semester.

Building off the finding that we needed to find ways to better inform members about the benefits, services, and events available to them, we increased our use of social media and targeted mailings. In September, we launched an entirely new website with improved navigation and streamlined information. Member input was used throughout the development of the new site.

To address the challenges of transitioning into the classroom, a New Teacher Community was established in KDP Global, with 14 expert teachers serving as online mentors.

While we are pleased with our progress, our work is not done. We continue to assess what we do and how it aligns with the professional needs of KDP members. As you can see, we take our responsibility for serving and supporting you very seriously. We rely on your input to guide our efforts. If you have any suggestions or ideas, I would love to hear from you! You can contact me at faye@kdp.org.

Networking: Old Style and New

Jack Kronser has recently retired as Director of Human Resources at Aurora Public Schools near Denver, Colorado. He has hired hundreds of teachers.

jack kronserAmong the many skills needed to be successful in the teaching profession is the ability to navigate networks. Networking is defined  as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically, the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.”

Career opportunities in any profession are impacted by networks. Teaching is no exception. Long before official word gets out regarding job vacancies, word of potential career opportunities are out in the network, both formally and informally. For someone just starting out in teaching, or desiring to make a move (up or laterally), it is important to be networked as well. How do you create your network and become included in the networks you desire?

  • Field Experiences. Prior to and including your student teaching, you probably spent time in five or six different schools on “field experiences.” Teachers, principals, and support staff you met or observed need to be a part of your network. Keep a file of their names, positions, and contact information.
  • Student Teaching. Everyone knows how important student teaching is for launching your career. But did you make it a point to meet and talk with as many teachers, staff, and administrators as you could while you were student teaching? Did you attend trainings or meetings outside the building where you student taught—and meet more teachers and staff? Stay in touch with these people. Add all of them to your file.
  • Principal and Assistant Principal Contacts. Get to know the principal and assistant principal in the building where you student teach. Reaching out to them is the first step in your being able to demonstrate your qualifications which can lead to job opportunities or recommendations to other administrators. Add them to your file.
  • Professional Organizations. Become active in teacher organizations like KDP and the organization for whatever you teach, such as the National Council for Teachers of English. Most of these content-area associations have student memberships and can help you learn who the well-respected teachers in that area are. If you become active, you will gain skills you can add to your résumé and you will meet people from all areas of the country or state you can add to your file.
  • Seminars/Job Fairs. Teacher job fairs (at your college or in communities) are one of the very best places to personalize your job search process. Many new hires first made connection with a school district at an education job fair. Add specific names, emails, phone numbers, and district information for everyone you talked with to your file.
  • Social Networks. Take advantage of social networks like LinkedIn to let your availability and qualifications be known and to find openings. Use your Facebook page in a professional manner. Google yourself to see what an HR Director will see.

Join me for a training webinar on networking as part of the Job Search Summit on Saturday, February 28 at 5 p.m. (EST). See the rest of the line-up and find out how to get a résumé review in the Job Search Summit.

Home for the holidays? Don’t forget to network!

Sally Rushmore edits the New Teacher Advocate. She formerly taught secondary science and computer applications at a community college.

Kappa Delta Pi104Where will you be spending the holidays? Most college students go home or go visit friends or family for the holidays, and it’s a great time to enjoy lots of talk and catching up. If you are a senior, remember you will be looking for a job for next fall starting in about 3−4 months. Seeing people you don’t see every day is a great opportunity to network and let them know you are looking for a job. Did you know that more than 70% of teaching jobs are found through networking?

Not sure what to do or say? Here’s a quick guide:

  • Be sure to connect with as many people as you can over the vacation, either by phone or in person.
  • Always carry a method for taking notes—pen and paper, smart phone with a notes area, or whatever works for you to be able to find the information later.
  • Feel free to lead the conversation by asking where they are working or when they are graduating and what they plan to do.
  • Often people will ask you if you are student teaching or will be graduating in the spring. If they don’t, you need to bring it up. If they do, that’s a great time to let them know what you need from them:
    • Tell them that you will be student teaching, graduating, and looking for a teaching position.
    • Tell them what grade or subject area you will be qualified to teach.
    • Ask them if they know anyone who is a teacher or principal or works in a school system. Everyone knows someone who works in a school system!
    • Ask them to keep their eyes and ears open for any positions in whatever you want to teach.
    • Ask if they will tell everyone they know in a school system that you are looking.
    • Ask if you can send them a résumé they can print and share and get their email address.
    • Thank them and let them know you’ll keep in touch.
  • If you are talking to someone who teaches or works in a building or district you’d really like to teach in, be sure to ask that person to let you know as soon as she/he hears about any retirements or teachers not returning after a maternity leave. Ask questions about the atmosphere in the building, the demographics of the building, how the principal is to work for, and other things you will need to know.
  • Keep a list of everyone you talk with, where they work, and their email address (phone number is also helpful).
  • When you get your résumé ready, you will have a list of people to send it to!

And speaking of getting a résumé ready, you’ll need to learn what to put on that résumé and what to do after that. So don’t forget to ask for a book or two for the holidays. Kappa Delta Pi has some books you will need:

You’ve deconstructed the Common Core State Standards. Now what?

Dr. Vicky Tusken is a 26-year veteran of the classroom. She is Secondary Curriculum Coordinator for the Dekalb Community Unit School District, in DeKalb, Illinois, and serves as the Professional Representative on Executive Council for Kappa Delta Pi.

Vicky TuskenFor the past two or three years, states and school districts around the country have wrestled with the process of adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards.  To make the process “simpler,” many have opted to begin with deconstructing or breaking down the standards into smaller pieces in order to develop learning targets and measurable objectives.  However, after that process is completed, many classroom teachers and district administrators are left asking the question, “now what?” The next steps are not always that clear.

From both a classroom teacher and district administrator’s perspective, I have found the following four steps extremely helpful in navigating the course from deconstruction to implementation.

Have a Road Map. This may seem a bit obvious to most, but it would surprise you to know how many teachers and school districts are moving forward with little vision as to how to move forward. In my own district, groups of teachers did a phenomenal job of deconstructing the standards and developing “I can” statements and templates from which future units could be developed. However, once the templates were completed, we had to face the “now what” questions. There were so many different directions we could take, and none of them guaranteed that the instructional practices and instructional shifts, the life blood of the Common Core, would be realized.  So as a district, we hit the pause button and developed a two-four game plan that describes steps towards the big picture vision. We all acknowledge the road map is not written in stone, but at least everyone has the same understanding in terms of direction, with the same big picture in mind.

Provide Teacher Collaboration Time…and Protect IT! It is well-documented how powerful instruction becomes when teachers are given time to collaborate. The rapid growth of professional learning communities (PLCs) and data-driven instruction speak to this fact. In our district, we have committed to seven early-release days throughout the school year for the sole purpose of teacher collaboration. At the beginning, the teacher groups were given structure from the district, however as the year has progressed, the teacher groups have caught the vision, becoming very focused and teacher-driven. From an administrator’s end, we keep the time sacred and do not force building and district initiatives into the mix.

Focus on one shift/practice at a time. So you have your learning targets, measurable objectives, and even materials aligned with the Common Core, but how do you actually change how you teach? As a grade level team or department, begin with committing to one, and only one, instructional shift or practice at a time. What does that look like? When working with the 8th grade English/Language Arts teachers this past fall, I had them identify which reading standard that appeared to be integrated in many of their reading assignments and recent novel unit. They agreed RL1, which focuses on citing and analyzing textual evidence, was pervasive throughout many of their instructional materials. As a group, they committed to utilizing and sharing a variety of strategies to help their students identify and analyze textual evidence, and creating common written responses and common rubrics to track their students’ progress. As they move into second semester, they plan to focus on close reading strategies to enhance reading comprehension.

KDP Global. I realize I should have put this first, but truly, we are each other’s best resource. All of us are struggling to find our way as we attempt to implement the common core with integrity. I especially encourage members to put out there resources that have been beneficial to their practices. We all know the market is flooded with materials, blogs, and webinars, all claiming to be the magic bullets of implementation. To wade through the mountain of offerings, many of which are not helpful, is daunting. I can’t encourage you all enough to post what IS working for you.

The common core here to stay. However with focus and collaboration, the steps from deconstruction to implementation can transform both teacher practice and student learning.