A teacher, a Falcon, and a Kadelpian for life.

A few weeks ago, the Dean of the College of Education and Human Development, Dr. Dawn Shinew, contacted me and asked if Kappa Delta Pi members would be interested in meeting Muriel Hutchinson Strebe and honoring her at a Classroom Dedication ceremony.

After some inquiring, I learned that Mrs. Strebe was a successful elementary school teacher and had made Bowling Green State University the beneficiary in her estate plan as well as established the Muriel Hutchinson Strebe Scholarship for students entering the College of Education. So, naturally, I agreed, looking for any opportunity to demonstrate Kappa Delta Pi’s support of fellow educators.

After rallying the KDP members that were available during the day on a Friday, we made our way to a personal meet and greet with Mrs. Strebe, taking our seats at a round conference table on the fourth floor of the Education Building, waiting for this generous woman who was being honored throughout the College of Education.

Then she walks in.

Muriel Strebe.

Dressed in orange with a large golden medal hanging around her neck.

Helping her in is Dean Shinew, along with the college assistants who have been with her the whole day. She smiles at us and laughs, explaining that golden medal meant that she was a “Golden Falcon,” an award she won for being an involved alumnus.

She is remarkable, so excited to talk to fellow education students—students to whom she has given so much.

14457321_1659164627728061_5365316323270890690_nAfter she sits down, I introduce myself and tell her that I am President of our campus chapter of Kappa Delta Pi.

She said, “Yes, I was a part of this chapter when I went to school here.” I look at her, astonished, and then I look at the dean. I couldn’t believe it. This incredibly gracious woman was a part of OUR chapter. The Delta Phi Chapter! I was so excited. No one in this room knew that she was a member of Kappa Delta Pi before that moment.

I motioned for the next KDP members to introduce themselves, while I scanned my mind for ways to recognize this woman as a KDP member.

“The Binder!” I thought.

The Chapter binder that every KDP initiate has signed for decades. Her name was probably in it! What better way to welcome her home than by showing her the binder she signed more than 65 years ago.

I excused myself from the conference room and ran across campus to get it. It was in our KDP office, only 5 minutes away.

I unlocked the cabinet and went to the very back of the binder. Loose-leaf papers were ripped and aged, with some barely hanging on in the binder. I saw that the pages went back only to 1958, and so the years 1958 down to 1947 were either never documented or were missing. I knew our chapter was more than 75 years old, so Muriel Hutchinson Strebe would more than likely have been initiated her freshman year.

It saddened me that I couldn’t present to her the initiation page she signed so long ago. It was time to be creative and find a way to honor this remarkable woman through Kappa Delta Pi.

Then I see them, the blank certificates in the cabinet. Maybe I could re-initiate Mrs. Strebe and honor her a second time. I knew she was worthy of it, for who better exemplified the words of the Kappa Delta Pi creed?

Mrs. Strebe has lived the ideals of Fidelity to Humanity, Science, Service, and Toil. She has inspired and strengthened others and is the essence of Knowledge, Duty, and Power.

I grabbed the binder, a blank certificate, and a creed. I quickly walked back to the conference room, knowing exactly what I was going to do.

I entered the room while the members were wrapping up their introductions. I looked at Mrs. Strebe and told her that our records had been misplaced, and I couldn’t find her signature—but, if she would be okay with it, I would like to re-initiate her so she can be added to our binder.

She laughed and said that she would be honored!

I placed the binder on the table and read a small portion of our ceremony ritual.

14441184_1659164567728067_1479710292263504065_nI then handed her a pen, and she signed our Society Charter for a second time.

We all clapped after she signed, and I held her hand, thanking her for agreeing to sign our book and be a part of the Kappa Delta Pi Class of 2016.

While she was in another meeting, I went to our Technology Resource Center and printed a fresh Kappa Delta Pi certificate with her name and the date on it. When I saw her after the classroom dedication, I gave her the folder with the certificate and the creed.

I thanked her for everything she has done for education students and asked if we could take a picture with her.

This picture includes Kappa Delta Pi members old and new, as well as Freddie and Frieda Falcon, with Muriel Hutchinson Strebe in the center.

This picture includes Kappa Delta Pi members old and new, as well as Freddie and Frieda Falcon, with Muriel Hutchinson Strebe in the center.

A teacher, a Falcon, and a Kadelpian for life.

Kristen Tabesh is a 4th year student at Bowling Green State University and the President of the Delta Phi Chapter of KDP. She is a Middle Childhood Education major with concentrations in Language Arts/Reading and Social Studies. Kristen has wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember, and she absolutely cannot wait to have a classroom of her own.

Read more of this story on the Bowling Green State University page.

Operation Literacy Engaging Everyone

We don’t know his name, or that of his older sister, but we were still moved when he exclaimed, “I love Dr. Seuss! Daddy can I take this one?”

chapman-literacy1We glanced at one another excitedly as the boy clumsily pulled the Seuss work out of the book station we had just inaugurated. His sister found one, too, and was proud to be like her brother, book held high above her head.

Smiling, his father asked him which books he was going to bring back for other kids to take.

As they walked away hand in hand, the boy, his sister, and their father continued their conversation about books, and about reading. We were filled with a sense of gratitude for a moment that brought our vision of free neighborhood book stations to life.

These seemingly unplanned moments where learning connects families, communities, and each of us to a deeper self are what we live for as educators and future educators.

This year’s Literacy Alive! project brought many such moments to the members of Chapman’s Chi Beta Chapter.

Each year, the chapters of Kappa Delta Pi connect around a national literacy campaign called Literacy Alive! to “create programs and events in their communities that bring empowering literacy skills to their participants.” This year, more than 150 projects were submitted nationally, adding up to 57,052 people served and 44,625 books collected for distribution. As a chapter, Chi Beta was recognized for its partnership with a local initiative: Operation Literacy Engaging Everyone (Operation L.E.E.) in Anaheim, California.

Operation L.E.E.’s Facebook page reads, “We are a group of community members out to promote literacy and spread the love of reading in our community by providing book stations with free books.” The book stations are located at various homes and businesses in Anaheim, and represent a true community effort. A vision of local educators, the book stations are filled with donated books that anyone can borrow or take or donate. Operation L.E.E. started with five book stations and hopes to increase that number throughout Anaheim and in other interested cities.

chapman-literacy2Our first adventure with Operation L.E.E. was at the South Junior High School Service Day, where Chapman’s KDP members were tutored in making book stations by students. The amazing woodshop teacher, Chapman alumnus Matthew Bidwell, guided us around the classroom while seventh and eighth graders made assistants of us and demonstrated their mastery of carpentry. It was a fun and exciting day of building book stations from instructions, wood, and know-how.

As future educators, we talked about how it reminded us that our students will always be our greatest teachers, and that our classrooms can be spaces for doing good.

chapman-literacy3We also helped sort more than 500 donated books, prompting a recognition of our community’s generosity and spirit.

As book donations rolled in they were collected at the home of Operation L.E.E. leader, Juan Alvarez. A local educator and parent, Juan welcomed a collaboration with Chapman, and KDP members helped distribute books to book stations around Anaheim. Juan also welcomed us to his home, where we hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Operation L.E.E. at the location of the first official book station.

chapman-literacy4Here, Operation L.E.E. was presented with congressional recognition from Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, and the book stations officially went live!

In recognition of the success of Operation L.E.E., KDP awarded Chapman’s Chi Beta Chapter with a Silver Award.

chapman-literacy5As the project continues to grow, you can help by donating books, providing funds or materials to build more book stations, or volunteering to host a book station at your home or business (contact operationleeoc@gmail.com).

It was exciting for us to help support local educators who are moving beyond their classrooms to make an even greater impact in their community. And we were able to practice engaged citizenship by helping local educators bring a model program into fruition.

In addition to strengthening our relationship with one of our partner districts in Anaheim, we also developed new partnerships with other collaborating organizations such as Los Amigos de Orange County and the Anaheim Public Library.

chapman-literacy6Toward the end of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, we had our serendipitous visitors, our first book station patrons, and they knew exactly what to do. For us, it was like watching from a distance—watching our efforts and those of the community sprout into an opportunity.

For the father and his children, it was a seemingly spontaneous moment to talk about reading.

But we saw meaning in our project and could envision many such moments happening at this book station and at others around the city. Operation L.E.E. had come to life, and Chapman’s Kappa Delta Pi chapter helped make it happen.

Guest author Anat Herzog is an educator who has a deep love for her students and their families. She is a doctoral candidate at Chapman University and Literacy Alive! Coordinator for the Chi Beta Chapter of KDP. Her eventual goal is to open a school based on the pedagogical principles of John Dewey and Paulo Freire.

Children of Unauthorized Immigrants

Catherine Gonzalez is an Elementary and Special Education double major with Social and Behavioral Sciences with a minor in Psychology at Seton Hall University (SHU). She is currently the Vice President of Kappa Delta Pi, Xi Gamma Chapter at SHU.

SHU_event23jpgThe program I spearheaded was Children of Unauthorized Immigrants, which involved four panelists all with backgrounds in the social sciences and teaching students of unauthorized immigrants. One panelist also spoke from firsthand experience, as a woman who went through school while being undocumented.

SHU_event1During this program, the Seton Hall community got the chance to explore a world that they likely hadn’t put a lot of thought into before now. Students and faculty alike got the chance to step into the metaphorical shoes of people in this country who face struggles and experiences many of us never have to even consider.

It was a chance to catch a glimpse into the firsthand experience of those who come to this country with nothing for the small possibility of building a better life.

SHU_event4When the idea of this program was brought up, I instantly felt drawn towards it.  I was involved in this program because I felt it would spark an important conversation, on a topic that isn’t often spoken about. During this presidential election, the conversation of immigration itself has been a hot topic. With negative and hateful views becoming more publicized and growing in number, we felt as an organization that the best way to combat this would be through providing information. Ignorance is usually based in misunderstanding and missing information, so we thought to combat that in the way we knew best: educating others.

SHU_event6As a first-generation American and college student, this was something that was very near to me, through my personal experience of seeing people go through similar issues. I was pleased to find that, when working with advisors and other students, they shared my opinion of the importance of discussions on this topic. These discussions led to further conversations on topics that many students who are going into teaching or becoming professionals that work with children hadn’t really thought about before.

Kappa Delta Pi instills in its members the values of knowledge, duty and power. This discussion of teaching children of unauthorized immigrants and what we as educators and other professionals can do is important as it emerges into the core values that Kappa Delta Pi stands for, and that we as future educators strive to reach.

SHU_event8

Teach Like a Champion: Putting on a Successful Chapter Program

The Alpha Beta Pi Chapter helditeach their 10th Annual Teaching and Learning Expo at Mercyhurst University on November 7, 2015. This is the chapter’s major professional development event; the chapter has won awards in the professional development category in both 2013 and 2014 for their success with this event. This year’s Expo entitled, “Teach like a Champion” incorporated tips and tricks on classroom management strategies.

Although our Expo takes place in November, we start planning months ahead of time. Preparation for our event begins in late March and we continue to work on the event until a week after the actual date of the Expo. The first step to creating a program similar to our Teaching and Learning Expo is to establish a date. We have consistently scheduled our Expo for the first weekend in November, as the weather is still decent and it works well for our University schedule in conjunction with the presenters. Next, it is important to choose a topic that is relevant to students’ interests. We choose our topic based upon the feedback forms from the prior year that the participants fill out previous to leaving the Expo.

Following that, we carefully review possible keynote speakers that embody our theme of that year and have a good amount of energy to help kick start our event.Superpower Tee Our 2015 keynote speakers were Alan Karns and Gleck Williams, the field placement director and assistant director at Mercyhurst University who were the epitome of our vision for keynote speakers. During their presentation, “We Teach, What’s Your Superpower?”, our recital hall was filled with positive energy. Fellow students were motivated and were able to fill their teacher toolboxes with tips and strategies.

Next on our to-do list, is to find speakers for the three general sessions. Each of our session is 50 minutes long followed by a 10 minute break in between. We look for speakers with diverse backgrounds, concentrations and experiences to fulfill a variety of needs and also to embody our education department’s tagline, “Teach. Anyone. Anywhere.” In addition to teachers, we welcome principals, administrators, professors, and researchers that have made an impact in education to speak at our event. In 2015, we had 14 presenters with diverse backgrounds present at our event.

Speaker1After securing speakers, we talk to the necessary school personnel in order to reserve classrooms, the recital hall, and order refreshments for the event. After these fundamental tasks are completed, the hardcore preparation begins. The Alpha Beta Pi chapter counselors are in constant communication with the speakers discussing biography information, the topic/title of their presentation, making the brochure for advertising, and fulfilling any necessary accommodations the speakers may have. Meanwhile, the Alpha Beta Pi chapter officers are heading committees that prepare gifts for our speakers, a packet of information for each attendee, preparing fliers for the event and registration, greeting speakers, and handing out gifts while the expo is underway.

The schedule of our day begins with registration and breakfast at 7:45 a.m. and gives participants, speakers, and faculty an opportunity to mingle before the start of the Expo. Then, everyone files into the recital hall for the Keynote address that takes place from 8:15 a.m. until 8:50 a.m. After energizing attendees and giving them a taste of what is to come, students have a moment to grab another refreshment on the way to their first session.Each student has a customized itinerary of their choosing. This allows our students to maximize their time at our Expo. At 9:50 a.m., our first session concludes and students have another opportunity to get a breakfast snack and refreshment and attend the second session. Our final session begins at 11:00 a.m. and lasts until 11:50 a.m. At the start of this final session, we encourage students to fill out the feedback forms and to drop them in a box on their way out.

Though the expo concludes at 11:50 a.m., our chapter’s president and associate counselor meet a few days after to go over the feedback forms, type up a list of general suggestions, and choose a theme for the following year to be approved by the counselor and fellow officers.

Although the expo takes a large amount of time, dedication and commitment from our KDP chapter, reading feedback forms from students and being at an event with so much energy makes every moment invested into expo preparation completely worth it!

Use2Co-author Kaleigh Ruggiero is a senior at Mercyhurst University and currently the president of the Alpha Beta Pi chapter. Jessica Pepe is a graduate student at Mercyhurst University and currently the associate counselor for the Alpha Beta Pi chapter.

Stevenson University Members are Real Hallo-winners!

A tiger, a witch, and a robot walk into a library . . .

No, it’s not the beginning of a joke. It’s what happens when members of the Stevenson University Kappa Delta Pi chapter host their annual Boo Bash at the Finksburg Branch of the Carroll County Public Library in Maryland. Each year, these creative and caring students develop and present a Halloween program for Finksburg area residents. And the kids love it. Participants are invited to come to the event in image-2costume. (Hence the tiger, the witch, and the robot from the beginning of this post.) Members of Kappa Delta Pi pick favorite Halloween titles to read out loud for a fun and funny story time. And there is always a host of easy and interesting activities for the young ones. Ranging from paper plate jack o’ lanterns to lollipop ghosts, the children love the opportunity to make festive crafts.

These students provide a great service by coordinating this program at the library. First, the event proves to be a good draw to get folks into the branch. Who doesn’t love a festive autumn story time? And once there,image-1 patrons can begin to see (if they didn’t already know) how the modern library is so much more than just books. It’s story times and crafts and gathering together to enjoy the season. It’s family and friends cherishing time spent together. It’s conscientious college students volunteering their time to help bring laughter and a love of reading to the neighborhood. It’s a focal point for the community to gather and to enjoy.

And so the library is truly grateful for the work of Kappa Delta Pi. We are thankful for their partnership and for the joy they spread to the community. Halloween may be the season for scares, but it’s smiles that are handed out when members of Kappa Delta Pi come to the Finksburg Branch.

The Psi Omicron Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi is being honored at KDP’s 50th Biennial Convocation for multiple Chapter Program Awards from 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. They are also one of 25 chapters receiving the Achieving Chapter Excellence (ACE) Award.

Bryan Hissong is the Manager of the Finksburg Branch Library in Carroll County, Maryland.

NYC iLead Conference is a Huge Success!

Michelle Rosenberg is president of Xi Rho Chapter at St. Francis College

On Sunday, February 22, St. Francis College hosted its very first Kappa Delta Pi iLead Conference.

iLead photo 2Participants braved the harsh New York City temperatures, snow and ice to make it to the networking event. Students and professionals traveled from as far as Pennsylvania, Westchester, and Long Island just to be in attendance!

The morning began with a brief registration process and light refreshments. As the conference began, pens and computer keys began moving and chatter between everyone got louder and louder. It was the perfect opportunity to speak to seasoned educators whose specialties ranged from special education, English and college level literature.

The activities focused primarily on the core of what leadership truly is and how to become an effective leader in your very own classroom or school building. Topics ranged from reflections about what leadership means/is, ways to become a teacher leader (examples: publishing work and mentoring incoming teachers), the types of leadership methodologies, effective cooperative work between teachers/administrators, and the coveted interview prep.

iLead photo 1I’d have to say that the BEST part of the entire conference was speaking to other chapter leaders and getting tips from current student teachers about their experiences in the classroom and with their chapters. Everyone was extremely enthusiastic about their upcoming philanthropy efforts, e-boards, and chapter development as a whole.

The iLead conference turned out to be the perfect opportunity to get tips from ACE chapter leaders about their communication tools, programming, and overall inner workings. I especially enjoyed my conversations with the women from Kappa Eta Chapter at St. John’s University. Our conversation became so detailed that someone suggested that we create a Google forum or Facebook group to stay in touch. This will be in the works very soon!

Overall, the iLead conference proved to be a success for many reasons. I learned a great deal and met some incredible souls that really opened up my eyes and heart. I hope that everyone was able to get something meaningful from this opportunity because I definitely did!

Good luck with your future endeavors and I look forward to seeing you all in classroom or board room one day.

Chapter Hosts Documentary Screening

Angela Fazio is co-president of Kappa Eta Chapter at St. John’s University.

TEACH ViewingWe recently held a viewing of the TEACH documentary and invited all NYC Chapters as a way to collaborate with other chapters and inspire dialogue that goes far beyond the classroom.

Cindy Amuzie, who is the Historian of Kappa Eta Chapter had these words to say after the event: “This documentary does a great job depicting the experiences a teacher has to go through. This experience is all trial and error until a breakthrough is found, until all students are reached, or until your students find themselves in what they are learning. I am so happy we screened this documentary!”

We reviewed the event on our university website, which highlights the panel of members who discussed the documentary, as well as the realistic nature of the film and the adversities teachers must overcome with their students.

Due to the success of our event, and feedback from our student body, we plan on hosting a screening of the TEACH documentary at the beginning of every year!

Kappa Delta Pi has partnered with Participant Media to make the TEACH documentary available to our chapters. If you’re interested in receiving a DVD, email mcs@kdp.org.