October is Honor Your Counselor Month

Fall is my favorite season of the year.  The changing of the leaves, cooler temperatures that require hooded sweatshirts, and both football and the school year are in full swing.  These are things I am thankful for each October.

However, more than these things, I am thankful for the wonderful leaders in the field of education that I have the pleasure of working with each and every day.KDP Counselor Thank You

Each biennium at KDP, we set aside the weeks leading up to Convocation as Honor Your Counselor Month.

Please join us in recognizing and thanking your Chapter Counselor(s) for the work they do in supporting and advising your KDP chapter by participating in our “We Couldn’t BEE More Thankful!” program:

  • By donating to KDP in honor of your Counselor, you will purchase your counselor a $5 Starbucks Gift Card and support our Counselor appreciation efforts, (including light snacks and a special Counselor room at Convo 2015 in Orlando, Florida).

We look forward to partnering with you to show our dedicated, volunteer Counselors how much we appreciate all they do for our individual KDP chapters and also the entire Society.

From all of us here at Headquarters, thank you!

Note:  If a donation isn’t an option right now, check out the list of other ideas to Honor Your Counselor posted here.

  Chapin Schnick

Chapin Schnick is Northeast Regional Chapter Coordinator at Kappa Delta Pi.

KDP Celebrates You During National Volunteer Week

Rachel Gurley is chapter operations coordinator at Kappa Delta Pi.

thankyouvolunteerweek2015

Getting a personal thank-you card is always a gesture everyone appreciates. As a Kappa Delta Pi volunteer, you are the core of what we do. Whether you are a counselor, officer, committee member, or dedicated member of KDP, we appreciate the selfless sacrifice of your time. Without committed volunteers, Kappa Delta Pi would not be thriving today among educators dedicated to teaching. We not only recognize excellence in education, we recognize your volunteer role as invaluable. Thank you for all that you do!

Successful Change of Counselors for a KDP Chapter

Dr. Mary C. Clement is the current Counselor of the Berry College Rho Upsilon Chapter, and she served as the international KDP President for 2012–2014. Her wonderful mentor is Dr. Mary E. Outlaw. Dr. Clement has recently taken the reigns of the chapter and has offered this reflection on her transition experience.

With my first initiation of new members complete, I can breathe a sigh and reflect on how lucky I was to have inherited such a strong KDP chapter on my campus. More importantly, I realize how fortunate I was that the long-time former counselor took me under her tutelage before she actually retired. Our transfer of former counselor to new counselor has been such a positive experience that I want to share the example for others.

The KDP chapter at my college was led for more than 20 years by one counselor with a remarkable record. She began the tradition of inviting the State Teacher of the Year to speak on campus, oversaw a dynamic Literacy Alive! program that paired education majors with student athletes to read and donate books to local schools, and kept strong numbers of new initiates every year. During her last 2 years on campus, she took a tiered retirement and worked half-time.

Dr. Mary Clement speaking at KDP Convo 2013 in Dallas, Texas

Dr. Mary Clement speaking at KDP Convo 2013 in Dallas, Texas

During her half-time work, I became the co-counselor and began participating more fully with the chapter. Since I already was quite familiar about Kappa Delta Pi as an organization from my work on the Executive Council, we focused on what I needed to know about being the counselor of a student group on our campus. I needed to learn about how student organization budgets worked, how to get bills paid, and how to work with the registrar’s office to obtain lists of eligible undergraduate and graduate students. In other words, I needed to learn with whom to network when I needed something, such as catering for the induction ceremonies. In the final semester of our co-counselorship, I took the lead, but still turned to her for advice and answers to my questions.

While Kappa Delta Pi recognizes how hard our dedicated chapter counselors work, we may need to add one more job to their volunteer job description. That job would be to mentor the new counselor during a transition time. The nuances of the counselor’s job are different on every campus, and learning the ropes from the outgoing counselor is very helpful to the incoming one. Now, all that’s left is for me to get my final report to Headquarters in a timely manner. Thank goodness my mentor counselor left a file!

Supporting the Grieving Student

Thomas Ulmet is Midwest Regional Chapter Coordinator at Kappa Delta Pi.

It was probably the best week of my short life at 15. It was my first band trip, first visit to Florida, first time to Disney World, first time on a real ocean beach. It was basically the best week ever. Until I got home. As the bus pulled around the circle I noticed my mother and some friends from my youth group at church were waiting near the entrance to the school. I thought it was odd, but also considered that it was a Sunday, and perhaps they had all come over to see me as I was just getting back from this huge cross-country trip.

As I unloaded my trombone and started walking to the small cluster that was obviously waiting for me, I don’t think I even noticed that Chad wasn’t among them. Of course he was a busy teenager too, popular at his school and on the JV basketball team. We would talk about how he planned to transfer to my high school, which had a better basketball program, when he finally got his license. He was taking driver’s ed and I later found out, had just gotten his permit that week. We would often hang out on Sunday afternoons—he had a pool and a Nintendo so going to his house was a good time—so maybe I should have noticed he wasn’t with the group that sunny afternoon.

I don’t remember who said what, how the message was delivered. While I was having an amazing time in Florida, Chad had told his parents he was going to walk to a nearby cousin’s house, but he never made it. I don’t recall how they found him and his rifle in the shallow wooded area between the homes. I do know the friends who had gathered around explained that they had already taken him off life support, and he had passed away before I got back to Indiana. I do remember how instantly my emotions plummeted from a tired euphoria to total numbness. I can still remember feeling the weight, a heaviness that can’t possibly be real but somehow oozes down the shoulder to the tips of the fingers and just pulls you down to the ground stronger than gravity.

I can only remember one teacher, Mrs. Mahan, who realized that I was grieving. I remember being in her class, and after not finishing a test, she pulled me aside after the bell. I think she started to lecture me, maybe it was to warn me of my impending poor grades or that I needed to buckle down and work harder. I do remember I wasn’t trying to make excuses but I did let it slip that attending the funeral that week seemed to throw off my week. I think at that point she realized that she was dealing with a grieving student. Again I can’t remember what changed, I do know she showed me tenderness, and the rest of the semester she was supportive of me. My grades probably didn’t improve much, but she became one of my favorite teachers. She sewed a button back on my shirt that had come off and advised me to always carry an emergency sewing kit. Sewing kits are still special to me.

A couple of years later I remember our marching band director was going around recognizing all the seniors. The band director talked about how I really came out of my shell as a senior and what a transformation she had seen since I was a freshman. She also mentioned her memory of that day after the band trip, how she wondered at the time if this shy, introverted guy “would go nuts” but instead she was relieved to see how I broke out of my shell and became an outgoing section leader. I had no idea she was aware of the news I received that day, how it affected me. I truly doubted any other educator or counselor at the school was aware of my loss, and certainly nobody but Mrs. Mahan talked to me about it. It shocked and confused me that almost 2 years later I learned that others knew, and they stood back and watched.

Maybe this was the 1990s, and today schools are more proactive about dealing with student grief. After a tragedy we are now assured that counselors are available for students and families. I believe that is important. I also believe there is more educators can do when they know students are dealing with grief.

That is why I am so excited to hear Dr. David Schonfeld and a number of partner organizations have launched a new site, www.grievingstudents.org. The site hopes to provide educators with information and advice to better understand and meet the needs of grieving students. I encourage you to check out the site, but also to access Dr. David Schonfeld’s KDP Webinar, “Supporting the Grieving Student” available in the KDP Resources Catalog. This is one of my favorite webinars and I often refer to it as a unique resource available to members from KDP. It is wonderful to note that there are now more free resources available to help educators support grieving students, and I am grateful for the work of Dr. Schonfeld and the many partners who make these resources available.

Katie’s Northeast Chapter Visits

Katie Heath is Northeast Regional Chapter Coordinator at Kappa Delta Pi.

Bell 1One of my favorite things about working at Kappa Delta Pi is the opportunity to travel and visit chapters all across the Northeast! Last week I had the privilege of meeting with a few chapters in western Pennsylvania and New York.

One of those chapters was Lambda Eta Chapter at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. While meeting with Dr. Apple, Counselor, and Betty, President, they showed me some old chapter scrapbooks, including a newspaper article from the 1960s describing an old school bell that the chapter presented to KDP Headquarters in honor of our founder, William Chandler Bagley. We continue to house that same bell in our Laureate Library.

Bell 2I also was fortunate to meet with a few Pennsylvania chapters together as a cluster meeting to network and share resources and ideas. It was wonderful to reconnect with students and counselors that I first met at Convo 2013 in Dallas, as well as meet some new KDP leaders. As much as I enjoy sharing information about Kappa Delta Pi and supporting our chapter leaders, I also love hearing about the unique programs and events hosted by our individual chapters. Thank you to the chapter leaders from Robert Morris University, Grove City College, and Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania for your participation in this small regional meeting. Your dedication and creativity are so inspiring and appreciated.

I sincerely value the discussions with chapter leaders during each visit and continue to learn more about each chapter and Kappa Delta Pi as a Society every time I travel. Your ideas, success stories, and challenges allow me to support you as a leader of Kappa Delta Pi and as an educator.

KDP Chapter Visit, Katie 2014P.S. Thank you to Clarion University of Pennsylvania, St. Bonaventure University, The State University of New York – Fredonia, Gannon University, and Mercyhurst University for your gracious hospitality!

Proudly announcing our 2014 awards recipients!

Chris Beaman is the assistant director of membership & chapter services.

We are so excited to announce the recipients of the 2014 Awards for Education Excellence given by Kappa Delta Pi.

These awards honor individuals and chapters for their significant contributions to the Society and the education world. This year, we were pleased to announce that we increased the frequency with which we award four (4) of our coveted awards to be handed out annually.

The 2014 recipients are as follows:

Chapter Program Award
The Program Awards recognize chapters for demonstrating excellence in one of five program areas: service, professional development, fundraising, membership, and communication. These awards are designed for chapters that have exceptional programming and may or may not qualify for the Achieving Chapter Excellence (ACE) Award.KDP Awards 1

Phoenix Award for Chapter Improvement
The Phoenix Award recognizes those chapters that have taken significant action to improve their overall level of effectiveness in chapter management and programming.

KDP Awards no recip

Distinguished Chapter Officer Award
The Distinguished Chapter Officer Award honors current or immediate-past officers who set positive examples for their chapters by representing the ideals of Kappa Delta Pi.

Regional Chapter Counselor Award
The Regional Chapter Counselor Award recognizes one dedicated counselor from each region that excels in his or her role for that region. The counselors achieving this award are leaders who represent the mission and ideals of KDP and who have achieved excellence in the role of counselor.

KDP Awards 3

Congratulations to all of our award recipients, and remember to carry what you learned from the experience(s) with you throughout your professional career. We look forward to continuing to recognize you in all of your successes along the way.