Kappa Delta Pi and CourseNetworking Team Up to Support New Teachers

(INDIANAPOLIS)—Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), International Honor Society in Education, is partnering with CourseNetworking (CN), an innovative Indianapolis-based technology company in education, to draw on the Society’s rich legacy of high standards and excellence to support the professional growth and retention of new teachers.

Beginning teachers have high turnover rates that cost schools billions of dollars each year. One effective way to combat the revolving door of teachers and its negative effects on schools and students is to offer new teachers professional development. Dr. Richard Ingersoll, a prominent researcher and member of KDP’s esteemed Laureate Chapter, shared, “Somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of those that go into teaching are gone within 5 years.” KDP is perfectly positioned to address the needs of beginning teachers, as the organization has a presence on the campuses of more than 650 institutions nationwide, helping to graduate nearly 10,000 education students into the profession each year.

Beginning in fall 2018, KDP will offer new opportunities for educators to expand their knowledge and skills through online learning as well as to establish a permanent eportfolio. A selection of courses, which will be both affordable and convenient, will help teachers develop competencies that can be applied immediately in their classrooms. After successfully proving their competencies in each course, teachers will earn micro-credentials in the form of official badges, and have an opportunity to earn certificates they can use as proof of their skills, as continuing education, and as evidence of these accomplishments on their eportfolio. Among the initial topics for P–12 teachers will be areas that KDP research has identified to be the most challenging for new teachers. The majority of the course offerings will be asynchronous, with learner engagement both independently and within an online community.

“CN is very excited to work with KDP in implementing the most advanced new-age learning environment, the CN Learning Suite,” shared Dr. Ali Jafari, CN Chairman and CEO. “The CN LMS provides easy access to new KDP certification and badge-based courses while the CN Social Network connects KDP members globally to network and collaborate. The CN ePortfolio offers a lifelong professional cyber image for all KDP members. With this collaboration, we can change the way scholarly societies network and conduct continued professional development.”

KDP President-Elect Dr. Victoria Tusken, who has worked in education for 30 years—including 4 as a Secondary Curriculum Coordinator in Illinois—believes that KDP has an opportunity to be at the forefront of ongoing professional growth for teachers. “To think about micro-credentialing in terms of steps toward mastering specific skills is just good professional development,” said Tusken. “The typical professional development never sticks. Practitioners need ownership of their professional development, and the ‘one-size-fits-all’ format often pushed down from districts proves to be viewed by practitioners as a waste of their time. But, to provide short courses around specific topics and competencies has a deep impact and a lasting value for practitioners.”

Though the initial offerings will be geared toward practicing P–12 educators, KDP plans to leverage its innovative model to address all three major focus areas of the Society’s current strategic vision, which are to (1) Recruit qualified candidates into the profession, (2) Support and enhance quality preparation of teachers, and (3) Retain effective teachers—particularly in high needs areas.

The projected timeline will make the courses and eportfolio available to KDP members and other educators prior to the Society’s 52nd Convocation, to be held in Indianapolis, IN from Wednesday, October 31 through Saturday, November 3, 2018. This year’s Convocation, themed ”Designing the Future,” will feature a cutting-edge experience where all attendees of all generations and experience levels not only gain knowledge and strategies, but also collaborate to design a future that is sustainable, equitable, and promising for ALL learners.

For more information about the eportfolio, please visit http://www.thecn.com/eportfolio, and for more information about KDP, please visit http://www.kdp.org. You can view the official press release here.

About Kappa Delta Pi
Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), International Honor Society in Education, was founded in 1911 at the University of Illinois to foster excellence in education and promote fellowship among those dedicated to teaching. As a professional membership association and international honor society in education, KDP provides programs, services, and resources to its member educators to support and enhance their professional growth—all in an effort to advance quality education for all and to inspire teachers to prepare all learners for future challenges. With more than 650 active chapters and nearly 40,000 active members, the organization has seen great accomplishments and milestones in its 107-year history and is looking forward to a future where all children receive a quality education.

About CourseNetworking, LLC
CourseNetworking (CN) has a unique, next-generation technology solution for the education Industry supported by many years of thinking and research invested prior to the commercialization of the product. Built on a global education platform, the CN Suite offers a comprehensive Learning Management System (LMS), Social Portfolio, Global Academic Social Network, and Badging, as well as other social collaboration functionalities to transform teaching and learning. The CN was built to ensure that teaching and learning opportunities are available for everyone, anywhere in the world, at any time, through the web or the mobile app. The CN also provides a full turnkey solution for system implementation in institutions. The CN is the fourth major research and entrepreneurial project of the IUPUI CyberLab. The CourseNetworking LLC was created by a capital investment from Indiana University and Ali Jafari in 2011.

The Messy Business of Teaching Science

image2“It didn’t go like I wanted it to.”

The tears were streaming down her face before she even sat down.

A half hour earlier, I received an email from Marshall: “Are you in your office? Can I come meet with you about my lessons?” I assumed she needed to borrow materials or perhaps alter the next day’s plan, so I was a bit shaken when she immediately began crying as she entered my office. The capstone assignment for the science methods course is to plan and teach a 3-day mini-unit. In the course, we have talked about teaching and learning through inquiry, the 5-E cycle of instruction, STEM . . . all to prepare students for the experience of teaching hands-on, exploratory science. The week had finally arrived and the students were ready.

“It didn’t go like I wanted it to.” By her expression, I thought that maybe a student was injured.

“Okay, take a deep breath and tell me what happened. It’s going to be fine.” I was already familiar with her mini-unit, as we did a great deal of collaborating in class.

She wiped her face and explained, “Well you know I’m in first grade and we did a lesson on pollution so I had buckets of water and they had to work with their group to filter the water until it was clean so that we could talk about how hard it is to clean pollution and how we need to not pollute our surrounding bodies of water, because you know we had the oil spill a few years ago, and I thought it was going to be really good.” She talked so quickly, without a breath, like she was eager to unburden. She continued, “Well it was a disaster. The water got everywhere and the kids were talking too loud and my cooperating teacher hated it because they were being noisy and it was so hard to get them to be quiet.”

image1“So did the water have anything in it that could stain their clothes?”

“No, but it was all over the place.”

“Did they clean it up?”

“Well, yeah, we had paper towels.”

“Do you think they were learning?”

Her eyes were still red, but she was calmer at this point. “They were definitely talking about what I wanted them to talk about. They were just so excited that I couldn’t get them to be quiet, and the teacher hated that.”

“Just so I’m understanding . . . you’re upset because they were excited and noisy and made a mess . . . with water.”

“Yeah.”

I was relieved and almost felt like laughing.

We were confronted with a true teachable moment for a future teacher.

“Listen,” I said, “There are definitely classroom management lessons to be learned here. But science is messy sometimes, and that’s fine. It should be. They’re first graders, and you gave them tubs of water, then told them to touch it. Of course it’s going to make a mess!” She giggled. “Water dries. If your students are exploring and learning, then making noise and messes is part of the process.” She still had 2 days left to teach, so we then spent a few minutes talking about ways to truly manage the noise and mess, not eliminate it.

Marshall had fallen prey to a feeling that many teachers often struggle with: the discomfort of giving up control.

It’s a delicate balancing act of maintaining a safe and positive classroom environment with the freedom to explore, and even fail sometimes—letting go of the need to be perfect, to be right, to be “in charge.”

This is a frightening, but liberating, experience for a preservice teacher—one that I wish more teachers experienced!

elizabeth-allisonDr. Elizabeth Allison is an assistant professor of elementary science education at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. She enjoys teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in the K-6 program as part of the Department of Leadership and Teacher Education. When working with any students, whether in the k-12 setting or in teacher education courses, she strives to instill a love and respect for science and education.

Partners in Loving the Children: A New Year’s Wish

Whitney_photoToday’s blogger is Dr. Anne Whitney, Associate Professor of Education at Penn State University. Read her full article, “Partners in Loving the Children,” in The Educational Forum.

Happy New Year! I always think of back-to-school time as the Real New Year, for in my family of two academics, an elementary school student, and a preschooler, fall truly is the starting point by which we mark all of our time.

We celebrate this new year by finding new shoes that fit, checking jeans for holes, and sharpening pencils. We open our journals to fresh pages and set fresh goals. We get our carpet cleaned after a summer of dirty bare feet, and we clean out the area by the front door where we put our jackets, shoes, and backpacks.

In the days leading up to the start of the new year, my daughter pines for the letter that will tell her who her teacher will be. When the letter arrives, my phone starts to buzz with questions from other parents: Who does she have? Who do her friends have? What do you think of Mrs. X? In our small community, this is typical parent information-sharing. We all want a good teacher for our kids.

But to my daughter Emily, just starting the fourth grade, it’s more than that. She’s asking: With whom will I spend my days? Upon whom will I be relying as I try new and difficult things? Under whose wing will I recover on bad days? Under whose influence will I grow?

The first few weeks students spend with their classroom teachers will shape a new and important relationship.

I take this relationship as seriously as Emily does. Kylene Beers explains in her often-shared meditation on why she “hated” her daughter’s first-grade teacher: “Though I had been a teacher for years before having Meredith, before sending her off to first grade, I had never truly understood the power of a teacher in a child’s life.” It’s like that for me, too. I have been forging relationships with teachers for my whole career, whether as a classroom teacher myself or as a teacher educator. But my sense of the stakes in these relationships changed when it was my own kid. And specifically, they changed most when the going got tough, as I describe in my article in The Educational Forum. When my own daughter was struggling with reading, the love with which her teachers surrounded her—and me, as her parent—helped her in school, but also helped me become a better parent.

Here is my new year’s wish for all kids returning to school: May you enter a classroom community characterized by love. May your year in school be a joyful year in your raising. May your schooling be a team effort. May your teacher be a fierce champion of you and what you need. May your parents, teachers, neighbors, and country join in a great and mighty fight for the loving learning that you deserve.

KDP is proud to partner with Routledge to share Dr. Whitney’s article free with the education community through September 30, 2016. Read the full article here.

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“Success!” as a First Year Teacher

blog5Emily Kelsey is a 2015 graduate of the University of Houston-Clear Lake and is in her first year of teaching at North Pointe Elementary in Houston, TX. She teaches fourth grade and is currently working to obtain her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Houston-Clear Lake. Emily is proudly in her second year of membership in Kappa Delta Pi and is excited to be featured; she invites you to tell your story, too!

There are few situations that meet the qualifications of success in the eyes of a first year teacher.

Constant failures meet me around every corner no matter how much effort I put into each day. Personally, as a first year teacher, I have found that nothing is exceptional enough to be placed in the self-praising memory bank except for that occasional student who decides to display a moment of weakness and justify my decision to become a teacher.

There is one particular student that flashes to mind when everything comes crashing down and I am hypothetically grasping for any sign that teaching was the right decision.

LaToya (whose real name has been removed for confidentiality purposes) became a part of my life one month after school had already begun. Cliques had been established and judgmental eyes screamed at her on the first day. This overwhelmed young lady knew immediately that this school was different than anything she had encountered yet. She was being placed into an environment that held students accountable for their actions and demanded—everyday—displays of good character. Not only was she asked to make new friends and start at a new school, she was also adapting to a life of moving around from one school to another for the past four years. Stability was foreign to her, so keeping up a tough image was all she knew.

blog2At first, she attempted to blend in and hide behind her shield of beaded braids, but her defiant attitude began to shine through after only a week. My students and I were worried for her and wanted to help her love school. Her learning gaps were masked with her determination to not complete work. She would stare at me for what seemed like hours before forcing me to address another student in the room. There was no reason for her to work hard.

My goal was to find that reason.

blog4My classroom community had forced her to conform to our behavior expectations, and I soon noticed that she had mastered the skill of becoming invisible. It was much easier to do as she pleased without causing a scene. She would rush through assignments to complete them without a worry in her bones to quickly start playing a game on her tablet. Grades were not her reason.

blog3I continued to dive into her not-so-familiar world and discovered a variety of troubling things. She was sharing a room with four other kids in her new apartment situation and had a new male figure in her life. My determination was hitting a boiling point; I still had not found a single reason for her to put forth some effort into any assignment.

I decided to sign her up for a high school pal to visit every Wednesday to play volleyball with her, and we arranged regular meetings with the counselor. I was eager to find something that she gravitated towards. Some progress was being made, so I figured relationships might be her reason.

By January, I felt that she was evolving into a sweet young lady, but her lack of motivation persisted. Then she asked me a peculiar question after school one day, “Mrs. Kelsey, can I stay after school for a little bit and help the Tidy Crew wipe down all of the desks?” I paused for a moment out of shock, but quickly granted her permission. She wanted to clean for me, she wanted to be part of something, and she wanted to be involved in our classroom community. Somewhere along the way, I had gained LaToya’s trust and respect.

She wanted a relationship with someone who cared about her success.

blog7Now we have each other and seem to get along. She no longer has a bad attitude with me and will give full effort for the first few minutes of each assignment. Progress is progress, and as a personal critic, I am determined to continue that progress.

Being a teacher represents more than teaching lessons and taking grades, it is about lifting students up and helping them realize that they are important to you. 

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New Grads, We’ve Got Your Back

Laura Stelsel is director of marketing & communications at Kappa Delta Pi.

Sasha IshakAre you a new graduate? You might not know this, but KDP can be an even bigger resource to you after graduation. We are here for you all along your journey as an educator.

Here are a few things you need to do and know to get the most out of your KDP membership now that you’re a graduate:

Update your contact information: This is CRUCIAL if you want to continue accessing our free publications and resources. And it takes just a few seconds! Log into MyKDP and click on My Account > My KDP Profile to update your info today.

Know your login info: Or at least know how to request it time and time again. Many of our resources are for members only, and you’ll want to be able to access them when you need them. If you’ve forgotten your info, it just takes one second to request it.

Get new teacher resources: KDP has a whole line of resources for the first-year teacher, like the New Teacher Advocate and the New Teacher Community in KDP Global. Once the new school year begins, monthly New Teacher Tip emails are sent to new teachers with recommended resources.

Ask questions (and get answers): You are a part of a nearly 40,000-teacher network. Use it! Post questions in KDP Global and get replies from your trusted comrades. In fact, we’ve started a discussion thread for you to do just that.

Get funding: We award grant funding to teachers every year through our Classroom Teacher Grants. More than 50 per year, in fact!

Show us your pride: Now through June 15, we’re running our annual Graduate with Pride photo contest. Submit your photo for a chance to win.

We are so proud of all that you have accomplished and look forward to serving you in the many wonderful years of teaching you have ahead of you.