Our United Nations Anniversary

Dear Friend of KDP,

Through the globalization movement and the use of technology that connects us both personally and professionally, the world has become smaller on multiple levels. Today, we have a better understanding of other cultures, regularly collaborate with peers from around the globe, and increasingly have a shared awareness that our futures are intertwined as we share one planet and its limited resources.

KDP has a rich legacy of promoting global understanding through the sharing of knowledge and establishing relationships with people from around the world. For example, in 1948 as KDP President, Dr. William Robinson gave 200 subscriptions of the Educational Forum to educators living in occupied Germany and China. Throughout our history, KDP has embraced activities, partnerships, and advocacy efforts that support our long-standing commitment to equity, global awareness, and quality learning for all.

With a goal of supporting global education endeavors and building the organization’s capacity, KDP applied for and was granted the status of a non-government organization, or NGO, of the Department of Public Information of the United Nations in 2010.

Today, we are celebrating the 7th anniversary of being recognized as an NGO of the United Nations!

KDP has five official representatives—which include three professional representatives and two youth representatives (between 18 and 25 years old).

Our representatives attend the weekly briefing, meetings, seminars, receptions, and other activities, and then share the information with the KDP community to keep you informed of critical global issues and to provide you with suggestions for integrating this relevant information into your classroom. The weekly briefing topics range from girls’ and women’s access to education, immigration, population and development, and special youth events.

Click here for an example of a recent Briefing Report on A Grassroots Approach to Education for All from one of our youth representatives, Clairetza Felix.

Since receiving official NGO status, KDP has fulfilled its role in a variety of ways, including hosting a conference with the Committee on Teaching about the UN on peace and conflict resolution and ongoing participation in various UNESCO meetings including the International Network of Teacher Education Institutions and the Asia-Pacific Institute for Education for Sustainable Development. Personally, I serve on the Expert Committee for this Institute.

KDP’s mission of quality learning for all and our strategic goal related to sustainability literacy align with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, which speaks to a quality and equitable education and lifelong learning opportunities for all.  

One target of this sustainable development goal (4.7) states, “By 2030 all learners will acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development and sustainable and lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.”

The UN and the world have realized that achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted by the U.S. government in 2015, is dependent on education, and more specifically the transformation of education.

You may still have questions about what exactly sustainability literacy means. A student who is educated for sustainability has the ability, ambition, and know-how to create a world that works for everyone and every creature, now and forever. So what needs to happen to achieve the necessary level of knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be sustainability literate? The integration of sustainable education calls for changes in the classroom, in the school, and in the community. It requires new approaches to preservice and inservice teacher professional development, a targeted research agenda, revised conceptions of student assessment, updated school policies, and inspired leadership.

Aside from our focus on sustainability education, the UN’s events and resources help us, as educators, and our students to be better global citizens by reminding us of key events and milestones throughout the year. 

For example, November 19 is World Toilet Day, a day to raise awareness and inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and the fact that 2.4 billion people do not have access to a toilet.

Our role and responsibilities as an NGO to the United Nations and our access to the wealth of quality resources and knowledge on timely global topics the UN produces play a key role in the work of KDP and our community of educators who strive to create a better future.

As educators and citizens, we are reminded of the necessity of thinking globally while acting locally.

There has never been a more important time to be an educator.

I encourage you to check out the blogs of our representatives and the UN resources on our website as great ways to stay current on the issues, challenges, and opportunities that are impacting our world.

Faye_S_7-1-14Sincerely,

Faye Snodgress, CAE
Executive Director

Celebrate Family & Consumer Sciences Day by “Dining In!”

AAFCS_Day_Logo_2015ouKappa Delta Pi is a proud partner of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS), and we are celebrating Family & Consumer Sciences Day on December 3, 2015, alongside more than 100,000 other individuals, families, and organizations!

The event, themed “Dining In” for Healthy Families, was an ASAE Power of (A) 2015 Silver Award Winner. The chosen date honors AAFCS Founder Ellen Swallow Richards, the first female MIT graduate.

Carolyn W. Jackson, CFCS, AAFCS CEO, says “Family & Consumer Sciences Day calls attention to something simple families can do to be physically, mentally, and financially healthier—prepare and eat a nutritious meal together. We are proud to lead this important initiative.”

AAFCS and family and consumer science professionals have spent the past weeks educating students, families, government agencies, businesses, and other organizations on nutrition, healthy food preparation, and food safety with an overall focus on well-being, resources, and relationships.

kimhfsFamilies who eat a healthy meal, especially those who prepare the meal together, are shown to have stronger family communication and family traditions. Children develop life skills needed to live a healthier lifestyle, have a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables, and perform better schools.

The obesity epidemic is fueled by unhealthy eating patterns and a lack of food preparation knowledge. AAFCS uses Family & Consumer Sciences Day to highlight the benefits of healthful eating as a family.

Need meal ideas, motivation to eat healthy, or want to be part of the dining in movement? The official Family & Consumer Sciences Day website has all of the resources you need to participate in the day.

Help AAFCS meet their goal of 200,000 pledges! To join KDP in participating, sign the pledge and commit to preparing and eating one healthy meal with your family or friends; then share your commitment or a photo of your healthy mean with #FCSday and #healthyfamselfie on Facebook or Twitter.

How Do We Prepare Graduates to Thrive in the 21st Century?

Faye Snodgress is executive director of Kappa Delta Pi.

How do we provide quality education that prepares children to live and thrive in a rapidly changing world? Depending on where you live in the world, there are some cultural differences in how a quality education is delivered, but the goals are the same around the globe.

Faye in China 3From the children of Nomads in Mongolia to teenagers in Beijing, education systems are being reoriented so that everyone has the opportunity to get the knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes that empower them to contribute to sustainable development. Research and case studies showing how these goals are being realized was the focus of the third Asia Pacific Education for Sustainable Development Expert Meeting held in Beijing June 2-4, 2015.

Educators from the Philippines, Canada, Japan, Mongolia, Russia, Laos, Sweden, Thailand, China and the U.S. participated in the meeting. Having been invited to share the work of KDP in advancing the understanding of education for sustainabile development (ESD), I was honored to have the opportunity to learn from international colleagues who have made substantial progress in infusing ESD in their national education systems.

Faye in China 2During our two days together, we reviewed global evidence related to the successes and challenges of delivering quality education through the implementation of ESD. A common reference point for many of the discussion and presentations was the findings from a recently released research report which studied 18 countries that incorporate sustainability in their education and traditional disciplines to prepare graduates to thrive in the 21st Century. The research results provide abundant evidence that ESD contributes to a quality education and promotes the learning of skills, perspectives, and values necessary to foster and maintain sustainable societies.

Faye in China 1As is so often the case, it is through conferring with others who are doing similar work that helps us to grow professionally and be inspired by others’ successes. I look forward to using the experiences and insights of this new group of colleagues to help inform KDP’s effort to infuse ESD in the U.S. education system and to grow a widespread commitment to include the important goals of educating for a sustainable future in our classrooms.

If you would like to learn more about education for sustainable development, University of Edinburg in Scotland is offering a free online course starting June 22. This five-week course requires a 1-3 hour time commitment each week. University of Edinburgh produces high quality ESD programs and materials. Learn more about the course on the Learning for Sustainability: Developing a Personal Ethic web page.

Every Day is Earth Day

Jim Poyser left his long career in journalism to become executive director of Earth Charter Indiana in 2013. ECI’s youth program, Youth Power Indiana, engages youth in stewardship and leadership practices; ECI’s other main program is Sustainable Indiana 2016, which encourages sustainability actions across the state.

Photo by Michelle Craig

Photo by Michelle Craig

When people ask me why I never take a day off from my work at Earth Charter Indiana, I always kid them with the following thought experiment: Do you ever wake up, get ready to go work, open the door, and there’s no there there?

Mother Nature never takes a day off, why should I?

Funny thing is, it’s true. I don’t take days off, and I actually wouldn’t know what that meant anyway. I am very fortunate that my job is my passion and engages all of my creativity. How do you take a day off from that?

That’s what I would wish for YOU this Earth Day: that you find a similar arrangement – if you haven’t already – for yourself. I submit it doesn’t even have to be about stewardship, per se, just an alignment of heart, purpose and personal sustainability.

So what do we do at Earth Charter Indiana? Find the interconnections between our too-numerous-to-count global challenges—environmental degradation, economic disparity and political apathy. Right now, because there are so few organizations in Indiana directly fighting climate change, we are focusing on that, connecting the dots around sustainability and stewardship.

To that end we combine art with science to celebrate and showcase our growing consciousness and action. We aim to raise everyone to leadership, especially our youth. But I don’t think you need to read about that right now. You can click on the links in my bio, below, to explore more.

Instead, in this short space I have, I will make the assumption you know something is terribly wrong in the way we live; it’s not sustainable. We’ve become disconnected from nature and democracy. All the creatures are suffering from it. And we have to change quickly to head off the worst effects of our climate crisis and consumer craziness.

What to do? The answers are standard but true. Pick something you love that also demonstrates your love for the earth and do it well and all the time. For me, it is riding my bicycle as much as possible, even in terrible weather. For you, it might be being vegetarian or vegan. Or growing your own food. Or reducing your waste to the point where your trash can gathers cobwebs!

Once you get started on that garden or that waste reduction project at home, etc., then take it to your neighborhood and to your place of employment.

Take your growing awareness and action and go to the next level: demand your institutions (including your own personal portfolio) take their investments out of fossil fuels and put them into clean energy like solar and wind. Divestment is one of the most powerful movements imaginable (money talks!)—and it is happening on a worldwide basis.

Run for office, or support a candidate who shares your urgency and is not afraid to go against the political popularity contest our democratic system has become.

Have courageous conversations with those who are unwilling to grasp scientific reality or to accept the responsibility of being a good steward.

Hug a teacher, for they could use the encouragement.

Mostly, be joyful and happy in the progress you make, because it will inspire others to create their own adventure of living every day as if it were Earth Day.

Politicians want and need to hear from you

Faye Snodgress is executive director at Kappa Delta Pi.

2014 Day on the Hill Sen Warren's officeLast week, 10 KDP members joined AACTE for its annual Day on the Hill. From members of the Texas State University chapter acknowledging their appreciation of Pell Grants to introducing Congressional staffers to education for sustainability, the experience was a huge success.

Our AACTE colleagues provided guidelines and suggestions related to pending legislation, information about appropriate etiquette when calling on elected officials, and more, all bundled with words of encouragement and appreciation.

Congressional staffers, including the new Under Secretary of Education, Ted Mitchell, who addressed the entire AACTE/KDP group, were interested in hearing our thoughts and reactions to current bills and proposed regulations.

Our discussions focused on the following legislative issues:  encouraging continued funding for Title II of the Higher Education Act, particularly the Teacher Quality Partnership grants; support for a bill currently in the HELP committee that addresses induction and mentoring and embedded professional development; and the consideration of integrating education for sustainability.

The Department of Education is expected to release new Teacher Preparation Regulations in July, which is a time when many people are traveling or out of the office. Those in attendance asked Under Secretary Mitchell to consider a 60-day comment period to ensure that all stakeholders have an opportunity to provide feedback on the regulations.

As we look to the start of a new academic year, the Public Policy Committee and State Delegates will be working together to help KDP members get more engaged in policy discussions at both the state and federal level.

Politicians want and need to hear from you. A key message from members of Congress that we all need to remember is “if there is a void in input on education policy, it will be filled by someone” – and that ‘someone’ needs to be members of the KDP community. We must make sure that our voices are heard on what’s best for educators and the students we serve.

Look for upcoming messages and resources from the Public Policy Committee about how you can be involved and share your thoughts!

How Are You Making the World a Better Place Today?

Laura Stelsel is director of marketing and communications for Kappa Delta Pi.

logo-world-environment-dayDid you know that June 5 is World Environment Day? It was established by the UN in 1972 as “the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.”  This year’s theme is Raise Your Voice, Not the Sea Level.

Sustainability is an extremely important initiative of Kappa Delta Pi. In fact, we are a partner of UNESCO, a specialized agency of the UN, to advance the work of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). We feel it’s our duty, and that of every educator across the globe, to teach children about being responsible global citizens, and ESD is a huge part of that responsibility.

So, we want to know: what do you do in your life or in your classroom to advocate for sustainability? And what are you going to do TODAY for the environment?

Even if you share info about World Environment Day via Facebook, recycle your yogurt container at lunch, bring your own bags to the grocery store, or finally make the switch from bottled water–every bit makes a difference. We want to hear all of your ideas, small and large.

Here are a few websites you may want to check out:

The EPA Carbon Footprint Calculator: allows you to answer a few questions to calculate your household’s carbon footprint and provides information on how to reduce the footprints we are all leaving behind.

FreeRice.com: asks you trivia questions and donates 10 grains of rice for each question you answer correctly. Some fun facts: 5,134,830 grains of rice were donated yesterday through this website and over 100 billion grains have been donated to date (that’s almost 16 million meals). According to the website FreeRice has two goals, to provide education to everyone for free and to help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

Tell us: do you have any go-to sustainability websites and resources? Share them with us!

Share How YOU Are Changing the World!

Faye Snodgress is executive director of Kappa Delta Pi.

Kappa Delta Pi has an ongoing commitment to advance the integration of education for sustainable development (ESD), a principle that helps people develop attitudes, skills, and knowledge to solve environmental, societal, and economic issues as they relate to sustainability.

We recently sent out a call to action, encouraging members to incorporate one activity, project, or lesson related to sustainability and share their implementation of this, or any other sustainability effort, with us.

Mary Ann Hodges, a middle school teacher in North Carolina, shared what her class is doing within their local community:

ESDThe students at Manteo Middle school in North Carolina have been taking advantage of the many resources in our area. My eighth grade class went to the Coastal Studies Institute to explore our existing community and then drafted a vision for this community if we were to start over. The experience brought to light many issues that they never really considered before, and the results were amazing.  We’ve also worked with the North Carolina Coastal Federation to plant and maintain a rain garden as well as look at what is going in our landfill and ways to decrease what ends up there.  

Other members are working to advance ESD on an international level.  Dr. Donald May of Daytona State College of Education shared information about their Teaching Beyond Borders (TBB) initiative, which provides professional development for educators in Haiti, the majority of whom have had no formal training as educators, and to promote literacy. Dr. May said:

The foundational belief of the program is that education is the most powerful force we can use to change our world. Teachers in Haiti face enormous challenges. Out of approximately 60,000 teachers in Haiti, 84 percent are not qualified. Teachers also lack training opportunities, materials, and access to technology, as well as adequate remuneration. TBB’s aim is to collaborate to better meet the needs of the Haitian students, to model good teaching, and to inspire, support, and value the work of our teacher colleagues.

And now, we want to know what YOU are doing to inspire sustainability education and change in your classroom and community. Please send projects, ideas, and photos to me at faye@kdp.org. Our hope is to compile and share these ideas with the KDP community in an effort to amplify our efforts. As Mary Ann put it, “My message to follow educators is to look within your community, bring in other professionals, branch out beyond your classroom, and look at ways to incorporate the ideas within your school with the hope that it carries over into the homes and then the community.”

Need ideas or resources? Head to the Kappa Delta Pi website.

I can’t wait to learn more about your sustainability efforts. Together we can make the world a better place for all forever.