Image to Image: The Evolution of a Teacher

By Sandy S. Lish

Mrs. Lish recently retired as a Family & Consumer Sciences educator at Billerica Memorial High School in Billerica, Massachusetts. She currently serves as the Extended Learning Opportunity and Internship Coordinator, where she mentors high school future educators throughout the school district.

The sounds of my squeaky sandals echoed throughout the dimly lit, empty hallway. The school year had finally ended, but not like any other. Instead of the norm, this particular day ushered in a new significance: the first seconds of my retirement. After cramming the last box of classroom keepsakes into my car’s backseat, I pulled away—but not without glancing twice at the school building in my rearview mirror.   

My mind journeyed back to a time when my childhood, like that of countless other educators, was filled with imagination and role-play. My small bedroom was magically transformed into a pretend classroom with strategically placed dolls and stuffed animals. My tiny fingers curled around an entire piece of white chalk as I scribbled unrecognizable letters on the little black chalkboard. On that day, I morphed into my preschool teacher.

My real preschool classroom was just as exciting as the one I created at home. The whiff of Play-Doh, molding clay, and crayons filled my nostrils the second I walked through its giant door. The room was large and somewhat intimidating, but my shyness melted with the teacher’s smile. Without knowing it, she planted the first seeds in my quest to become a teacher.

Over the ensuing years, I subconsciously formed a “Classroom Hall of Fame.” Among those top teachers, my superstar was Mrs. Carver, my sewing instructor. In her class, I fell in love with the craft of methodically turning fabric pieces into wearable art. By the time her class ended, I had envisioned a future filled with multi-colored threads, boxes of patterns, and shelves of textured fabrics.

Teaching, meanwhile, took a back seat when I located a design school out of state. Although my parents always supported my career ideas, I thought, This should be an easy sell.

Unfortunately, this time, they didn’t see it my way and quickly kiboshed the idea. They feared for my safety away from home—something my 17-year-old brain didn’t wish to acknowledge. I sulked for what seemed like days, not hours.

I partly accepted my parents’ verdict, but not without confronting the overwhelming and consequential waves of uncertainty. Mrs. Carver noticed my sadness and moved her chair beside me. “Are you okay?” she simply asked. Then, with a resurgence of hope, I listened to her words of comfort as she provided her empathetic and practical advice.

Mrs. Carver provided more than just guidance. On that day, she opened a window into the soul of a teacher and joined an ensemble of role models who represented the standard I decided to emulate as I pursued my education into adulthood.

Eventually, the day arrived when I, too, stood before a classroom filled with young, malleable minds. Sleepless nights and long days filled my usually empty calendar. Often, I questioned how I would survive through the first vacation break. I always did, though, with the help of mentors.

After that first challenging year, I realized the importance of support, not only for those seeking to join the teaching field but for the apprehensive newbies who lacked the confidence and courage to get through that first year on their own. For those individuals, I wanted to provide a life preserver through their most tumultuous waters.

By the twilight of my career, I had shared my classroom with student teachers, championed new hires into the district, and coordinated internship placements for hundreds of high school students. Along their roads toward discovery, I often asked, “Are you okay?” Before leaving on that last day of my career, when the last bell stopped ringing, I reached for a piece of chalk near the dusty chalkboard. Time moved in slow motion as I scanned the empty classroom before carefully scribing a farewell note. I wiped the dust from my fingers, walked to the door, and turned off the lights.

Literacy Alive! Top Projects Announced

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It is with great pleasure that we announce the top projects from the 2015-2016 review cycle.

Gold Projects

  • The University of North Carolina at Charlotte  (Omicron Pi Chapter)
  • Bethune-Cookman University  (Pi Delta Chapter)
  • Fitchburg State University  (Xi Psi Chapter)
  • Madonna University  (Sigma Xi Chapter)
  • Liberty University  (Pi Sigma Chapter)

Silver Projects

  • Ferris State University  (Alpha Alpha Iota Chapter)
  • Kean University  (Delta Rho Chapter)
  • University of St. Thomas – Houston  (Pi Lambda Chapter)
  • Chapman University  (Chi Beta Chapter)
  • University of North Texas  (Alpha Iota Chapter)

Bronze Projects

  • St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn Campus  (Alpha Epsilon Omega Chapter)
  • Armstrong State University  (Nu Zeta Chapter)
  • University of Pittsburgh  (Omicron Phi Chapter)
  • Marian University, Indianapolis  (Alpha Alpha Tau Chapter)
  • Concordia University  (Pi Psi Chapter)

2015-2016 proved to be another awesome year for Literacy Alive! with more than 100 projects submitted, 35,444 people served, and 26,631 books were collected for distribution globally!

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To learn how you can participate in the 2016-2017 review cycle, and read a summary of each of the Gold Project award winners, visit the Literacy Alive! homepage on the KDP website.

You’re Invited to Participate in Teach to Lead – NOLA

Teach-to-LeadAs you may know, Kappa Delta Pi is a supporting organization of the Teach to Lead initiative of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, ASCD, and the U.S. Department of Education. This initiative began to advance student outcomes by expanding opportunities for teacher leadership, particularly those that allow teachers to stay in the classroom.

We are pleased that Teach to Lead will now be hosting their seventh Teacher Leadership Summit in New Orleans, LA, on April 23–24, 2016.

At the Summits, educators from around the nation will work to collaborate, problem solve, and develop action plans to put their own teacher leadership ideas into action. Our hope is to attract the best teacher leadership ideas from exceptional educators across the country—which is where Kappa Delta Pi comes in.

As a member of Kappa Delta Pi, you are invited and encouraged to submit an actionable teacher leadership idea to be presented at this New Orleans Summit.

Teach to Lead does ask that you bring a team of up to 5 stakeholders—teachers, principals, administrators, school board members, and so on—to make the best progress at the Summit. At least one member of your team MUST be a practicing educator.

Summit Participants Must:

  • Have an actionable teacher leadership idea.
  • Have at least one practicing classroom educator on your team.
  • Commit to taking implementation steps following Summit participation.
  • Be available to attend the entire summit (Sat, April 23 at 8 a.m until Sun, April 24 at 12:30 p.m.).

Submitted Ideas Must:

  • Allow teachers to lead from the classroom.
  • Identify an area of need or target a specific problem.
  • Develop and implement approaches that address the need or solve the problem.
  • Utilize teachers’ professional experiences and expertise.
  • Promote collaborative work among stakeholders.
  • Seek to create systemic supports for teacher leadership.
  • Be viable in the local context and sustainable over time.
  • Be able to show measurable progress over time.

Successful Summit Project Examples

Idea submissions will be reviewed by a team of teachers. For those who receive an invitation to participate, registration, lodging for those traveling over 50 miles, and some meals are provided free of charge. You can submit an idea for the Summit regardless of where you live, but travel costs are not covered, so please keep that in mind when you apply.

The deadline for idea submissions for the New Orleans Summit is Monday, February 22, 2016 at 11:59pm ET. All idea submissions must be completed and submitted by this date and time.

Click here to submit your best teacher leadership idea.

The Teach to Lead team will notify you if your idea is accepted for attendance. Please contact the Teach to Lead educator engagement team with additional questions. Their contact information is below.

You’re Invited to Participate in Teach to Lead

As you may know, Kappa Delta Pi is a supporting organization of the Teach to Lead initiative of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, ASCD, and the U.S. Department of Education. This initiative began to advance student outcomes by expanding opportunities for teacher leadership, particularly those that allow teachers to stay in the classroom.

Teach to Lead Summit Baltimore

We are pleased that Teach to Lead will now be hosting their sixth Teacher Leadership Summit in Baltimore, MD, on February 13–14, 2015.

At the Summits, educators from around the nation will work to collaborate, problem solve, and develop action plans to put their own teacher leadership ideas into action. Our hope is to attract the best teacher leadership ideas from exceptional educators across the country—which is where Kappa Delta Pi comes in.

As a member of Kappa Delta Pi, you are invited and encouraged to submit an actionable teacher leadership idea to be presented at this Baltimore Summit.

Teach to Lead does ask that you bring a team of up to 5 stakeholders—teachers, principals, administrators, school board members, and so on—to make the best progress at the Summit. At least one member of your team MUST be a practicing educator.

Summit Participants Must:

  • Have an actionable teacher leadership idea.
  • Have at least one practicing classroom educator on your team.
  • Commit to taking implementation steps following Summit participation.
  • Be available to attend the entire summit (Sat, Feb 13 at 8 a.m until Sun, Feb 14 at 12:30 p.m.).

Submitted Ideas Must:

  • Allow teachers to lead from the classroom.
  • Identify an area of need or target a specific problem.
  • Develop and implement approaches that address the need or solve the problem.
  • Utilize teachers’ professional experiences and expertise.
  • Promote collaborative work among stakeholders.
  • Seek to create systemic supports for teacher leadership.
  • Be viable in the local context and sustainable over time.
  • Be able to show measurable progress over time.

Successful Summit Project Examples

Idea submissions will be reviewed by a team of teachers. For those who receive an invitation to participate, registration, lodging for those traveling over 50 miles, and some meals are provided free of charge. You can submit an idea for the Summit regardless of where you live, but travel costs are not covered, so please keep that in mind when you apply.

The deadline for idea submissions for the Baltimore Summit is December 13, 2015 at 11:59pm ET. All idea submissions must be completed and submitted by this date and time.

Click here to submit your best teacher leadership idea.

The Teach to Lead team will notify you if your idea is accepted for attendance by January 8, 2015. Please contact the Teach to Lead educator engagement team with additional questions. Their contact information is below.

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.

Authentic Learning in Action at the “Our Global Neighborhood Conference” in China

Conference Flyer“A vision without a plan is just a dream. A plan without a vision is just drudgery. But a vision with a plan can change the world.” The vision of the Global Educational Community (GEC), to build global partnerships between teachers and students, so that the world can have a peaceful and meaningful future, epitomizes the principles of this proverb because the 3rd annual GEC conference was an example of a vision with a plan. At GEC’s Elementary Education International Conference we have been enjoying authentic learning in action. We have been part of a “vision with a plan,” and we are engaging in groundbreaking educational initiatives that could change the world. The conference’s workshops are designed to help us build partnerships with educators and students around the world.

Honored GuestsThroughout the conference, our stay has been enhanced by a continuous stream of hospitality, punctuated with enthusiasm and graciousness. From the very beginning, we were treated as honored guests. We were greeted at the airport with much care and concern. At our hotel, we were showered with greetings from three of our Beijing friends who have been our guests at the School District of Janesville in Wisconsin.

Hospitality

And this hospitality story has continued each day. We have been accompanied back and forth from the hotel to school. We have been greeted in the halls, at the conference door, during lunch, dinner, seminars, and tours. Our needs have been anticipated and each question answered twofold. The old adage, treat others as you wish to be treated, must have been replaced by treat others better than you wish to be treated! Yet, all of this attention has allowed us to receive something much greater than comfort in another land; it has allowed us to make many, many friends.

Beyond our Chinese hosts, we are sharing this conference with Chinese educators and other seminar presenters and workshop leaders from around the world. We are all working together in an authentic learning atmosphere to build and expand excellence in global education. These are the people that we hope to keep as our neighbors in GEC’s expanding global community. These are the people with whom we hope to raise global education standards. These are the people with whom we hope to build a more peaceful and meaningful world for the future.

WorkshopHere we learn authentically with a greater purpose in mind, in a respectful learning atmosphere, teacher as student and student as teacher. So, purposefully and strategically, the conference began with the seminar on Coaching Teachers for Authentic Student Learning by Jack Dieckmann and Kari Kokka from the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE). This is a challenging topic for educators anywhere, but to tackle this topic in a bilingual and multicultural atmosphere really brought home the idea of teacher as student and student as teacher. When we work together in this atmosphere, no one is exempt from the role of learner and all are teachers. We are both learner and teacher because embedded in this classroom emerges the challenges of our global community. This global classroom, an authentic learning challenge superimposed on an authentic learning seminar, demanded that all of us reformulate how to learn and work in a global community. Here in the Dream Theater of ZhongGuanCun No. 3 Primary School in Beijing, China we had our own united nations working to improve our world. This was an appropriate place for an appropriate dream!

All of our seminars demonstrated outstanding staff development practices that were masterfully intertwined. The Authentic Learning seminar had many concepts that were reiterated, integrated, applied or expanded in the Global Schools for the 21st Century seminar by Martin Krovetz and Honey Berg from CES, a Coalition of Essential Schools in California. The Effective Teaching Seminar with Cathy Zozakiewicz from SCALE taught and demonstrated explicitly many of the teaching strategies from the first two seminars. In the final day, we could see these concepts demonstrated in virtual classrooms lead by teachers from China, Canada, Finland, and the USA. Here we could see and evaluate authentic learning classrooms. Watching teachers from around the world work with a classroom of Chinese students was wonderful entertainment for a group of educators, but seeing our seminar work in action was an invaluable way to share and reflect on this learning experience also. We were very fortunate to see so many outstanding educators practicing their craft.

Authentic Learning with FriendsThis kind of staff development requires an enormous amount of preparation, expertise, and inspiration; this is the same commitment that we expect teachers to provide for students every day. It demands the same hours and hours of preparation and effective teaching practices that we require in the classroom. In addition to these outstanding professional development offerings, the presenters all learned to work in a global school atmosphere requiring advanced communication skills, inventive collaborative strategies, and amazing abilities in the areas of flexibility, creativity, and problem solving. We owe much gratitude and appreciation for their dedication, perseverance, resiliency, and commitment for these amazing days together!

DimensionsThese are the same skills we know our students will need in this new interconnected world. As we continue to explore and experience what this world will be, we need to continue to recreate our classrooms too in order to meet these expectations. We will need to continue to ask ourselves how we can prepare students to live in a transformed planet that we can only try to imagine. Like artists have learned to represent a three dimensional world on a two dimensional page, we still struggle to represent the 4th dimension in our three dimensional world, since we can only imagine the 4th dimension. Similarly, we can only imagine what skills the citizens of the future will need. So it is important that we work together with other educators from across the world, like we have this week. We might not even realize how important our learning has been until we continue this process in the years to come and look back on all that we have learned and from where we began!

Special thanks again to our Chinese hosts, to all the Chinese educators and students that worked with us and made us feel at home, to our workshop leaders and seminar presenters, to all of our friends across the globe, and to Dr. Guoli Liang (KDP member) for all of his leadership and hospitality!

Learning

Beth Ulring – Teacher from the School District of Janesville, Wisconsin, USA

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.

7 Qualities of a Teacher Leader

Karen DeLawter is West Regional Chapter Coordinator at Kappa Delta Pi.

Power of Teacher LeadershipWhat makes a teacher leader? All teachers do valuable work, but what distinguishes a teacher from a teacher leader? KDP Leadership Month is the perfect time to share common characteristics from The Power of Teacher Leaders: Their Roles, Influence, and Impact.

  • Work ethic. This characteristic is defined as perseverant, resourceful, action oriented, committed, and passionate (York-Barr & Duke, 2004).
  • Teamwork. A teacher must work with many different stakeholders and build positive relationships. To build such relationships, he or she must be able to engender trust, work well with colleagues, communicate effectively, and resolve conflicts (Danielson, 2006; Killion & Harrison, 2006).
  • Leadership. Teacher leaders lead by engaging, inspiring, and motivating others to improve and become better through their actions (Bascia, 1996). The trait is strongly interconnected with teamwork.
  • Openness. Teacher leaders are adaptable, open-minded, and creative. They are open to exploring options to gather the necessary resources to improve the state of education (York-Barr & Duke, 2004). Their relationships are filled with honesty and integrity.
  • Vision. Teacher leaders have a vision to identify opportunities for improvement or fix problems within the school. They actively seek out opportunities rather than simply waiting for them to appear (Danielson, 2006). They have a calling to positively influence beyond the walls of their classrooms.
  • Positive effect. Teacher leaders are positive. They are leaders who often succeed with the help of their positive effects of optimism, enthusiasm, confidence, and willingness to collaborate (Danielson, 2006).
  • Risk taking. This characteristic allows teacher leaders to do whatever is necessary in order for children to learn. They do not mind if they fail or are criticized (Danielson, 2006).

© 2015 Kappa Delta Pi
The Power of Teacher Leaders: Their Roles, Influence, and Impact
Edited by Nathan Bond
Appendix 19.A
TEACHER LEADER CHARACTERISTICS
Commonalities

February is Leadership Month

Leadership development is a top priority for many organizations, and that’s why it is a pleasure to highlight February as the first KDP Leadership Month. There are many events planned for Leadership Month to build our members’ potential to be teacher leaders, including regional iLead events, Teach to Lead programs and summits, and travel scholarships with People to People.

In honor of Leadership Month members of the Chapter Services team wanted to share their favorite quotes on leadership to encourage you in your teaching journey.

Katie Heath“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” –Ronald Reagan

Katie Heath, Northeast Regional Chapter Coordinator

Rachel Gurley“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.”–Walter Lippmann

Rachel Gurley, Chapter Operations Coordinator

Thom Ulmet“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

Thomas Ulmet, Midwest Regional Chapter Coordinator

Laura Perkins“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” –John Quincy Adams

Laura Perkins, Southeast Regional Chapter Coordinator

Chris Beaman“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” –John C. Maxwell

As a teacher, are you in your role because it’s just a great position to have, or is it because influencing the lives of children in your community is your passion?  While it can be both, we know that you are dedicated to teaching because of your passion for others, and that is what makes YOU a great leader of today.  It’s time for the great leaders of the world—our teachers and KDP members—to stand together and continue to positively influence the lives of our children for the sake of humanity.  We cannot thank you enough for the passion you bring to the field and the daily impact that you have.

Chris Beaman, Assistant Director of Chapter Services and Membership

At KDP we believe every member is a leader. Use February as an opportunity to re-focus your chapter’s executive officers or build on your personal skills. How could you better develop your skills during KDP Leadership Month?