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Best Practices

#0012 University of Texas
Toward our mission to serve, inspire, motivate and support public education, leadership, and research, PDK UT Chapter has had another successful year. We were able to reach over 100 educators with messages, programs and information. Brad McCoy, our Capturing Kids Hearts keynote speaker, led “A Game Plan for Success” which provided ideas for developing a healthy framework for executing a successful culture in schools. In our other program, No Place for Hate, participants were provided with ideas to support anti-bullying. It was also great hearing from two public education supporters, Representative Mark Strama and Texas Retirement System Executive Director Tim Lee. In April we awarded a student scholarship, a research grant and a James G. Umstattd Award.

#0064 Ball State University
We have conducted an annual meeting for newly graduating teacher candidates during which a panel of school administrators answered questions and offered advice on how best to pursue securing the initial teaching position. It included advice on résumés, cover letters, interviewing, follow-up, etc.

#0069 University of Connecticut
During this past year, our chapter held an iPad for Educators Workshop in Somers, CT which was attended by about 40 educators. In May we co-sponsored a similar event that was held at the University of Connecticut that was attended by almost 400 participants. In February, we held a program on Connecticut’s new teacher evaluation headed by the State Dept. of Ed.’s Chief Talent Officer with 30 attendees.

#0116 University of Nebraska/Omaha
Our primary chapter activity is the annual Showcase of Teaching. It was the 27th consecutive year for this event. Approximately 150 high school students attended the morning event that featured 30 minutes presentations by Showcase Teachers selected from principal nominations from throughout the Metro Omaha Area. Eight teachers were selected representing all teaching levels and many teaching areas. Two $250 scholarships are awarded to participants who apply for the award and complete the application form. A student teacher panel provided high school students with an idea of their student teaching experiences.

#0135 State University of New York/Albany
The U Albany Chapter and CASDA sponsored a District Superintendent’s Panel Discussion at the U Albany East Campus in Rensselaer, NY. Panel members were superintendents from Questar III, Capital Region BOCES, and Washington Saratoga Warren Hamilton Essex BOCES. The panel addressed state and federal issues that impact education. Topics included: Race to the Top, Governor Cuomo’s Commission on Education Reform Blue Ribbon Panel, and the Fiscal Cliff. Panelists gave their viewpoints on: what does this mean for education, how it might change education, and actionable plans. Some of the 30 participants were members of 2 graduate student classes in school administration at U Albany and their professors. Participants indicated in an informal event poll that they found the information provided helpful in understanding the current climate and impact on public schools. They also noted that they would be willing to attend similar events in the future. One of the attending professors had some of the panelists attend one of his classes as a follow-up time for further conversation on the event topics.

#0144 University of Alberta
In addition to the regular chapter activities on the theme of “Working together to Define Student Success,” our dedicated executive explored various strategies to revitalize and increase membership including expanding our executive board to include a committee structure, updating the look of our newsletter, and initiating our Archive Project in preparation for our 50th year celebrations. We reached out to the Education Faculty undergrad students through their association (ESA) and now have a new executive position being the Education Students’ Association Liaison. We re-instituted our Future Educator Award for high school students planning to enter Education. Heather Whitfield, a Grade 12 student shared her perspectives at our May dinner by video. Bryna Clark was awarded the 2012 Kappan of the Year. In partnership with the University of Alberta, the 2013 Dissertation Award of $1000 and certificate was presented to Dr. Yu Lei at the May dinner, where Dr. Lei presented highlights of her dissertation, Reading English Storybooks with and without Illustrations: Performance and Experiences of Young ESL Chinese Children.

#0145 Northwestern State University
This year, members worked for months with first graders at a local school to raise a vegetable garden and to teach concepts of a healthy lifestyle. The project culminated with a program that coincided with Global Youth Service Day. Another project promoted literacy among 3-and 4-year old children. Teacher candidates created take-home literacy bags for children enrolled in local childcare centers. The bags were decorated and contained learning activities. The project was in partnership with the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce, the NSU Child and Family Network, and the Natchitoches School Readiness Pilot Project. Workshops in test preparation for PRAXIS I and II (teacher candidates) and School Leaders Licensure Assessment (educational leaders) were conducted once each semester on the NSU campus. NSU has maintained a 100% passage rate on state licensure exams since 2005.

#1075 Southwest Idaho
Our chapter’s monthly meetings focused on the Common Core State Standards. We invited and learned from area educational leaders who discussed such varied topics as how the CCSS were created, how schools and students would be assessed, and the anticipated impacts on school budgets, teachers, parents, and evaluation processes. While all who attended learned a great deal, we believe these presentations were especially helpful to the student (teachers-in-training) members of our chapter.

#1098 Tidewater Area Virginia
Presentations: Positive Behavioral Intervention & Support for Educators: Kim Yanek, Old Dominion Univ. and Virginia Dept. of Ed presented to 67 educators about how to positively affect change with students though PBIS. Educators created a list of expectations and outcomes all listed with positive words and phrases. Classroom routines and procedures were also taught. Teachers created tracker sheets and had plans to take back to the schoolhouse with them. Cheryl Grieling, VA Reading Teacher of Year. Scholarships were awarded: $1,000-Clarissa Taub, $500-Hannah Ruck, $500 Edward Griffith.

#1123 Kenosha-Racine
Two new teacher in-service programs in RUSD – The Community from Which Our Students Come, and Diversity in Racine’s Community and two membership recruitment receptions. Two large public meetings on critical issues in education: Dr. James Shaw speaking on the Effects of Poverty on School Achievement, and Dr. Julie Underwood spoke against The Privatization of Education. Ten Kenosha and Racine community organizations supported the events. Dinner meeting for members featuring Dr. Michelle Hancock who spoke on Handling Adversity in Education. The largest and finest Awards Banquet ever. Upgraded to an electronic newsletter. Progress in establishing FEA Clubs. Two Scholarships awarded to high school seniors from fundraising efforts.

#1177 Buenaventura California
We offer 3 events each year in the fall, winter, and spring. Our best attended event each year is our annual “Text Walk”. At our Text Walks, we offer event participants an opportunity to explore a book addressing a timely topic. This year’s choice, for example, was No Place for Bullying by James Dillon. The roughly 75 educators in the audience learned about some strategic approaches to this topic with the help of the PDK board members who facilitated the “walk”. Each participant received a copy of the book and enjoyed a dinner prepared by one of our high school’s culinary class.

#1484 University of San Francisco
The Chapter was very fortunate to have Dr. Barry Posner, co-author of the book, The Leadership Challenge, present and spend time with the USF graduate students. He did a presentation and also had time for photo ops and book signing. The Chapter also organized two lunch and learn sessions that graduate students found really helpful as they prepare to embark on their journey in completing their master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation. The event entitled Treading the Dissertation Waters had five recent graduates of the School of Education share their experiences and gave advice on what help them complete their dissertation. Due to the request of our master’s students, we partnered with the Graduate Student Association to organize a lunch and learn specifically for masters students. We had an adjunct professor and a recent graduate share some tips and advice in finishing their master’s program. Finally, the chapter hosted a Fall Initiation Dinner to welcome our ten new members.

#1524 Long Island University
Chapter #1524 sponsored eight free professional development events, which were open to all and were held at LIU Post. The events and presenters were as follows: Dr. Kathryn Lusteg (Associate Dean, LIU Post) – “Interviewing Techniques.” Jason Cascone (Director of Career Development, LIU Post) – “Resume Writing for Educators.” Dr. Wafa Deeb-Westervelt (Freeport Assistant Superintendent) – “Data and the Common Core.” Manju Prasad-Rao, Jean Uhl, and Maria Zarycky (IMC Librarians, LIU Post) and Dr. Roberta Levitt (Department of Special Education & Literacy, LIU Post) – “SMART Board Technology, Integrated Program Tools, and Common Core State Standards.” Dr. Michael Hogan (Associate Dean, LIU Post) – “Updates on New NYS Teacher Certification.” Elise Sobol (Adjunct Prof. and Teacher at Rosemary Kennedy School) – “Teaching with Relevance: Sound, Symbol, Code and Color: Teaching Music and Liberal Arts to Special Needs Students.” Dr. Howard Berrent (Educational Consultant, Past President of Nassau Reading Council) – “The Common Core State Standards in the Classroom.”

#1611 State of Wisconsin
Educator Effectiveness System Luncheon Wisconsin State Chapter of PDK held a luncheon featuring Deputy State Superintendent Michael J. Thompson, Ph.D. in Stevens Point. Thompson spoke on the new Educator Effectiveness System that will be fully implemented in 2014. The purpose of the system is to ensure that students have highly effective teachers, administrators, and schools. Teachers will be evaluated using two main measures: Teacher Practice and Student Outcome. Dr. Thompson encouraged the sharing of ideas, comments, and concerns from attendees, and promoted the Educator Effectiveness System as a positive system for the future of education in our state. Wisconsin State Chapter of PDK hosted a webinar “Close Readings and the Common Core.” The ultimate “close reading” allows students collaborative opportunities in which they can uncover big ideas and apply them to their lives and the world. The presenters offer guidelines related to the shifts noted in the CCSS.

Testimonial

For me, PDK represents the intersection of camaraderie, innovation, and confrontation of real education issues. It is the only organization that provides educators of varied backgrounds with relevant insights, as well as positive energy to continue our important work today, tomorrow, and in the future.
DAPHNE CHANDLER, PDK member