All ACEs: Teacher education students win national award

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For the first time, Rowan University's Eta Psi Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), the international honor society in education, has received a major national award recognizing its excellence.

 For the first time, Rowan University's Eta Psi Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), the international honor society in education, has received a major national award recognizing its excellence.

Earlier this month, the chapter received the Achieving Chapter Excellence (ACE) award from KDP during the society's Centennial Convocation in Indianapolis.

The ACE award recognized the chapter for exceptional leadership, programming, and involvement by its members.  Rowan's Eta Psi KDP chapter was one of only 24 chapters nationwide to receive the award.

Rowan's chapter has grown from about 35 students in 2007 to a group of 200 committed students today.

"Our students have become much more creative with their activities in the last few years and their dedication to teaching really shines through," says Teacher Education Professor Martha Viator, co-adviser of KDP with fellow Teacher Education Professor Cori Meredith.

"The philosophy of the College of Education is ‘a learning community in action.' KDP truly is a learning community--one that makes a difference."

"It was very special for us to have our accomplishments recognized by the national chapter," says KDP President Katie Lacenere, a secondary education and English major from Plainsboro, who accepted the award along with Heather Butler of Williamstown, who graduated in May and served was vice president of social events for KDP last year. "This was a huge accomplishment for us."

Over the past two years, KDP hosted the Polar Express Pajama Party, a holiday-themed event for more than 100 local kids in Education Hall that celebrated literacy; and "Literacy Alive," a spring program that also promoted reading and literacy to community children.

All KDP chapters--582 chapters in all--host some type of "Literacy Alive" event. But Rowan was honored at Convocation for having more student involvement for "Literacy Alive" than any other chapter. Altogether, a whopping 200 students volunteered for the event last spring, according to Cathy Dyciewski, the chapter's vice president of publicity and a senior English and secondary education major from Brick.

Also last spring, KDP members self-published Lessons from My Teacher: Honoring Those Who Inspire Us, a book of essays that paid tribute to inspiring teachers. The group solicited submissions about teaching and teachers from members of the Rowan community, including students, faculty, and staff. The books paid tribute to KDP's 100th anniversary.

Students in KDP also tutor children three times each month at the Homework Help Center at the Glassboro Public Library.

Kappa Delta Pi was founded in 1911 at the University of Illinois and has 45,000 members throughout the world, according to its web site.  Rowan's KDP chapter was founded in 1956.

"In the 50-plus-year history of our chapter, this is the first time we've been awarded by KDP. That's a real testament to our students' creativity and dedication," says Meredith.

In order to receive the ACE award, Eta Psi was required to submit a portfolio highlighting six areas of achievement over the past two years. Those areas included: programming, membership and retention; recognition; service ideals; practices, inquiry reflection-science and fidelity to human ideals; professional development; and leadership development.

"It was a full force effort by everyone on our executive board," says Dyciewski, who adds that last year's KDP historian, Lauren Valentine, especially "worked incredibly hard to make this happen.

"Our chapter promotes leadership in education, not just service and fund raising. We think of ourselves as the up-and-coming leaders of the education world."

To join KDP, students must have a 3.5 grade point average and must have completed 30 credit hours and 12 credit hours in the College of Education.

According to its website, KDP was founded in 1911 to foster excellence in education and promote fellowship among those dedicated to teaching. The founders chose the name from the Greek words to represent knowledge, duty, and power.

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