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«Comments from William T. Kemper Fellow. “One’s own self is well hidden from one’s own self. Of all mines of treasure, one’s own is the last ...»

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rent With Kemper

Keeping Cur

Supported by the William T. Kemper Foundation

- Commerce Bank Trustee

Spring Semester 2011

Helen Hagen, Editor

Comments from William T. Kemper Fellow...

“One’s own self is well hidden from one’s own self. Of all mines of treasure, one’s own is the

last to be dug up. “ - Friedrich Nietzche

Historical Westlake Hall

A beautiful spring day with tulip trees, daffodils, hyacinths and cardinals reminds us

College of Education and of how are connected to the environment in enlarging circles starting from a single classroom to Health Sciences schools, university, communities and the global community.

Joyful experiences in our lives are those that build resources and even in challenging times to support the community. “Positivity draws you out to explore to mix it up with the world in unexpected ways. Each time you do, you learn something. These gains in knowledge might not be revelatory today, but they‟ll be useful down the road and under certain circumstances they may be life-savers.” (Frederickson, 2009, p. 23).

In her research Barbara Frederickson (2009) describes how positivity can create a mental framework that gives energy for other positive things to occur. Such a framework includes the feelings of joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope and pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love. Connected to these feelings, there are tools of positivity that she specifies as important ways Inside this issue… of promoting positivity. The one-to-three ratio is an important notion: for every negative thought, we need three positive ones to keep our energy and balance in life.

Comments from Kemper

Fellow………………....……....1 Tools for positivity are:

Manual………………..….….… 2 Being open Valeska Hinton….…………...…4 Cultivating connections (respectful engagement with others, supporting what others St. Mark‟s…………....………... 6 a

–  –  –

Hats Off to Dr. Valeria Evans-Pierce, Retiring After 38 Years of Service!

Dr. Valeria Evans-Pierce is retiring after 38 years of service to the education profession. A 1969 graduate of Manual High School, Dr. Pierce earned her bachelor‟s degree in elementary education from Illinois State University in 1973. After crossing a picket line to accept her first teaching position at McKinley Grade School in Peoria District 150, she taught first grade for three years before moving to Ohio in 1976. After several years of service in Ohio‟s South-Western City School District, Dr.

Pierce returned to Illinois in the early 1980s, working as a lead teacher for Peoria‟s first minority-owned private school, at Tazewell County Head Start, and as a case worker for a state-sponsored truancy prevention program before accepting a second-grade teaching position at Hines School in Peoria District 150.

Dr. Pierce reflects, “Once coming back to the district, my career blossomed. I moved out of the classroom to become a staff developer for language arts and the district‟s efficacy program. During that time, I taught half the day and did staff development the other half. But eventually,” she says, “I went back to the classroom full time doing what I know I was born to do…TEACH.” She resumed teaching children, third grade this time, at Northmoor Primary School.

Several years later, in 1996, Dr. Pierce was nominated by then Northmoor principal Vicky Stewart for an Illinois Those Who Excel award, and was soon named 1997 Illinois Teacher of the Year. “It was an award that changed my life forever,” Dr. Pierce recalls. “With this honor, once again I stepped out of the classroom to become an ambassador for my first love… TEACHING.” She elaborates further: “Proudly representing this noble profession, I traveled and spoke to audiences throughout the state, and was able to go back to school after receiving lifetime tuition at any state university. As Illinois Teacher of the Year, I was also nominated and received the prestigious Milken Award, which acknowledged exceptional teacher-leader educators. With that award, I received $25,000.” After a year and a half sabbatical to complete her teacher of the year duties, Dr.

Pierce returned to her alma mater Manual High School as Title I Staff Developer, Class Size Reduction Director, and coordinator of the district‟s first high school “grow your own” program, called Future Teachers of Peoria. She reflects, “During this time, I even managed to squeeze in a few semesters as an adjunct professor at Bradley teaching multicultural education and classroom management.” A year later, in 1998, Dr. Pierce completed her master‟s degree in reading at Illinois State University, but she wasn‟t quite finished yet. She explains, “With lifetime free tuition, I couldn‟t stop there. I applied for a seat in Peoria‟s doctoral cohort in educational administration through Illinois State University.” While earning her doctorate, Dr. Pierce “continued to dabble in administration.” She moved from assistant principal at Loucks Edison Middle School to assistant principal at Woodrow Wilson Primary School, and finally to Manual‟s Seventh and Eighth Grade Preparatory Academy, where she currently serves as academy leader.

In 2008, “after what seemed like an eternity”, Dr. Pierce received her doctor of education degree in educational administration. Her dissertation is entitled “Building Shared Instructional Leadership: Emerging Roles and Relationships of Teacher Leaders.” In addition to being selected 1997 Illinois Teacher of the Year, Dr. Pierce holds many honors. She is listed in Who‟s Who Among America‟s Teachers, a member of the Illinois State University College of Education Hall of Fame, a 1997 Milken Foundation Award Recipient, a Phoenix Business Association Black Educator of the Year, and a University Council for Educational Administration Barbara L. Jackson Scholar. Dr. Pierce will be truly missed.





Keeping Current With Kemper Manual (continued) Page 3 Manual‟s Academic Progress Conferences Benefit Students and Community Mentors Ninth-grade student Katrina walks with her advisory class down to Manual‟s cafeteria, where she stands in line with her peers, waiting for an open table. Most of the cafeteria‟s four-seat tables are occupied. The room is abuzz with conversation as adults from the community, including retired teachers, district administrators, local business owners, pastors, and other professionals, talk one-on-one with Manual students about their grades, their lives, and their future plans. "They tell us where we need to improve and encourage us to set goals,” explains a tenth–grade student.

It‟s Katrina‟s turn, and coordinator Shannon Marlin waves her to a table at the far side of the cafeteria. A local insurance agent, who has arranged to arrive late to work that morning, finishes up a few notes as Katrina approaches. When she arrives at the table, her mentor stands and shakes her hand, introducing himself. Katrina, excited yet nervous, tells him her name and they sit down. During the next five minutes student and mentor look together at Katrina‟s midterm progress report, discussing her areas of strength and developing strategies for areas Katrina wants to improve. For Katrina, it‟s her science grade. The insurance agent suggests that she pay close attention in class and ask questions when she doesn‟t understand what‟s being taught. He also encourages her to talk with her teacher directly, before or after class, to get help. Katrina decides that she‟ll talk to her teacher later that day. Her mentor ends the brief conference with a smile and another handshake. “You can do it!” he says.

Four times each academic year, all Manual Talent Development Middle and High School students, grades seven through twelve, participate in academic progress conferences, more commonly known as APCs. A Manual eighth-grade student reflects, "It's helpful because volunteers talk to you and tell you what you can do better. It shows that someone cares about our grades. They tell us what we can improve on." A twelfth-grade student comments, "I think it's awesome that someone from the community talks to us about our classes. It boosts your confidence hearing from someone other than your family or teachers."

Manual began holding APCs three years ago, as part of the school‟s building-wide restructuring plan to increase student academic achievement. On average, 800 students and 40 community members participate, depending on the time of year the conferences are held. Manual principal, Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat explains, "Some of these students sometimes never get feedback from adults or go over their grades with someone at home. Students have been able to make connections with volunteers, whether job opportunities later or as a mentor, and the community makes a connection with the school and students. It has a positive impact."

Casey Schmitt, professional school counselor at Manual, notices that APCs also have a positive impact on the adult mentors who participate. She explains, "The relationship can be mutually beneficial. It allows for community members to connect with students at Manual and see the many wonderful characteristics that I get to see each and every day." This has been especially true for Julie Schifeling, executive outreach program director for Bradley University‟s Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service, who regularly participates as an APC mentor. Ms. Schifeling reflects, "Participating in the academic progress conferences at Manual Middle and High School has had a profound impact on my life. Listening to the students' challenges, most of which have never been experienced by me, my family or friends, as well as their hopes and dreams is a humbling experience. For me, it is an honor and a privilege to spend time with these students."

The final round of APCs for the 2010-2011 academic year will be held at Manual on May 9-10, 2011. No training or prior experience is required. To RSVP, contact Shannon Marlin at shannon.marlin@psd150.org.

Author‟s note: Some information for this article was borrowed from “Conference Matches High Students with Mentors” by Dave Haney, which was published in the Peoria Journal Star in December 2010. The full article can be retrieved at: http:// www.pjstar.com/news/x2050933860/Conference-matches-Manual-High-students-with-mentors Illinois Women in Educational Leadership On April 8-9, 2011, Dr. Jana Hunzicker, assistant professor in Bradley's Department of Teacher Education, attended the Illinois Women in Educational Leadership (IWEL) annual Dare to be Great Conference with several administrators from Peoria Public School District 150's Manual Talent Development Middle and High School. Pictured from left to right: (front) Cheryl Ellis, 10th-12th Grade Academy Leader; Dr. Valeria Pierce, 7th-8th Grade Academy Leader; Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, Principal. Back: Dr. Jana Hunzicker, Bradley University, and Taunya Jenkins, Assistant Principal.

Manual Talent Development Middle and High School administrators Dr. Valeria Piece (7th-8th Grade Academy Leader), Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat (Principal), and Taunya Jenkins (Assistant Principal) shared insights about the joys and challenges of urban school settings at the Illinois Women in Educational Leadership (IWEL) annual Dare to be Great Conference, which was held at Ewing Cultural Center in Bloomington, Illinois.

Keeping Current With Kemper Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Center Page 4 by Dr. Patty Nugent Site Coordinator ENGINEERING WEEK at Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center Currently, there is a nationwide initiative aimed at providing opportunities for young children to experience the Engineering Process. This spring, an Engineering week (March 21 – March 23) was instituted at Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center to provide such an experience. Ms. Kelly Erney (Science Teacher), in collaboration with Ms. Diann Duke (Valeska Principal) and Dr. Patricia Nugent (Bradley University), planned the unit that would be used with all first graders. During the

first day of their unit, students reviewed what they had previously learned about magnets. They were then given the task:

Create an object could be either pushed or pulled down a magnetic path, without using their hands.

–  –  –

Colleen O'Neil – Student Teacher at Roosevelt Magnet School Q: What are two things that you learned this semester that you will be able to take with you into your future as a teacher?

A: In the short amount of time I spent at Roosevelt, I became much more confident in my abilities as a teacher. One thing that I learned was how beneficial collaborating with others can be. Through this experience, I feel that I have come away with so many great ideas for lessons and activities. The teachers that I got to know were very open and kind to me. They made me feel so welcome and were always willing to answer any questions I had. Another thing that I learned from my time at Roosevelt was that every single child has the ability to learn, they just need to be given the chance. Students learn at very different rates and in very different ways. It is so important to use a variety of teaching strategies in order to benefit as many of the students as possible. Students respond very well when they are given encouragement and when they see the teacher wanting them to succeed. Building a positive relationship with each student will help to build a positive classroom atmosphere. The students will begin to feel a sense of belonging in the classroom, which can then lead to increased motivation and academic success.

Q: What is working as a team with your corresponding teacher like?

A: My cooperating teacher has been great! This experience was very different from all of my other experiences in the classroom, but my cooperating teacher made me feel immediately at home. Working with her was always easy. She was extremely open to me and willing to answer any questions that I had. She guided me in the right direction without ever telling me how I had to do something. She definitely let me try to figure things out for myself, which helped me to feel much more confident as a teacher. She made my experience at Roosevelt unforgettable.

Q: During your experience what is something that has been surprising or unexpected?



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