All posts by Pam DeFiglio

Golden Apple Awards Presented To Two NLU Alums Fields, Thomas Get Surprised in their Classrooms with Prestigious Awards

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Sonya Fields, Ph.D., a second grade teacher at Chicago’s Dixon Elementary, is presented a Golden Apple award.

 

Sonya Fields, Ph.D., and Fontane Thomas became the latest in a long line of National Louis University alumni to receive the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. The Golden Apple Foundation, based in Chicago, chose them from more than 600 nominations of Pre-K through 3rd grade teachers throughout Chicago and suburbs.

Golden Apple officials surprised the teachers by entering their classrooms during the school day to present the awards. Fields teaches second grade at Arthur Dixon Elementary School in Chicago’s South Side Chatham neighborhood, where 90 percent of her students come from low-income homes.  Thomas teaches pre-K students, mostly English Language Learners, at Stephen K. Hayt school in Chicago’s North Side Edgewater neighborhood.

View MyFoxChicago video of Fontane Thomas receiving award

Golden Apple officials also recently named NLU alums Laurie Mayer, Amy Orvis and James Schoepski as Golden Apple winners in the Rockford, Ill. area. These three, together with Fields and Thomas, combine to make 67 NLU alums in the Chicago and Rockford areas who have won Golden Apples in the foundation’s 30-year existence. <story continues below photo>

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Fontane Thomas, a pre-K teacher at Chicago’s Hayt Elementary, poses with students after receiving the Golden Apple award.

“National Louis is so proud of our alumni who have been recognized with the prestigious Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching,” said Alison Hilsabeck, Ph.D., NLU provost and former executive dean of NLU’s National College of Education.

“The National College of Education has a history of partnering with schools to immerse our future teachers in the classroom environment from day one. This early entry in the classroom and experiential preparation truly is making a difference as our students lead their own classrooms.”

According to Golden Apple, its mission is to inspire, develop and support teacher excellence in Illinois. Each Chicago-area award winner receives a tuition-free, spring quarter sabbatical to study at Northwestern University, and a $5,000 cash award.

Each Rockford awardee receives a cash award and a professional development stipend, a desktop computer for their classroom, a laptop, and a professional development scholarship.

Student Speakers Aim To Inspire At Commencement Rencher, Patel To Speak; Martinez, Lawson To Speak

graduationmortarboardsGraduating students and their families will hear the stories of a fellow student’s perseverance when they attend National Louis University commencement exercises.

For Illinois students, commencement will be held  Saturday, June 20. Wisconsin commencement will take place May 29, and Florida commencement will be June 12.

In Illinois, Sabrina Rencher, who is obtaining her B.A. in Criminal Justice, will be the speaker for the College of Professional Studies and Advancement (formerly known as both the College of Management and Business and College of Arts and Sciences) commencement.

Poonam Patel, who is obtaining her M.Ed. Specialized Endorsements, will speak at the National College of Education commencement in Illinois. Vanessa Hurtado, who will receive her B.A. in Elementary Education, will be the singer and perform the national anthem.

In Florida, the speaker will be Nancy Martinez , who obtained her Ed.D. and is participating in commencement with 16 other students from the first doctoral cohort at NLU Florida. Kendall Louise will sing the national anthem at the ceremony.

In Wisconsin, the student speaker will be retired U. S. Army Sgt. Garry Lawson, who is obtaining his Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership degree. In 2014, he was recognized by the Department of Defense Troops to Teachers program as one of 48 exemplary teachers across the country that year. He is a Special Education Teacher for Milwaukee Public Schools.

NLU alum D’shaunta Stewart, who holds an M.Ed. in Teaching, Learning and Assessment,  is back for a return engagement at the Wisconsin commencement after singing the national anthem at last’s year’s graduation.

The university called for students to audition for the speaker roles a few months ago, and a committee evaluated speakers based on their speaking quality, articulation, grammar, stage presence, the degree to which they presented inspiring messages and other factors.

Students are not paid to be speakers; however, Jose Marroquin, associate director of NLU’s Student Services Department, said they often use the speaking engagement as professional development, and many list it as a distinction on their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. They’re also honored as part of the party on the platform at commencement exercises.

“Students who audition tend to be seeking some sort of public speaking experience, or they may have a non-profit, church or volunteer group they’re trying to get exposure for,” Marroquin said.

“Many of them also tend to have a strong personal story, such as ‘I wasn’t meant to pursue higher education but I did, and I persevered.'”

 

NLU’s Yokota Heralded as Kid Lit Expert at International Festival Yokota Helps Guide Jury in Selecting Books With 'Soul'

 

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A Nami Island Children’s Book Festival exhibit. Photo by Korea Joongang newspaper.

People come from all over the world recently to visit Nami Island in South Korea for its International Children’s Book Festival, which is filled with exhibitions of art from kids’ literature, classes, exhibitions and lots of fun, creative colorful things for kids to do.

NLU’s Junko Yakota, Ph.D., professor of Reading and Language and director of NLU’s Center for Teaching through Children’s Books, served on the jury this year. The Korean newspaper Korea JoongAng Daily quotes her as saying they selected books with “soul” that children would want to keep coming back to.  Continue reading »

HuffPo Cites NLU As A Top ‘Value-Added’ University in Illinois Alums' Mid-Career Salaries Are Higher Than Expected, Research Finds

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Rebootillinois.com’s illustration shows the factors Brookings Institution researchers calculated to determine “value-added.”

National Louis University has an elusive combination of factors–including academic quality, professors’  connections to their fields, professional reputation, graduation rates and more–which make it one of Illinois top “value-added” universities, according to Brookings Institution research published in the Huffington Post.

The typical NLU graduate was predicted to earn $61,556, according to factors such as students’ academic preparation and income level, but in actuality earned $71,300. Thats 14.7% higher than expectations based on the researchers’ data.

The researchers said the “value-added” factor that a university such as NLU provides comes from graduation rates, the market value of the skills the university teaches, and other factors, such as professors’ connections to their fields, the location of the university, the availability of internships, name recognition and possibly some factors which are unknowable.

NLU ranked 13th of all colleges and universities in Illinois for the “value-added” factor.

See the post here.

Columnist Spotlights NLU Veterans Program’s Successes Extols benefits of the 'wraparound services' approach

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News is getting out around the nation about how National Louis University’s Veterans Program provides holistic support for military-connected students.

Seattle-area news columnist Mike Schindler, who is also CEO of Operation Military Family, a veteran-centric consulting firm, praised NLU’s wraparound model of support in his April 26 post in MyEdmondsNews.com.

Continue reading »

Kids Need International Picture Books, NLU Prof Says Junko Yakota tells conference kids benefit from other countries' ideas

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 4.21.03 PMWhy are American children presented with mostly American picture books? Why do children’s books from other countries, whose different ideas and styles of illustration might benefit young Americans’ minds, seldom make it into their hands?

Junko Yakota, Ph.D., professor emeritus of Reading and Language at National Louis University and director of its Center for the Teaching of Children’s Books, told a recent conference, “Where the Wild Books Are,” at New York City’s New School,  that diversity is about embracing  different modes of storytelling, not just including foreign books on the reading list.

Learn more from a School Library Journal article.

 

NLU Alum Sally Keith Named Top Teacher by Daily Herald She teaches behavior, builds community for first-graders in Winfield school

 

district“Eyes looking.” “Ears listening.” “Voices quiet.” Those are some of the words NLU alum Sally Keith uses to help teach behavior to her first-grade class at Pleasant Hill School in west suburban Winfield, Ill., according to the Daily Herald newspaper.

Keith’s colleagues and principal say she can quiet the first-graders and maintain order in a way that commands respect for both teacher and students, and also stays present and fun.   The principal, Christine Frederick, says Keith creates a high level of engagement with her students.

For these reasons and more, the Daily Herald chose Keith for its monthly Top Teacher award.

Keith earned her master’s in curriculum and instruction from National Louis University and also obtained a master’s in administration and leadership from Aurora University.

Want to know her six teaching tips for new teachers? The Daily Herald gives them here.

 

 

Former White House Staffer to Speak at NLU’s First Latino Family Conference Latino Families Invited to ‘Familias En Educación’ April 18

Hispanicgradandfamily¡Vamos a la Universidad! ¡Si, se puede!

Yes, you can go to college!

Come find out how to obtain grant and scholarship money for yourself, or your child, to attend college when National Louis University sponsors its first annual Latino Family Conference, “Familias en Educación,” on Saturday, April 18.

Las presentaciones e información serán in Español.  Presentations and information will be in Spanish.

Lunch and refreshments for the family will be provided at this free event, and there will be supervision for children younger than high school age.

Jose Rico, former executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, and a National Louis University alum, will speak about why it’s so important for Latinos to attend college, and how a degree will open up opportunities.

You can also learn about the demand in the marketplace for educated Hispanic professionals, how parents can help students with their studies, and how to finance a university education, including grants and scholarships.

Please RSVP to Monica.Ramos@nl.edu or telephone 312-261-3064, so we may prepare the correct amount of food.

The event will be Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at National Louis University’s Wheeling Campus, 1000 Capitol Drive, Wheeling, Ill., in the first-floor Public Forum Room.

Alum Writes Personalized Books To Help Special-Needs Students In creating a resource for her special-needs child, she extended the same support to others

 

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Heather McCarthy, right, an NLU alum, is starting with her friend and colleague Kate Ryan a company that makes personalized books for special-needs children. The books will help the children communicate their conditions to teachers and fellow students.

By Nicholas A. Love

Heather McCarthy ’08, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, is partnering with her friend and colleague at Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School to write personalized picture books for children with special needs.

It is not unusual for McCarthy, a language arts teacher, to turn to books when needing a solution. This hardcover problem solving began as a book she wrote to help her daughter communicate special needs with teachers and peers at school. That book soon multiplied into a collaboration between McCarthy and others to make books available to any school-age child with special needs, ranging from rare conditions, like the rare metabolic disorder her children have, to common conditions like food allergies. Continue reading »

Principal Mentoring Program Selects NLU as Partner Future School Principals Prepared for Leadership in Chicago Schools

 

ChicagoLeadershipCollaborativeNational Louis University students who aspire to become school principals have an exceptional opportunity to be mentored by a high-performing principal in a Chicago Public School.

Through CPS’ Chicago Leadership Collaborative (CLC),  aspiring principals participate in a year-long internship. It is designed to train and support effective principals-to-be, and prepare them to lead a school from day one on the job in a principal position.  Continue reading »