The Sigma Omicron chapter of Kappa Delta Pi took home two awards at this years KDP biennial convocation held in Pittsburgh, Penn. on October 26-28. KDP is an international honor society for education founded in 1911, with the mission of advancing education quality by inspiring teachers to prepare learners for future challenges.
Director of Elementary Education and Professor Nancy Steffel was awarded the Lucinda Rose Counselor Award at this year’s 51st KDP convocation.
The award recognized Steffel as the Outstanding Counselor of KDP. Steffel was then inducted into the Eleanor Roosevelt Society for her contributions. Steffel did not have any notice of winning the award prior to the convocation, making the award a complete surprise.
“I was really shocked, because as they were describing the award, I was thinking how it would be neat to win sometime,” Steffel said. “The award was a really nice validation to show they [KDP] appreciated the efforts you put in to be available and that you had done the extra things.”
The Achieving Chapter Excellence award was presented to the entire University of Indianapolis KDP chapter. The ACE award recognizes KDP chapters that exhibit outstanding programming in support of the society’s mission and strategic goals.
The President of Sigma Omicron chapter Emily Taylor and Historian Lyndsy Eslinger, both senior and education majors, accepted the award on behalf of the UIndy chapter.
Taylor said the ideals of the UIndy chapter are fidelity to humanity, service, science and toil. The KDP members discuss these ideals and try to implement them in the work that they do for the chapter and society.
“Being an officer and a member of KDP has added a layer of leadership that I needed to take,” Taylor said. “It’s given me the opportunities to step into a leadership role by leading membership meetings, working with others and delegating responsibilities for the chapter.”
Taylor also said that she has gained skills through KDP that will benefit her in her later career.
“It’s given me the opportunities to step into so many roles that have helped me develop leadership skills that make my possibilities when I leave this university so much greater,” Taylor said. “It’s also opened places I never thought I could see myself reaching for as new possibilities because of the leadership piece KDP has given me.”
There are over 600 KDP chapters internationally, and UIndy was one of just 22 chapters to receive the ACE award this year Additionally, this is the UIndy chapter’s seventh consecutive ACE award victory.
KDP provides leadership and professional development opportunities for juniors, seniors and recent graduates who are in the top 20 percent of their initial education program.
The chapter has been recognized as one of the top chapters in the nation. The chapter received the Dr. Florence B. Stratemeyer Award for Chapter Excellence in 2013, the highest award given.
After doing seven ACE applications, Steffel said she believes this years was the most “brilliantly” done and well-executed.
Steffel also praised Taylor for her leadership and commitment to teamwork in preparing applications for the competition.
“Emily [Taylor] delegated, and all these members were doing a section so when they won it wasn’t two or three people who contributed,” Steffel said. “She has a magnificent ability to delegate and get everyone involved without having to be authoritative and it’s amazing to watch.”
According to Taylor and Eslinger, the organization does an annual Literacy Alive project. It is a service project pointed toward providing literacy for students. The chapter has donated books and items of comfort to the teen oncology units at Riley Children’s Hospital and Peyton Manning Hospital.
In addition to these measures, the chapter also hosts an event that helps current chapter members network with alumni and hear their experiences in education.
“We hold what we call a ‘conversation,’” Eslinger said. “We do one per semester, so every spring we will host a conversation with beginning teachers, which is a really great opportunity to invite alumni back so they can talk about their first year of teaching, and we also do conversations with teacher-partners and teacher leaders depending on the needs of the program.”
KDP will host a conversation this spring that will feature a panel of recent UIndy graduates. Those graduates will share their experiences from their first year of teaching and give advice on applying and interviewing for jobs. KDP members will also receive honor cords to wear at graduation as a symbol of their commitment and time spent with the organization.