Month: September 2015

Panel discussion to address tough issues facing local schools, teachers and students

Douglas Moeller, Steven Koch, Erika Schlichter

The NIU College of Education’s ongoing Community Learning Series continues Thursday, Oct. 22 when the college welcomes back three distinguished alumni to share their experiences as educators and school administrators and provide insights into what it takes to be successful in today’s classrooms.

The guests will also provide an “on-the-ground” look at some of the pressing issues facing local schools and school districts, including the impact of the Illinois budget crisis, Common Core and student testing.

Dr. Brad Hawk, assistant professor in the COE’s Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Leadership as well as a former school superintendent himself, will moderate the panel, which includes:

  • Douglas Moeller, superintendent, DeKalb School District 428
  • Erika Schlichter, chief academic officer, District 158
  • Steven Koch, principal, Prairie Ridge High School

“All of our guests have been highly successful teachers who have moved up through the system, through a variety of jobs at a variety of districts,” Hawk said. “Their comments will be valuable to anyone seeking a career as a teacher but also for teachers – prospective or veteran – who are interested in taking on administrative roles.”



College of Education welcomes high school students from Taiwan

 

Open Imagination participants

Open Imagination participants

In early September, Northern Illinois University and DeKalb High School, as well as high schools in St. Charles and the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA) in Aurora, welcomed nine high school students from western Taiwan, who spent three weeks immersed in American-style education and culture.

The 11th- and 12th-graders lived with DeKalb High School families during their stay. They are the second group of students from Taiwan’s Miaoli County to visit NIU and DeKalb in the past two years as part of a program called Open Imagination.

“Open Imagination was really a team effort,” said Terry Borg, director of the College of Education’s Office of External and Global Programs, which helped plan the visit. “The Education Bureau of Miaoli came to us with this grand idea about opening their students’ minds to a different way of learning.”

The students spent four days at DeKalb High School, three in St. Charles and another two days at IMSA shadowing students and attending classes. They also spent a week at NIU participating in classes that align with their career goals — law, science and medicine, diplomacy, and marketing, to name just a few.



Alumni profile: Meet Mina Blazy

mina-blazy

Mina Blazy

If you had asked Mina Blazy if she aspired to be a teacher back while she was a student at Proviso East High School, she would have told you “no.”

But the fond memories of a 10th grade chemistry teacher at that high school continue to inspire her hands-on approach to teaching – teaching science especially — today.
“You’d go by his class and he’d be lighting something on fire,” she said. “We made candy from a chemical equation in his class. I had the most fun in that classroom. He made science come alive.”

When that teacher retired and learned that Blazy (B.S. Ed. Elementary Education ’99) was teaching, he sent her all of his lessons.

Earlier this year Blazy opened the Gus Franklin Jr. STEM Academy, in Victorville, Calif., where she is currently principal.

“The academy is a huge success,” she said of its launch. “We have students from kindergarten through sixth grade learning and exploring engineering concepts through project-based learning.”