NIU will confer an honorary doctorate degree this fall to James Fruchterman, who has devoted his career to bringing “Silicon Valley’s technology innovations to all of humanity, not just the richest 5 percent.”
The CEO and founder of Benetech will receive his distinction during the Graduate School commencement, scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, in the NIU Convocation Center.
A former rocket engineer who also founded two successful for-profit, high-tech companies, Fruchterman grew up in Arlington Heights, Ill.
He is also a MacArthur Fellow, recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and winner of the 2013 Migel Medal from the American Foundation for the Blind, the highest honor in the United States for service to the field of blindness.
“We are privileged to recognize Jim Fruchterman,” NIU President Doug Baker says. “He applies his skills in engineering and physics to discover, develop and deliver technology that helps people around the world to lead better and more-productive lives, and he has accomplished this in a selfless way.” Read more...
If Nicole Morales ever dreamed of a job other than teaching, she doesn’t remember it.
“The materials have always come really easily to me. I’ve always done well in school,” says Morales, a senior Early Childhood Education major from Rockford.
“Even when I was growing up, there were classmates of mine who came to me for help – and I always found that I was able to show them the material in a way that the teacher wasn’t able to do,” she adds. “I could shine a light in a way that wasn’t there before.”
So when the opportunity arose to get her toes wet through Educate U.S. in the Houston Independent School District last January, Morales happily took the plunge.
“When I read about Educate U.S., I knew that I would get to see what it’s like being in a first-, second- or third-grade setting and the opportunity to get a feel of a primary classroom before I had to start my clinical observation,” she says. “Getting that experience before I had to do it for school was really good.” Read more...
For K-12 educators who attended NIU’s Oct. 26 professional development conference on “Bullying: How Schools Can Respond,” a quotation presented by keynote speakers Z Nicolazzo and Molly Holmes painted a difficult picture.
“The dominant narrative (of LGBTQ bullying) depends on an inaccurate premise,” Nicolazzo said, reading from a 2013 study by researchers Elizabethe Payne and Melissa Smith.
“It assumes schools to be neutral sites where all students have an equal opportunity to succeed and that barriers to success appear when individuals’ injurious behavior or attitudes create a ‘negative’ school climate where student safety and belonging are threatened.”
What’s more, the presenters said, the increasing visibility of trans* people in the United States is matched by a growing vulnerability, risk of harm and threat of harassment.
LGBTQ students are experiencing educational environments that are less than ideal. They continue to face a lack of acceptance. Their lives are not reflected or affirmed through school curricula – and they are aware of that deficit.
One recent study found that 22 percent of students reported hearing negative remarks about gender expression from other students often or very often; 25.5 percent of students heard school staff make negative remarks related to gender expression. Read more...
Requirements have changed for educators who want to become school superintendents in Illinois – and NIU is the first university in the state to change with them.
Passage of Public Act 98-413 by the Illinois General Assembly updated the Illinois School Code and authorized the State Superintendent of Education, in consultation with the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board, to develop standards for the preparation of school superintendents.
These changes have been fully implemented with the goal of ensuring the “people getting the new superintendent endorsement will have the skillset they need to be successful,” said Benjamin Creed, an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations.
Guidelines set by the ISBE now require three semesters of internships conducted at one or more public school districts “to enable the candidate to be exposed to and to participate in a variety of educational leadership situations” with “diverse economic and cultural conditions.”
Internships must include engagement in leadership activities at all levels from preschool through 12th grade; active participation in the hiring, supervision and evaluation of staff; and active collaboration in management, operations and decision-making. Read more...
NIU has created an online training to help K-12 teachers to make data-informed decisions that will improve learning in their classrooms.
Todd Reeves, an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment (ETRA), and ETRA doctoral candidate Jui-Ling (Raye) Chiang, developed the “D5x4: Data in Five by Four” training.
More than 200 in-service teachers and pre-service teachers currently are participating in the 10-hour training, which presents participants with numerous data sets to review and dissect in search of how those numbers may inform instruction.
Five refers to the number of student levels at which training participants work with data: individual; subgroup; classroom; grade; and school. Four represents the types of questions explored by participants during the training: location/identification; strengths and weaknesses; status and growth; and instruction.
“5×4” is also an allusion to the aeronautics expression meaning “loud and clear.”
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to reach out from NIU to the community and serve current and future educators in this way,” Reeves says. “Today’s teachers are inundated with data, and their capacity to use data productively is a salient but complex skillset.” Read more...