The College of Education is hosting an in-person Back to School Kickoff event Aug. 24-26 that advertises clubs for education majors. While in-person events are few and far between this semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College of Education is working to bring students thoughtful, constructive and secure extracurricular experiences this fall.

“We are doing a socially distanced and safe in-person event to provide an opportunity for education majors to come and learn about all the different [registered student organizations] that are available,” Molly Davis, director of constituent relations said.

With Illinois State University going entirely remote this fall, it is a concern that transfer students and incoming freshmen might not be offered adequate information regarding the clubs that offer skill-building opportunities, campus community and post-graduation benefits. The College of Education is working to meet the needs of all its diverse student body.

“Last week we did a virtual event for those who weren’t comfortable with in-person. Today through Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. we’re having four-five groups each day — all education major groups — come and advertise their organizations,” Davis said.

Further, these clubs can even prove to be groundbreaking in an education major’s pre-professional journey at ISU.

“The groups provide vital experiences for pre-service teachers,” Davis said, “There are networking and professional development opportunities such as preparation for interviews, guest speakers and additional resources to prepare teachers to be active and successful for what they do once they get out into the field.”

If you weren’t able to make it on Aug. 24, the participants included: Educators Rising, Autism Speaks, Best Buddies, Collegiate Middle Level Association and the Student Association for Bilingual Education/ Urban Needs in Teacher Education.

“Educators Rising provides students with opportunities to explore careers in education, as well as contribute to the growth of the community through volunteerism,” according to the College of Education Student Organization website.

To get involved with Educators Rising, one can email Jay Percell at jpercel@ilstu.edu or find them on the College of Education Student Organizations website.

On Aug. 24, the club Autism Speaks was represented. This club works to prepare pre-service teachers to work with the increasing percent of students diagnosed with Autism.

“As you can imagine, the prevalence of autism continues to increase. So, it would not be surprising to me if every educator in some capacity was to work with a student with autism in the future,” Faculty Adviser of Autism Speaks at ISU, Nikki Michalak said, “ So, one of the main things we do is raise awareness of autism so that teachers have an understanding of what autism is and what they can do to support a child with autism in their classroom.”

This club works to extensively enlighten pre-service teachers on the topic of autism through a diverse set of guest speakers and awareness-raising activities.

“Throughout the semester, we’ll have individuals with autism come in and share what it means to them to have autism. We might have a fourth grader come in, or we might have a 25 year-old adult come in and talk about how they have been impacted, what strategies are effective for them,” Michalak said, “We also have parents come in because every family is impacted differently. I also have teachers and educators come in so they can share what it’s like to be a teacher and what they have found successful when supporting students with autism”

If one is interested in joining Autism Speaks, they can email Nikki Michalak at nakempe@ilstu.edu or find more information at the College of Education Student Organizations.

Another registered student organization present on Aug. 24 was the well-known group, Best Buddies.

“Best Buddies enhances the lives of persons with disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships between college students and their peers with disabilities in the community,” The College of Education Student Organizations website explains. “Monthly meetings bring Best Buddies together on campus for group activities.”

If one would like to get involved in Best Buddies, they can email the faculty adviser, Tara Kaczorowski, at tlkaczo@ilstu.edu or go to the College of Education Student Organizations website for more information.

Additionally, the RSO The Collegiate Middle Level Association was represented on Aug. 24.

“The Collegiate Middle Level Association (CMLA) is a professional organization for all Middle Level Teacher Education majors or those interested in the education of young adolescents,” The College of Education Student Organizations website explains, “This association offers members a chance to interact with others interested in Middle Level Education on both a professional and social level, as well as hearing guest speakers who deal with current topics concerning future middle level educators.”

If one is interested in joining CMLA, they can fill out this Google Form, email the faculty adviser, Kristina Falbe, at knfalbe@ilstu.edu, or go to the College of Education Student Organizations website for more information.

Further, the RSO, Urban Needs in Teacher Education, was represented on Aug. 24.

This club “offers students opportunities to learn about urban education through hands-on experience and introductions to education's most influential professionals,” reads the College of Education Student Organizations website.

If one wants to join Urban Needs in Teacher Education, they can email Maria Luisa Zamudio at mmzamud@ilstu.edu or go to the College of Education Student Organizations website for more information.

Last but not least, the Student Association for Bilingual Education was represented on Aug. 24.

“The Student Association for Bilingual Education [provides] dual language teacher education students with a social and academic student organization that will provide understanding of the bilingual educator and a sounding board in matters affecting their profession,” explains the College of Education Student Organizations website. If one is interested in joining The Student Association for Bilingual Education, they can email the faculty adviser Pauline Williams at pclardy@ilstu.edu or go to the College of Education Student Organizations website for more information.

From 3-4 p.m. Aug. 25 at the DeGarmo Plaza, the College of Education will be hosting the National Association for the Education of Young Children, The Student Disability Network, The Student Education Association, The Students Supporting Individuals with Disabilities and they will be providing information on the Study Abroad trip to Taipei, Taiwan.

From 3-4p.m., Aug.  26 at the DeGarmo Plaza, the College of Education will be hosting the Braille Birds, The College Mentors for Kids and the Deaf Redbirds Association.

ANASTASIA GUSTAFSON is a News Reporter for The Videtter. She can be contacted at ajgusta@ilstu.edu. Follow her on Twitter at @AnastasiaGusta9


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