Spring PDS celebration brings educators, students together

Emily Roth and Sam Kintop explain their project to Ashleigh Koch. (Photo by Duane Zehr)

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April 25, 2014

By Matt Hawkins

The annual Bradley Professional Development Schools Spring Celebration brought more than 120 teachers, administrators, professors and pre-professionals together for an afternoon of sharing classroom innovations and experiences.

The event, funded by the William T. Kemper Foundation-Commerce Bank, Trustee and Bradley’s College of Education and Health Sciences, featured interactive poster presentations and roundtable discussions about recent PDS projects and educational matters.

“This keeps Bradley updated in what’s happening,” said William T. Kemper Fellow Dr. Jana Hunzicker. “There are a lot of initiatives like Common Core and RTI that we need to be preparing our students for. That relationship keeps us in touch with what we need to know.”

Special education majors Meghan Dennison ’14 and Kayla Darby ’14 spent a semester working with youth at downtown Peoria’s Academy for Autism. The experience made them eager to discuss the venture.

“This is such a great opportunity to share experiences and what we learned,” Dennison said. “The academy opened my eyes to the special needs of students. We do fieldwork in the classroom, but we don’t see that special needs setting.”

Elementary education major Sam Kintop ’14 and secondary education major Emily Roth ’14 led a roundtable discussion on how to identify and help students who are trying to cope with matters such as sexual abuse or unsettled home lives.  The students also developed a website with resources to help teachers prevent and respond to crises in students’ lives.

“We know it’s going to hit in our lives,” said Roth. “We want to make sure people are informed and we want to make sure other people know it’s OK to talk about these things and ask questions.”

Roth and Kintop spoke from life experiences in communities that suffered multiple student deaths during their childhoods. Those memories fueled their desire to help teachers and administrators reach out before and after crises.

“We want to reach out, show we love them and care and possibly change lives in a really powerful way,” Kintop said of students.

The PDS Partnership in 2013-2014 worked with Glen Oak Community Learning Center, Harrison Community Learning Center, Manual Academy, Roosevelt Magnet School, St. Mark School, Trewyn K-8 School, Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Center and Whittier Primary School.