From: Society Past President Dr. Elizabeth Wilkins
To: All KDP members—past, present, & future
As Kadelpians, we are proud of our rich legacy that spans over 100 years. Our organization is built on a storied tradition of excellence in education where members have a network of support throughout their careers. Moreover, our focus on leadership, service, and scholarship has been steadfast. The educational resources and networking opportunities available through Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) has benefitted our initiated membership that now exceeds 1.2 million. Not many organizations, whether business- or education-related, share this accolade of purpose and resilience. Strong organizations, like KDP, who have successful longevity stay relevant by regularly reflecting on and revisiting who they are and how to stay responsive to the current environment (Coerver & Mary Byers, 2013; Kotter & Rathgeber, 2006). Accordingly, as the teaching profession has changed over the last century, so has KDP.
Currently, the need to recruit, retain, and support teachers has never been greater (Ingersoll & Perda, 2013; Lieberman, 2015; Zeichner, 2014). Other examples of current challenges include meeting the needs of increased numbers of diverse students, addressing accountability pressures related to achievement tests, and requiring tangible proof of student growth as part of teacher evaluation. These challenges, which I believe are best framed as opportunities, are creating critical conversations not only in the larger education community but in our organization as well. That dialogue has us listening carefully to Kadelpians, national leaders in education, classroom teachers, administrators, and policy makers. We know that in order to be relevant as well as responsive to our membership and the profession, we need to carefully chart our path. Therefore, KDP is revisioning. The Reason: To be as responsive as possible to what is happening to both preservice and in-service teachers.
Over the past year, KDP has purposefully begun to respond to shifts we see in the profession by acting upon the call to revision. In response, we have (a) held discussions with the Board Members, staff, and current members, (b) sought insight from professional organizations who have successfully completed their transformation, (c) read literature on organizational change to address relevancy, (d) gained insight from a KDP Visioning Task Force, and (e) reviewed our historical roots and founding ideals.
We are excited about what has emerged from this call to action. I want to assure our membership that the process has been long and thoughtful; we believe a more refined direction will help us to best respond to the rapid changes happening to our profession. We believe KDP's new vision and mission statements more clearly define who we are, along with what we can and should offer to our membership and the education profession at large.
Vision: Quality Learning for All
Mission: Kappa Delta Pi advances quality education by inspiring teachers to prepare all learners for future challenges.
We encourage quality learning by giving educators the means to implement research-based strategies, continue professional growth, assume leadership, and become master teachers. KDP achieves this goal of quality learning for all by:
- Providing teacher education programs with professional resources and sustained support for retaining effective educators in all classrooms.
- Developing teacher leaders to be change agents and empowering them to advocate for the best interest of students and the teaching profession.
- Advancing instruction that ensures students are globally aware, socially responsible, resilient, and able to solve problems in a just and equitable way.
Given the critical importance of quality learning, KDP will leverage its rich legacy of high standards and excellence in teaching to advance the goal of ensuring high-quality learning for all students that results in career readiness and the ability to lead fulfilling lives. Quality learning is realized by educators’ acquisition and implementation of research-based strategies, mastery of teaching and learning, continued professional growth, and educational leadership.
With its presence in more than 600 collegiate teacher preparation programs, KDP is uniquely positioned to partner with teacher preparation programs to help preservice teachers acquire a deeper understanding of critical areas such as English language learners, culturally responsive teaching, and the skills and understanding necessary for students to thrive in an uncertain future. Having access to current research, critical pedagogical and curricular practices, and a collaborative community of great educators, KDP has the capacity to influence and advance the effectiveness of newer teachers and to increase their retention in the classroom. The new mission provides KDP members with the leadership and resources they need, along with empowerment as a community of educators.
With this new mission, our hope is that others interested in teaching excellence will take notice and join our advocacy for Quality Learning for All. We have been an organization that has made a difference since 1911. As such, KDP will continue to be a valued participant and leader in educational dialogue and change that is happening across the country. I encourage our membership and others to get involved and add their support. In so doing, we will stay true to KDP's original purpose of recognizing scholarly achievement and sustaining a community of educators for the purpose of addressing emerging challenges and opportunities in a just and equitable way.
Coerver, H., & Byers, M. (2013). Race to relevance. Washington, DC: The Center for Association Leadership.
Ingersoll, R., & Perda, D. (2013). How high is teacher turnover and is it a problem? Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania, Consortium for Policy Research in Education.
Kotter, J., & Rathgeber, H. (2006). Our iceberg is melting: Changing and succeeding under any conditions. New York, NY: Macmillan.
Lieberman, A. (2015). Teachers at the forefront: Learning to lead. In N. Bond (Ed.), The power of teacher leaders: Their roles, influence, and impact (pp. 7-18). New York, NY: Routledge.
Zeichner, K. (2014). The struggle for the soul of teaching and teacher education in the USA Journal of Education for Teaching: International Research and Pedagogy, 40(5), 551-568.