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NEA Support for SVEA Students and Chapters: ODU SVEA’s “Ask a Future Educator” General Meeting

By Danielle Whitmire, ODU SVEA Secretary

On February 25th, 2016 the Old Dominion University Student Virginia Education Association (ODU SVEA) held a general meeting for their 292 members at the ODU Darden College of Education. However, this was no ordinary general meeting. Working with the Organizational Specialist for the National Education Association (NEA) Student Program, Michelle Foisy, the ODU SVEA organized and moderated an interactive discussion for its members during this innovative “Ask a Future Educator” themed general meeting. With this discussion, education students were able to address concerns they have about entering the teaching profession. Additionally, the ODU SVEA assisted the NEA in discovering more ways in which they can help support SVEA students and chapter development.

Students were asked, “What worries do you have about entering the education field?” and three different concerns were soon discovered. First, students shared how they are concerned about politics within the classroom and their role as political action advocates. When asked why they think this issue is so important, students offered the fact that they are aware of the extensive reach and authority politics have over everything they, as educators, aim to achieve within their classroom every day. Since they agreed that politicians, and their political decisions, directly influence schools and classrooms, students discussed ways in which they can continually educate themselves and become more involved in civic engagements. 

The discussion evolved further as more members shared their specific concerns. One student and SVEA Member, Cat Slate, shared her interest in what happens after the initial first year of teaching is completed. So, members discussed ways in which they can be better prepared and find support for, not only the vital first year, but also for their subsequent years in the education profession. Another issue education students have is how to discover the right city, school, and job position for their future career. They explained how important it is for teachers to find the best fit for them since each school and district are distinct. Once these worries were voiced, students were posed with the question, “What can the NEA Student Program do for you?” Members replied with several suggestions. They asked for more professional development opportunities offered at differing times, and from that conversation, the possible institution of national webinars, or podcasts, was recommended. The ODU SVEA decided to create online polls to survey the best days and times suited for their members to engage in these and more professional development seminars. Another suggestion was given for an increase in statewide connections with other education associations. Utilizing technology and organizing mini regional conferences were discussed as potential ways to help satisfy this need for better communication between associations. 

Coming to an agreement on the benefits of taking advantage of available technological resources led the discussion to consider how the NEA can use digital engagement. This type of engagement could aid in forming more connections with other student chapters and associations. In concluding the meeting, ODU SVEA members participated in completing a survey to help define, and institute more ways in which the NEA can further assist the student program, and the transition from student to educator. By communicating and collaborating with NEA Headquarters Staff, the ODU SVEA has created a sense of teamwork and improved communication on campus and within the NEA student program.

Advancing the Successes of Students & Future Educators: ODU SVEA S.T.E.M. Day ‘16

By Danielle Whitmire, ODU SVEA Secretary

On Saturday, February 20th, 2016 the Old Dominion University Student Virginia Education Association (ODU SVEA) brought 86 fourth and fifth graders from surrounding Norfolk public schools to campus to engage in hands-on activities involving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics for an educational S.T.E.M. Day. The goal of the day is to widen students' interests and help them gain a better understanding of S.T.E.M. content in a fun, interactive manner. Other goals include improving communication skills, building self-esteem through achievement, and instilling motivation for future college or trade school attendance.As a chapter of the National Education Association's (NEA) student program, the ODU SVEA works to improve the transition from students to educators by supporting student teachers with teacher quality, community outreach, and political action opportunities. The conception of S.T.E.M. Day began four years ago in conjunction with the NEA’s “Communities Redefining Education Advocacy Through Empowerment” Grant. Every year since, the ODU SVEA has worked to enhance this event and its successful effects.  

This year, the students participate in five sessions, including four S.T.E.M. activities and one campus tour, with university professors and assisting SVEA members. Students discovered the world’s wonders through an interactive google maps lesson utilizing technology. By creating their own catapult, they also learned how to throw a perfect snowball by way of a fun, engineering project. For this project, pairs of students brainstormed and collaborated to create blueprints for their catapult, and they even had to stick to a budget! Another session named, “Leaping Frogs,” allowed students to learn about the scientific force of motion and the aspects of potential, kinetic energy through the art of origami. Art was also included in a physical science lesson about the Additive Color Spectrum. Students used the famous artist, Andy Warhol’s, technique to create their own masterpieces depicting celebrities like LeBron James, Taylor Swift, Barack Obama, Daniel Radcliffe, and Beyoncé. Through these lessons, the fourth and fifth graders discovered ways in which they are interested and skilled in S.T.E.M., and with the addition of art, S.T.E.A.M. fields. On the campus tour, students obtained a first-hand look at the life of a college student as they visited places like the student union building, the Webb Center, and the Perry Library. They even received the opportunity to talk with the ODU Engineering Department and interact with their competition vehicles. With this 2016 S.T.E.M. Day, the ODU SVEA achieved its goals and anticipated outcomes for student engagement, learning, and motivation. Each of these achievements will ultimately create a brighter future for the children in the community of Norfolk, Virginia.

Randolph Macon Article




Extraordinary Service: R-MC's SVEA Students Give Back 

Shannon Mendonca '16, Rebecca Waldman '16, Hannah Pencook '16, Kylie Wash '15 

Click here to check out the article posted on the Randolph-Macon College Website or read the article below! 

The Randolph-Macon College chapter of the Student Virginia Education Association (SVEA) has been working hard this academic year to raise its profile on campus and to contribute in positive ways to the community.
The SVEA, an organization for future teachers, is the student branch of the National Education Association. At R-MC, the SVEA hopes to give future teachers opportunities to engage with and give back to the community as part of teacher preparation.
Commenting on the motivation behind the increased activity of SVEA, chapter President Rebecca Waldman '16 says, "Our hope is that people will know what we mean when we say 'SVEA' and that we will be better known on campus and in Ashland." Waldman is a psychology major and educationminor. 
A Multi-faceted Drive 
To that end, during the fall semester the SVEA led a multi-month, multi-faceted drive to collect donations for Ashland Christian Emergency Services (ACES), which provides relief to local Ashland families in need. The drive lasted from mid-October to early December in its different phases. "It was great to give back to the local community," says Vice President Sam Davis '16, an art history major and education minor. 

This drive was three-pronged. First, the SVEA put out collection boxes on campus and accepted donations of toiletries. Second, the SVEA held a change drive in freshmen housing to raise money for more toiletry items. 
SVEA Public Relations Coordinator Alyssa Bradley '17 says, "The change drive was very beneficial not only to our service project, but also in letting the campus know that we are an active organization."
The third part of the drive was done in partnership with John Gandy Elementary School (JGES). The Student Council Association at JGES, in partnership with R-MC's SVEA, led a jacket drive to collect coats for donation at ACES.
"We were very excited to partner with a local elementary school, and we are grateful for the help they gave us in reaching our goal," says psychology major and education minor Rachel Monkouski '16, SVEA treasurer.
Community Partnership 
The donation drives were very successful. The SVEA was able to donate 45 coats and jackets collected by JGES students, nearly $100 worth of toiletries with money collected from the change drive, and a large number of toiletry items. All of these items were donated to ACES. The SVEA is very grateful to John Gandy Elementary School for its partnership, and to the Randolph-Macon community for its support.

"SVEA has had an array of successful activities in the past year," says Education Professor Brenda Davis, chair of the Education Department. "The fall donation drive highlighted SVEA’s commitment to the larger community and its mission of supporting teaching as a profession." 
The R-MC Education Department 
With a strong tradition of preparing outstanding teachers, R-MC's education minor is a Virginia Department of Education approved educator preparation program and is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. The teacher preparation program at R-MC creates reflective, passionate educators who are highly qualified in their content areas and in 21st-century teaching skills. Inspired by R-MC's own dedicated teaching faculty, our graduates bring to their own classrooms a commitment to children, youth, families and diversity. 

With the first course in R-MC's teacher preparation program, students are in the community, working with real students and teachers in local school classrooms. R-MC education courses fully integrate classroom and experiential learning, opportunities for collaborative research, civic and global engagement, personalized guidance, and leadership development.

Randolph-Macon College SVEA Fall Semester Donation Drive 


By: Hannah Pencook

Randolph-Macon College’s chapter of the Student Virginia Education Association (SVEA) has been working hard this academic year to raise its profile on campus and to do good in the community, beginning in the holiday season of 2014.

On one of the motivating factors for the increased activity of SVEA, club President Rebecca Waldman said, “Our hope is that people will know what we mean when we say SVEA; that we will be better known on campus.”

To that end, in the fall semester the SVEA led a multi-month, multi-faceted drive to collect donations for Ashland Christian Emergency Services (ACES), which provides relief to local Ashland families in need. The drive lasted from mid-October to early December in its different phases.

“It was great to give back to the local community,” said Vice President Sam Davis.
This drive was three-pronged. Firstly, the SVEA put out collection boxes and accepted donations of toiletries on the R-MC campus. Secondly, the SVEA held a change drive in freshman housing to raise money for more toiletry items.

SVEA Public Relations coordinator Alyssa Bradley said, “I feel like the change drive was very beneficial not only to our service project, but also to letting the campus know that we are an active organization.”

The third part of the drive was done in partnership with John Gandy Elementary School (JGES). The SCA at JGES, in partnership with RMC SVEA, led a jacket drive to collect coats for donation at ACES.

“We were very excited to be partnering with a local elementary school, and we are grateful for all the help they gave us in reaching our goal,” said Rachel Monkouski, SVEA treasurer.
These donation drives were very successful. The SVEA was able to donate 45 coats and jackets collected by JGES students, nearly $100 worth of toiletries with money collected from the change drive, and a large number of toiletry items including soap, hair care products, razors, deodorant, and feminine hygiene products. All of these products were donated to ACES in early December.

The SVEA is very grateful to John Gandy Elementary School for its partnership, and to the Randolph-Macon community for its support.

The SVEA is an organization for future teachers, the student branch of the National Education Association. Here at R-MC, the SVEA hopes to give future teachers opportunities to engage with and give back to the local community as part of teacher preparation.

ODU Holiday Service Committee 

SVEA members from Old Dominion University conducted a community service event at Elephant's Fork Elementary where they read a story to each of the first grade classrooms, donated the book to each first grader, and also raised money to donate hats, coats and gloves to five students. Way to go ODU! Check out this video that explains their project in further detail: 


VSU Degrees Not Debt 

During the Degrees Not Debt Week of Action the Virginia State University Chapter held a pledge drive a collected 138 pledges in all! Great job VSU! For more information on how to hold your own Degrees Not Debt campaign check out the Degrees Not Debt tab on this page! 




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