With its institutional roots in teacher training, it is no surprise that Fitchburg State University has long had an active and engaged chapter of the international education honor society Kappa Delta Pi. Through the society, future educators engage in projects that benefit children in the community and enhance their own learning through professional development and mentorship.
Each year, the organization recognizes KDP chapters that demonstrate excellence in membership, leadership development, and programming in support of the KDP’s mission and strategic goals with its Achieving Chapter Excellence (or ACE) award.
In 2023, only nine chapters out of 600 chapters nationwide were selected to receive the ACE award. This fall, The Xi Psi Chapter at Fitchburg State was selected out of those nine chapters to receive the Ace of the ACE Award. Although the Xi Psi Chapter has won 10 consecutive ACE Awards, 2023 is the first time the chapter was selected to receive the Ace of the ACE.
“The Xi Psi Chapter at Fitchburg State University has implemented a comprehensive and innovative membership plan that engages a diverse range of students and educators,” said Joe Clemmer, KDP’s Membership Experience Manager for teacher candidates in the Northeast, when he presented the award this fall. “The Chapter hosts a staggering array of programming, all aimed at elevating the profession, or serving others.”
Among the KDP chapter activities recognized were its informational meetings, professional development sessions, alumni engagement and campus outreach events. Also the chapter hosts events that benefit literacy projects in local schools like Dot Day and Read for the Record, and projects that serve the wider community including writing letters to veterans for Veterans Day. The chapter also organized the local Special Olympics games until they were interrupted by the pandemic.
“Most impressively, the chapter has sustained a long term relationship with the Nambale Magnet School in Kenya,” Clemmer said. “This partnership has allowed chapter members to visit the school, provide resources and training to the Nambale teachers, and learn from them in exchange.”
Murray said the collaboration with the school in Kenya has been a rewarding experience for all involved. “One of the reasons we stay so connected is due to the mutual respect we have for each other and the ongoing learning that occurs,” she said. “Teachers at the Nambale Magnet school were often used to visitors sharing their expertise without seeking their knowledge and skills, which are embedded in their culture.”
Erin Maida, a 2023 graduate of Fitchburg State, was delighted to hear about the chapter’s recognition.
“It meant the world to know that our efforts over the past year truly made as big of a difference as we hoped for,” said Maida, who learned about KDP in her first year at Fitchburg State from Professor DeAngelis. “KDP has granted me opportunities throughout my time at Fitchburg State that I will always be grateful for. From elementary classroom visits, to workshopping innovative ideas, to bonding with our new members through pizza and keychain-making parties, KDP has been a significant ingredient to my positive experience at this school.”
Maida was also volunteer coordinator for the chapter during her senior year, an experience she said improved her organization and event preparation skills. “More importantly, I was able to see the immediate effect our KDP members had on the community. We have been generously thanked by the literacy coach at a partnering school, teachers, students, honored receivers of our 300+ Veterans Day thank you cards, and even our own members because of the impact of our accomplishments. I wish the very best for our future members and executive board personnel that continue on this legacy and I am certain that they will serve their community encompassing all values of KDP: excellence, integrity, expertise, diversity, equity and empathy.”