2:01 p.m., May 17, 2010----Students in the Elementary Teacher Education (ETE) program at the University of Delaware now have a new student organization, created specifically for their major.
The Association of Pre-Professional Leaders in Education (APPLE) was designed to help ETE students connect with each other and allow them to grow professionally by meeting and networking with people in the education field.
"The organization is going to form a tighter sense of community with students who are already here, and they will be able to help freshman and transfer students along the way and make them feel more at ease and comfortable with what is going to happen to them in the ETE major," explained junior Erika Pohl, an Honors Program student and the organization's outreach chair.
There are currently 600 students in the ETE program within the School of Education (SOE), with about 150 students in each graduating class.
"It's getting to be a big major. I'm already a sophomore and I feel like I don't know half of the people that are in my same area of study," said Brigid Donlevie, the president of APPLE and also an Honors Program student. "So, one of our goals with this organization is to create a close-knit education group."
Besides holding social events, APPLE is focused on providing outreach and professional development opportunities by connecting current students with alumni and recent graduates and having them meet with education faculty and school district professionals and teachers.
"Meeting and listening to someone who has made it in the education world is amazing," said Donlevie. "They can give you insight and tips that you can't get from a textbook."
Laura Glass, SOE associate director and the group's faculty adviser, says in terms of preparing students to become effective teachers, this organization offers just one more important piece of the professional development puzzle.
"Hundreds of people graduate from the program, and then scatter," she said. "What a great thing to have a group that when you graduate, you can reflect back on that group and make connections with those aspiring educators."
APPLE is an official Registered Student Organization (RSO) and the group says the interest from other ETE students has been overwhelming.
"We were absolutely amazed with the positive response from the ETE students and how many want to get involved," said Glass. "We couldn't have predicted how positive the response was going to be, so we're extremely excited about the group."
While most of APPLE's events won't begin until the fall, the group says they're planning some great activities. Students plan to hold a fashion show called "What Not to Wear: Teacher's Edition," an event which will help students recognize the appropriate attire to wear in a classroom and school.
Students interested in joining APPLE can contact Secretary Katie O'Neill via email at [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Article by Cassandra Kramer