A Great Day at Butler Bound

The COE has been excited for several weeks to meet admitted students and their families at the Butler Bound event which was held on Friday, February 22nd.  Despite ice and snow throughout the surrounding area, we had just shy of 100% attendance and met so many amazing students and families on Friday!

The day started at Clowes Hall in the Krannert Room and included at visit to the Butler Lab School and an option to attend the Butler vs. Saint Louis mens basketball game that evening.  Current students, faculty, staff and alumni were all involved in the day and spoke about the COE and the great experiences and education available here.  Our students and alumni did a great job of expressing how the COE feels like “home” and supports students in all their interests and preparation.

3 4 group

We can’t wait to see these admitted students on campus in August as they begin the amazing experience of being a Butler student!  Thanks to all the students and families who braved the weather to be a part of this day, and to all the faculty, students, alumni and staff who spent time preparing and presenting at this event.

Transforming Education- February 2013

The Many Ways to Tell Your Story

Dear Friends,Ena-Shelley12

Last month I challenged you to join me in a New Year’s Resolution to  tell a political leader about your positive, solution-focused experiences in education. It was part of my ongoing encouragement to “tell your story.”

This month I thought it was important to spotlight some of the unique storytelling and solution focused work going on within your College of Education. There are stories being told every day, as you know if you follow us on Facebook and Twitter, but the following highlight a few unique ways in which stories are shared.

Student Eric Day was positive and solution focused long before he ever came to Butler, and we soon recognized how his personal vision is fueling his desire to share his work in a broader way. Using Twitter as his storytelling format, Eric (@positivedayday) does a positive “shout out” to someone every day. When asked about his reason for this level of commitment, he shared:

“The reason I send out a positive shout out each day is to really show the world that not everything in life is negative. I truly hate when people complain about their own problems, because, if we all put our problems into a hat, we would pray to pull out our own. Also, the only disability in life is a negative attitude. Lastly, I feel as we need reflect the positive in all negatives.

The interesting thing about reading Eric’s tweets is that it causes you to refocus your own mind on the people in your life that you are grateful for and what changes you are willing to make. Inspiring. So what are you willing to post on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media that might inspire someone today?

Sometimes stories are best told when we have the opportunity to listen carefully to the voices that most need to tell them. For example, student Shelbi Burnett recently joined several other amazing COE graduate and undergraduate students at the Indianapolis TEDx Youth Conference. After representing the COE at the event, Shelbi shared:

“When we invite students into the discourse on issues or events, we are bringing fresh eyes and a positive attitude to a situation—sometimes what adults consider to be experience can come with baggage. I will argue there is nothing else like the perspective of a student, and, when we begin to value that perspective openly in partnership with the student, we can engage them on a whole new level. What I saw and experienced at the TedX event was the physical realization of this ideal. Students had created a relevant event for their peers, their teachers, other adults, and for them to take part in a dialog together on the theme of balance. At the end of the day it reminded me that a balanced perspective is one that includes all views, and, when we include the perspective of a child as a learner at the heart of what we do, plan, or say in education, we can begin to make progress…”

Shelbi’s perspective about the value of the student voice is incredibly perceptive. We, as professional educators, can rightfully feel slighted when the conversation around education does not value the voice of the teacher. Yet we can model the value of all voices by offering students the chance to be a part of the process.

How can you highlight the student voice in stories that are shared?

Finally, staff member and school counseling student Maggie Power has been hard at work rethinking how we can share more stories in the COE on a daily basis. She has invested hours of work and collaboration with multiple departments to develop a new COE blog site that launches today!

The blog site is a place where we can celebrate the work of students, faculty, staff, and YOU—our alumni and friends of the college. We recognize that many of you are taking us up on our challenge to tell your story, so send us a short blurb and some pictures so that we can share your story as well.

Friends, there are so many ways to tell the stories of teaching, learning, and schools that others need to hear. Your challenge continues to be to find the best way to do the telling and to find the key person who needs to hear.


Until next month,

Dr. Ena Shelley






COE Faculty Hochman & Esteves Awarded Innovation Grant

kelliesteveslg arthurhochman_200

Congratulations to COE faculty Dr. Arthur Hochman and Dr. Kelli Esteves who were awarded $18,000 from the first Innovation Fund grant!  Dr. Hochman and Dr. Esteves are developing an app called “Education Provocation” which will be a professional development tool for practicing teachers.  You can read more about the Innovation Grant and those who were awarded funds in Butler’s newsroom.

We can’t wait to see how the app turns out and are proud of Dr. Hochman and Dr. Esteves for finding new ways to reach and support teachers, schools and kids!

Transforming Education- January 2013

A Resolution to Share Success Stories  Ena-Shelley12

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year!

January is the traditional time for many of us to set New Year’s resolutions.  In fact, you are receiving this late enough in the month that I am guessing at least a few of your resolutions have been broken.

Well, good news, you get a “do over.”  In fact, I am going to ask you to set a new New Year’s resolution with me today.

We hear and read a lot about politics, education reform, and, frankly, a lot of negative press about schools. One of the challenges our political leaders face in making decisions about schools is that they too are only hearing about what is wrong—not what is right or what is possible. So, consider this:

What if you made it your New Year’s Resolution to have at least one solution-focused interaction about schools with a local, state, or national political leader?

I shared with you before the idea about being solution focused, using Asset Based Thinking, but let’s take that this year to a political level.

How many politicians and policymakers do you think actually receive thoughtful communication about what is going well in schools and what else can be done to make schools great? Not many. This makes it difficult for even the most supportive political leader to counter the often dominant discourse about what is wrong without real stories, data, and examples of YOUR successes. So let’s get started:

  1. First, find out who your representatives are at a local, state, and national level. This should also include your local- and state-level school board members. Dig deep here. Once you know who they are, figure out whom you’d like to reach. Also find out who his or her chief of staff is—those are the people who can help make sure your message is seen. Learn about a policymaker’s record, so that, if he or she is proposing or has taken action that truly benefits schools, you can express thanks. A sincere compliment is a great ice breaker.Classroom Connection: Engage your students in this work with you!  How many of them know their representatives?Here are some resources to get you started:

  2. Decide how to make your classroom or school story come to life. This might include:
    • A thoughtful profile of a student success story (maybe one that can’t be measured by traditional data). Of course, student confidentiality needs to be maintained, but what was accomplished can be shared in a way that highlights great teaching and student learning.
    •  Is there a way for student work to be a part of your message? Can representatives see what amazing and passionate persuasive writers your students are becoming by letting them write about an issue?
    • Can you invite a political leader to visit your classroom as part of a project? How many of our policymakers have seen a wonderful classroom in action lately?
    • What is your area of passion in teaching? Can you write a thoughtful letter describing how the work you are doing is impacting the lives of students, and offer solutions on how policy decisions could support your work even more?

When I meet with elected officials, I do all I can to share your stories. The stories that bring classrooms to life beyond the numbers that are published from testing.

What do I hear from these officials in response? “We need to hear more stories like this.” Or, “We hear that teachers want their students evaluated in different ways, but we need to hear teachers talk about how this is being done.” Or, “We want to know that teachers are willing to meet high standards in their work, and how they believe that can best be done.” You are the keepers of these stories that they need and want to hear.

Are you ready to join me in a new resolution? Imagine the change that could happen if elected leaders were suddenly bombarded with stories of success and real solutions.  Imagine how you’d feel if we move the conversation from being frustrated by what is happening, and instead share what can happen.

Let’s shift the momentum to solution-focused change in the New Year.

Until next month,

Dr. Ena Shelley
Dean, College of Education

As a follow up to the November Dean’s Newsletter, the TedX Indy talk, Solutions Within, is now available online. Another example of finding ways to share our stories!

Explore the archives of previous Transforming Education entries.