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Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Towards Excellence: Ethics, Values, & the Educator's Toolbox

As a member of Educational Excellence Committee, I had a workshop at the DKG International Convention, Tampere, Finland on 26-29.7.2023, the title of which was: What is Educational Excellence? I had decided to utilize my academic dissertation, called Exploring Ethics, A Philosophical Inquiry into the Education Sector of One Finnish City. Have you seen our committee’s red umbrella on the net as a mark of giving educational tips or the latest EEC news? In this blog I’ll present another umbrella: Ethics under which Values dwell!

And now: towards Excellence! We know about Tesla’s, Porsches, Champagne, and Michelin-stars – such excellent cars, wines, or restaurants! We need not go deeper into their qualities, but how about education? I’ll open my ethical umbrella referring to various researchers (Jyvaskyla studies in education, psychology, and social research 546). According to Hirsjarvi (1985,17) ethics belongs to practical philosophy that deals with theories of good life and correct human actions; it is about studying and clarifying issues of morals. Von Wright (2001, 23) posits that ethics is often called moral philosophy or the theory of morals. Moral questions are mostly questions of good, bad and duty; but not all good is morally relevant, and not every duty is a moral duty. According to Driver (2007, 3) ethical theory, besides guiding our actions, provides the criteria to evaluate actions – i.e., normative ethical theories give us some idea of how we ought to act. Mizzoni’s (2010, 5) formulation describes ethics as a field that looks at ethical and moral ideals that we should have and also examines people’s actual codes of conduct.

After this philosophical umbrella of Ethics, it is time to let Values step forward – not carrying too many theoretical burdens! According to Hurka (2006, 357) ’the theory of value or of the good is one of the two main branches of ethical theory, alongside the theory of the right. Whereas the theory of the right specifies which actions are right and which are wrong, the theory of value says which states of affairs are intrinsically good and which intrinsically evil.’ In exploring value, Robert Audi (2007, 36) refers to the valuable in the sense of what is good in itself – commonly called intrinsically good or intrinsically desirable. Audi goes on (p. 37): ’If something is good or desirable as a means or as an instrument to bring about something else, it is instrumentally good.’ Besides intrinsic and instrumental value, Audi (ibid pp. 37-39) brings forth another distinction: that of value and valuing. Value as a kind of worth, or what is intrinsically valuable, belongs to normative ethics and provides standards indicating what we should do. The notion of valuing is psychological, and rather describes than prescribes: ’If we value, for its own sake, what is not intrinsically good – money, domination, weapons – we are in error.’ If this paragraph sounds too normative, let’s introduce Ronnow-Rasmussen (2011, 1) who adds another value definition: personal value. When tidying his desk, he found a small poem written by his daughter years ago. He could not throw it away – it had some value for him. There is a distinction between value and value-for: a distinction between impersonal and personal value; (ibid pp. 55-56) there is an attitudinal rather than normative element when personal value is defined – a ’for-someone’s-sake’ (FSS) attitude is directed towards objects of personal value.

This blog has made an educator’s toolbox quite heavy with theories. Now it will even be strengthened by a practical input from Finnish schoolworld. The question: ’Ethics – what is it?’ was presented to 11 principals and 74 teachers.The overall atmosphere of their responses was practical: ’a need for ethics in everyday situations or for providing direction in today’s world’; ’how to meet and treat a student’; ’using correct language’; ’it clarifies values in collaboration’; ’it provides more education about human relationships’; ’worrying about ethics being forgotten among economic problems’. Moreover, what became of extreme importance was an interest in learning more about ethics and morals.

The Values data provided by the informants was derived from their answers to questions regarding their personal values. Depending on the questionnaire, the questions were posed using the following wording: 1. Values? 2. What are your values? 3. How would you describe your own values? 4. What values are important to you? The respondents included 2 superintendents, 10 principals, 75 teachers and 5 school secretaries. The following table presents the identified conceptions of values; together with it and my Ethical umbrella I hope I found a few elements for an EXCELLENT teacher’s toolbox.

 Respect for others 44

  1. Fairness, justice 30
  2. Work 29
  3. Honesty 27
  4. Home, religion, fatherland 15
  5. Candour 12
  6. Nature, environment 6
  7. Trust 6
  8. Self-esteem 6
  9. Tolerance 6
  10. Empathy 5
  11. Goodness 5
  12. Safety 4
  13. Rules 4
  14. Leisure, culture 4
  15. Truth 3
  16. Optimism 3
  17. Responsibility 3
  18. ‘An ordinary person’s good life’ 2
  19. Mental development 2
  20. Beauty 2
  21. Courage 2
  22. Resilience 2
  23. Humour 2
  24. Emotional intelligence 1
  25. Creativeness 1

Total: 226 expressions

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

So, Here’s the Scoop on Attendance

Remember getting a perfect attendance medal at school? Attendance was stressed by teachers throughout most of our academic years. Little did we know that school districts were paid per pupil based on their attendance but still it was important to be at school so that we could learn what was being taught.

Recently when speaking to a member as to why she left DKG she explained that she had missed several meetings and was told she needed to drop her membership due to her chapter’s attendance policy. Attendance policy? Let us be clear - DKG does NOT have an attendance policy.

Attendance is important. It allows members to be active participants in their chapters.

  •         Attendance keeps members informed.
  • Attendance makes conducting chapter business easier.
  • Attendance keeps project ideas flowing and completed.
  • Attendance helps members stay in touch with each other.
  • Attendance supports Conferences.
  • Attendance allows members to vote at Conventions.

Most importantly attendance should not be used as intolerance. If members are missing meetings, find out why. Perhaps they have been ill, taking care of a loved one, or have extra responsibilities at work. Let the member know she is missed and cared about. Life happens to all of us at some point. If members are kept up with through phone calls, cards, or emails, they will return when their life settles down. Another reason they could be missing meetings is because of meeting times or days. If attendance is a concern to the chapter, the chapter can discuss and address the issue. Holding hybrid meetings allows more members to participate.

Finding out that your members genuinely care for you goes a long way. After all isn’t that what our first purpose is all about?

“Improving our Nation’s Mental Health Service Systems”

We are delighted to announce that, as part of the National Legislative Seminar on Monday March 11, 2024, and in keeping with our focus on mental health needs of our members and their students, that Dr. Anita Everett, M.D. Director of the Center for Mental Health Services will be a special guest speaker.  She will speak to us from 2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. that day. Her topic will be “Improving our Nation’s Mental Health Service Systems.”

This is a topic of serious concern for all of us.

Dr. Anita Everett is the Director of the Center for Mental Health Services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency, which is an agency under the authority of the

Federal Health and Human Services Agency.

In this role she provides executive leadership for federal efforts to improve the nation’s mental health service systems. Before joining the staff of SAMHSA, she worked at The Johns Hopkins Bayview Community and General Psychiatry Center in Maryland, where she directed 22 community psychology programs that provided a range of services to individuals from preschool age to older adults, including recovery support services for persons with serious mental illnesses.  She also served as a member of the faculty at the Bloomberg School of Health and John Hopkins University. From 1999 to 2003, she was the Inspector General to the Office of the Governor in the Department of Mental Health in Virginia. She also has experience working on international projects in Iraq and Afghanistan on the implementation of mental health services in these countries.

Her insight will be very beneficial for all of us.

National Legislative Seminar - March 10-13, 2024

Register here.  

Monday, December 18, 2023

Scholarships - Transforming Lives One Member at a Time

Is pursuing an advanced degree worth the investment of time, money, and effort? If your answer is “yes,” the Delta Kappa Gamma International Educators Foundation (DKGIEF) is here to help. Each year, the Foundation awards as many as 31 scholarships to members pursuing advanced degrees. The DKGIEF Scholarship Committee awards $10,000 to qualifying members pursuing a doctorate degree and $6,000 to qualifying members pursuing an advanced degree.

An advanced degree can transform your personal and professional life. Graduate students learn to think deeply, ask questions, become problem solvers, and gain self-confidence. You develop a strong network of professional relationships that may bring new career opportunities. As an educator, your transformation will affect how you interact with your students and the lessons you teach. Much like toppling dominos, this leads to changes in the school, the community, and the world.

The 2024 International Scholarship Application is available online. The application is relevant and user-friendly for all DKG member countries. Begin your application now!

     Sign in on the DKG website

     Select My DKG → Apply/Submit

     Scroll down to Scholarship Application

     Review the applicant requirements

     Complete and submit the application and required supporting documents

The next scholarship application deadline is February 1, 2024.

Scholarships are awarded from the DKGIEF Scholarship Fund, which is solely supported by member donations and bequests. Contributions can be made on the DKGIEF webpage. Go to Scholarship - Donate or the DKGIEF Donate page for various donation options.

The Society has awarded over 5.5 million dollars to 1,194 members since 1940. With your help, DKGIEF scholarships will continue to support women educators and transform the lives of our members!

DKG Art Gallery Spotlight - Bring out the camera

Marilyn Gregory - EPSILON Kappa Chapter - Texas

Marilyn Gregory, past Texas State President, is an avid photographer. She and her husband, “Spark” travel on adventures for fun and photography. She is a member of Epsilon Kappa Chapter, Texas.

Marilyn was a kindergarten teacher in the Austin, Texas area for 36 years then observed first year teachers for certification for 13 years, totaling 49 years in education. When asked how she got into photography, Marilyn stated, “During my time as a classroom teacher, I enjoyed documenting special events that were happening in my classroom as well as school events. I wanted the students to have something to remember their school year so for over 20 years, I made a Keepsake Memory Book for each student with photos of them involved in the activities. Most years the books were about 30 pages and were my gift to the students at the end of the school year. When I first joined Epsilon Kappa Chapter in 1984, our chapter had over 80 members. It was difficult for me to remember everyone’s name, so I made a Pictorial Directory with their photo and information about them for each chapter member.”

Marilyn followed her father’s footsteps in her love of photography. She recalled him taking photos of family with a simple box camera and later purchasing a Cannon to start her on the photography journey, all part of her inspiration. She has shared the photography bug for years with her husband. Now she has several cameras.

Marilyn and Spark have attended Photography Road Scholars to learn more about quality, lighting, spacing of photos as well as parts of our cameras. Marilyn and Spark has been to Yosemite National Park, Canada, Pickens South Carolina, and Ashville North Carolina. “We always take our cameras on our trips.” explained Marilyn. They have also been to the Panama Canal, up the west coast, Niagara Falls, Colorado, Northern California, Key West Florida, the east coast for fall foliage, to Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire for covered bridges, Fairbanks, Alaska for the northern lights, and several Hawaiian Islands and many more trips.

On a recent trip to Alaska, the cameras were hard at work. Marilyn found a large brown bear from a safe distance.

What camera equipment do you use? I use a Nikon D7100 with an 18-140mm lens and a Lumix by Panasonic DC-FZ80 with 20-1200 lens. (This Lumix was a replacement to the Nikon that I have been using after it broke last year, and the Nikon was not available.)

What advice would you offer someone interested in photography? Learn about your camera and what it can do from an expert or someone that knows your camera, read the manual and try different settings, then practice, practice and practice. We love looking back over different trips with our photos and I even like to submit photos for others to enjoy.

How does the value of the arts impact education? Often, I used photos in my classroom when I explained different parts of the lesson like when studying specific animals. I also had old cameras in the classroom for students to enjoy taking photos of their classmates. Many students and adults find that the arts are their time to relax and express themselves. How do you know if you like painting, doing crafts or even photography unless you try.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share about yourself or your DKG Journey? I hope to enjoy photography as well as other forms of art for years to come. It is relaxing and rewarding for me to share my talents with others. For the past 23 years I have enjoyed making over 250 angels each year to give to DKG members and friends and each year I design a different angel. Texas DKG has a retreat called STAR, Spectacular Texas Art Retreat, and I often teach to other members how to make my angels.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Communications & Marketing Committee: Facebook for Marketing & Communication

Have you ever searched for Delta Kappa Gamma on Facebook and been confused by the number of results that come up? When you do a search, you will see many suggestions including profiles, pages, and groups.

Profiles are usually where one goes to find friends. 

Pages are designed for businesses, organizations, nonprofits, etc. Delta Kappa Gamma has an official Facebook nonprofit page. This page has the red rose logo as a profile picture. The staff at headquarters are responsible for posting approved content to the page. Individuals can connect and engage by commenting on the posts but cannot initiate a post. Other pages you discover should be State Organizations and Chapters and should be clearly labeled as such. Chapters and states should be using pages to market DKG.

Groups are a place to connect, learn and share with people who have similar interests. You can create or join a group for anything — teaching, doodle lovers, VIP groups, church groups, etc. — with people across the world or just your neighborhood. Groups can be public or private. Many states, chapters, and individuals have set up DKG groups. What is good about groups? It gives our members a voice. It’s a place for individuals to share ideas or information or ask questions. Groups are a place members should use to communicate.

Considerations for states, chapters, and individuals to consider:

·      Does your page or group name include the organization, state, and chapter name? This makes it easier for members to find the page they are interested in and cuts down on confusion. For example, a group called DKG Omega Psi does not show people searching what state the page or group is located in.

·       Remember pages are public and can be viewed by anyone in the world. Pages should be used as a means of sharing positive things that are happening in your organization and promoting DKG. Pages are a marketing tool. Only a few members should be editors of your page.  Encourage others to like, love, comment, and share posts so your page is more visible to current members and prospects.

·      Groups can be public or private. It is highly recommended that your group is private. Groups are not a platform where we are publicizing or recruiting. They should be a place where members only share with each other. We do not want anyone joining our groups and spamming members. Nor do we want nonmembers joining and learning confidential information about our members. Individuals who are not members do not need to know when meetings are canceled, a member has passed away, or that a member is sick and we need to start a meal train. Remember, use groups for communicating with members.

Facebook is a useful tool for communicating and marketing with our members and the community. Let’s make sure we use it the way it is intended.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Art All Around Us!

Heidi Ragsdale, Alpha Mu, Colorado

Welcome to Fall, a great time to put on a sweater and make some cider from the orchard down the road. Fall’s also a fantastic time for artistry with friends!! This time with other women in your life can make for a grand adventure with super positive energy, that we all crave and need in our lives beyond the classroom! 

I have found that crafting and making beautiful things with other women helps to serve as a reset for my soul, and so much so, that I am writing a blog about it!  Here, I will share some ideas to get your artistic energy flowing, right from within a DKG Chapter.

Perhaps in your Delta Kappa Gamma chapter you have that one gal who has bags and boxes and a never-ending supply of fun items to use for arts and crafts.  Well let’s look to her and other members for supplies and lean in for guidance to make beautiful creations.

Look for the Yolandas, the incredibly inspiring fabric and quilt artists, who can guide you with whip-stitching or how to make felted wool, which can then be made into a small sachet or coin purse. Those quilters inspire others with generous donations to hospitalized persons and cancer patients.

Search for a designer decorator like Elizabeth, who teaches you to be an elegant and artistic host for your Founder’s Day. What she helps you learn is that art and beauty can be found in some of the best spots, including on vinyl cutting. 

If your chapter member has an Ann, who showcases her beautiful sustainable yard, you grab your camera and snap the super in-focus bee, chicken, or foliage photos! You might even capture a photo of her many canned items that will likely be up for sale at the upcoming scholarship auction.

You may have a chapter member, Kelly, who shares her love of designing beautiful meal art,  which may be worthy of inclusion in a local magazine. This published artistry is worthy of sharing with many more women.

Ask your dual language school educator to read her most recent poem or story in her beautiful first language. Have her tell you about her students learning in two languages and encourage her to share her stories of the art, culture and history of her country.

Look and listen closely and perhaps there is a Therese who can share creative art and baking strategies of her incredible handmade celebration cakes. Don’t forget to snap a picture of your cake creation, then lick the bowl. 

Find your science teacher members and ask which night sky, satellite image, or mission  by which they are most  inspired. Ask to see their latest painting or mixed-media art piece of which they are creating.

Perhaps ask one of your chapter’s master yoga instructors to share the artistic colors of auras. Then sit in that moment to create colorful art on a pallet of your choice.

Look to your members who share beautiful cultural meals. Take pictures and  inspire others to find their inner chef or baker.

During meetings share photos of places visited, activities with family, your favorite landscapes, seascapes, and plans for next trips. But don’t limit yourself to just photos. Paint, sew, or write about what inspires you from these experiences. 

As a chapter, encourage each other in the arts, and to members who may say, “But I am not an artist”. share the ideas you have just read about. Ask your chapter members for support because they might just be the inspiration you need for your artistry, or ability to become a potter, a fabric artist or to write poetry, stories, or music. If you need more Inspiration, check out: 

Finally, how do you synthesize all these ideas, photos, pictures of bees and gardens and felted wool and the poems that hit your soul? Well by golly, you head over to the DKG Arts and Humanities Art Gallery, and you share your works with the entirety of members worldwide. Other members may inspire you and you may inspire others to see Art All Around Us! 



Resources on the International Website

Membership resources are located on the International website ( to provide information to membership chairs, chapters and individual members.  These resources can be used at chapter meeting or when doing orientations for new members.

What membership resources are located under the Resources tab?

Under Resources go to the Membership tab and you will find:

Membership Training:  Information about being the membership chair and attracting new members is listed in this section.

Membership Plan:  A plan with explicit instructions and forms telling how chapters have been successful in having a group of prospective members join DKG is included. 

New Members:  A new member kit is available which can be downloaded for free.  Many reorientation videos that can be shown at chapter meetings are included here.  The Pride in the Picture PowerPoint can be downloaded and personalized for chapters to show at orientations for new members.  The Journey for Life brochure to give to prospective members can be downloaded here.

Reinstating Members (Annie Calling):  Annie Calling, a process for reinstating members that have dropped their membership is included here.  This was developed by the Texas State Organization. 

Where can I find a list of the benefits of DKG membership?

Go to the About tab and click on Benefits.

Where can I find information to help chapter leaders?

Under the Publications/Documents tab, the downloadable Handbook of The DKG
Society International
has an officers section starting on page 22.

Where can I find the location of a DKG chapter for a member that has moved to a different location?

Go to the About tab and click on Chapter Locator. 

Where can I hear the Podcasts from the International Membership and Expansion Committee?

Go to Resources and then go to DKGSI Podcasts.  These podcasts are about 15-25 minutes and length and currently include Who Qualifies for Membership, Retaining Members, Reinstating Members, and Climate and Culture.

Where can I find the blogs written by the International Membership and Expansion Committee?

Go to DKGIEF and click on blogs and then click on the name of the committee. Membership blogs include: Chapter Culture and Structure, Aids in Member Recruitment and Retention, Will Your Members Continue in Your Chapter, DKG Myths, Who Qualifies for Membership, Retaining Your Members:  Helpful Hints for Dues Collection, Member Spotlight, Chapter Project Spotlight, and Engaging and Retaining Members Through Mentoring.


We hope these resources will be helpful to members, chapters, and state organizations as they work to recruit, retain, and reinstate members.

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