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Welcome to "The Source," an e-newsletter exclusively for Student PSEA members. In each issue, you'll receive the latest updates from your association, advice from veteran educators, professional development offerings, and more to support you as an aspiring educator.

Register now for 2017 Student PSEA Conference and Convention

We are quickly approaching capacity for the 2017 Student PSEA Conference and Convention.

You won't want to miss this opportunity to learn from inspiring speakers, connect with other aspiring educators, showcase your work, transform as a leader, and make a lasting impact with Outreach to Teach.

Some reminders:

  • TODAY is the last day to get the special Student PSEA rate at this year's host hotel - the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh - Green Tree. Book your reservations here.
  • March 24 is the deadline for submissions to the APEX Showcase. Send your submission to
  • Registration forms for the Learning Center Competition must be postmarked by March 24.

Check out Student PSEA President Shelby Pepmeyer's blog at to read her series of posts about this year's conference.



"The quote that changed my life as a teacher is, 'Comics are a gateway drug to literacy,' by Art Spiegelman. And the reality is that reading begets reading. We must remember that we are all teachers of reading and that we want to hook our students in any way possible. Therefore, my advice would be to allow yourself to explore and integrate pop culture: music, art, and new literary forms into your lessons. It will widen your understanding of the topic and allow you to give more of yourself in your classroom. For me, comics and graphic novels have offered a high-interest way to engage my students and to teach many skills at the same time. My students find themselves reading about current and historical events while learning to use textual evidence, summary, prediction, and close reading skills. Your students will thank you."

--Tim Smyth, high school social studies teacher at Wissahickon High School.

Smyth uses comic books to enhance learning in his classroom and help students connect with issues in history. His story will be featured on the March 26 episode of the "Learning Lessons" PCN show. You can also read about Smyth's innovative classroom strategies in the May issue of Voice magazine. Connect with Smyth on his website:

Repeal of ACA will affect our students

As you prepare for your career in education, the tie between politics and public education will become even more evident. We see that today as Congress prepares to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

More than 1.2 million children in Pennsylvania are enrolled in Medicaid. With a repeal of the ACA, Pennsylvania school districts stand to lose $140 million in Medicaid funds that support our neediest students, while forcing cuts to critical school-based health services that our school children rely on.

  • Under the IDEA, school districts are reimbursed for services to Medicaid-eligible students with an IEP or IFSP. Schools would be asked to continue providing services, but with less funding.
  • Mental health care, vision and hearing screenings, diabetes, and asthma management are just some of what school children stand to lose.
  • Students in poverty would suffer most if health care screenings, diagnoses, and treatment services reimbursed by Medicaid would no longer exist in schools.
  • Schools would have to furlough or lay off school personnel who are paid for, in part or entirely, through Medicaid reimbursement.
  • These cuts would negatively impact the ability to deliver critical mental health services for students.

(From Cutting Medicaid: A Prescription to Hurt the Neediest Kids, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, January 2017)

Stay up-to-date on this issue, and others:

  • Watch for Critical Alerts from PSEA and take action
  • Follow PSEA Government Relations on Twitter: @PSEA_GR
  • Sign up for The Insider, the e-newsletter from PSEA dedicated to legislative updates, advocacy reports, and election news.
  • Download the PSEA app.


Kudos to the Penn State University Student PSEA Chapter

The Penn State University Student PSEA Chapter recently raised enough money to endow an award. Through hard work and fundraising, the group will now be able to help a fellow aspiring educator. The chapter has raised money since 2010 to reach the goal of $20,000 to endow the award. Kudos!

Read more below in The Spotlight on PSU's Student PSEA Chapter president, Emily Gibbs. She provides details about the process of endowing the scholarship and tips for other chapters to secure an award for their chapter.


This issue's spotlight is Emily Gibbs, a junior studying elementary education at Penn State University and the PSU Student PSEA Chapter president.

Check out a recent interview with Gibbs to find out more about how her Student PSEA chapter at Penn State University endowed an award for aspiring educators.

Why did you decide to go into the field of education? 
I started my PSU career as a public relations major. I felt a lack of purpose for myself in that major, so I weighed other options. I have always loved children and grew up admiring all my teachers. Children need exceptional role models, and I love knowing that I am going to educate and support future generations. My dad is also a teacher, so now it runs in the family. He always told me that I would love being a teacher, and he was right!

What does it mean to you to be a member of Student PSEA? 
Being a member of Student PSEA means being a member of a loving, supportive, and knowledgeable community. It also means putting the education of children before myself. Furthermore, it means that I have a network of professional development resources, inspiring colleagues, and endless opportunities to volunteer in the community.

Tell us a little about your recent accomplishment - your Student PSEA chapter at Penn State was able to endow an award for other future educators. Explain the process and why you decided to do this. 
We are so excited to have established this scholarship fund! Over the past few years, our chapter has raised money in hopes of solidifying the award. The goal was to reach $20,000. This year, we could fill the last of the money gap through fundraisers and our club's financial account. This endowment recognizes hard work and exceptional contributions. The club's members are underestimated, for they are some of the most encouraging and dedicated people on campus. This reward aims to showcase well-earned accomplishments!

What tips would you have for other chapters that may want to do something similar?
It is beneficial to be familiar with your chapter's financial capabilities. Fundraisers, such as selling apparel, are significant in terms of financial growth. It is also important to remain in close contact with your chapter's advisor, for he or she can be a wonderful resource of information. If your chapter has a goal, there are people willing to help. Don't be afraid to ask for support and guidance!

What are your plans/goals for the future?
As a club, our goals are to award our first recipient this year, which is very exciting! We also hope to provide more volunteer opportunities. Eight members of the club, including myself, visited Houston, Texas, over spring break to observe and volunteer in a couple of school districts. Opportunities such as this enrich the club's reputation and allow for professional growth.

Personally, I look very forward to student teaching this fall in a first-grade classroom in the Bald Eagle Area School District, right outside of State College. I already know that it is going to be a wonderful experience. Once I graduate this coming December, my plan is to search for a teaching position - I am not quite sure where I want to end up yet. I may go back to York, but I am also drawn to moving somewhere down south - I loved Texas and Tennessee! The future holds countless opportunities, and I am beyond thrilled to see where life takes me.

Connect with Student PSEA on social media!

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