GP Speaker Series

Join us for the second speaker in our

2015 Geisler Penquite Speaker Series



Rick Wormeli      September 23rd, 2015

One of the first Nationally Board Certified teachers in America, Rick brings innovation, energy, validity and high standards to both presentations and his instructional practice, which includes 33 years teaching math, science, English, physical education, health, and history and coaching teachers and principals. Rick’s work has been reported in numerous media, including ABC’s “Good Morning America”, “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” National Geographic and Good Housekeeping magazines, What Matters Most: Teaching for the 21st Century, and the Washington Post. He is a columnist for Middle Ground magazine and a frequent contributor to ASCD’s Education Leadership magazine.  He is author of the award winning book, Meet Me in the Middle, as well as numerous other best-selling books in the field of education.

Standards-Based Grading: Myth-busting, Ethics, and Practicality

 9:00 -11:30 a.m.

Some parents, colleagues, school board members, and business leaders struggle with what is and is not standards-based grading. Teachers and leaders using standards-based grading are facing some ‘pushback’ from those with little background in it. As a result they are backing away from something unusually effective in teaching and learning. Whatever they are, current grading practices create very real futures; they better be accurate and ethical. Many traditional grading practices, unfortunately, are neither. This address presents the essential elements of standards-based grading, including its merits, potential pitfalls, and candid responses to the most common concerns regarding its use. Vetted by decades of work in the U.S. and around the world, we’ll correct the misconceptions and make a compelling case for standards-based grading.

Cultivating Resilience and ‘Stick-to-itiveness’ in Students

1:00 – 3:30 p.m.

Tenacity is a virtue, but the personal fortitude to stick with an arduous task takes time and experience to mature. Many students grow impatient with content not parsed into sound-bytes, and reading extended, logical rhetoric through each argument to its ultimate conclusion is almost unheard of. On the other hand, If the story is good, students will read books of over 700 pages. They play on-line games working their way through 12 levels of difficulty for six hours, and they stay after school into the evening to practice for theater productions, get ready for sports tournaments, and conduct fun science experiments for the public. Join us for a compelling session on how to help students find the reserves to stick with projects and tasks, be they physical or intellectual. We’ll look at elements in three areas: interpersonal relationships, lesson design, and assessment/grading, that cultivate resilience in students. There is no such thing as laziness; our students want to do demanding, complex learning, they want to persevere! To this, our students aspire; with this, our world was built. In our classrooms right now, there is an eager William Wilberforce, Malala Yousafzai, and younger versions of J.K. Rowling and Theodore Seuss Geisel (both turned down repeatedly for their manuscripts) looking for inspiration. This generation is more than ready for what it takes to make the world their own. Let’s light this rocket!



 Rick Wormeli Event



The Geisler Penquite Foundation provides a yearly Education Excellence Fund to the Education Department at Central College. The endowment will be used to enhance educational opportunities in teacher preparation and performance. One area of focus with this funding has been the Annual GP Speaker Series which allows students, local educators and faculty to network with elite professionals in the field.

This year we welcomed four speakers to campus to engage pre-service teachers, in-service teachers and other students and community members.

Our first GP Speaker, Penni Bowers, welcomed participants into a half day workshop on using “Basic Sign Language in the Classroom”. Penni served as a sign language interpreter in public schools and led participants in learning to sign as well as understanding the dynamics of having a student with a hearing impairment in the classroom.

Dr. Teske Drake joined campus on Monday evening, March 3rd to tackle a relevant but difficult topic for current and future educators. In her workshop, “Practical Strategies for Helping Grieving Students” Dr. Drake provided participants with authentic scenarios they might face in the classroom surrounding grief and loss and provided immediate strategies to help support students struggling with death and loss in their lives.

On Wednesday, March 26th   Mike Bevelacqua engaged students in methods of teaching math through his presentation entitled,  “Using TI NSpire Techology to Engage Students in Learning Math” Mike  currently teaches in Iowa City Public Schools at City High. He conducts workshops for practicing and future teachers on incorporating TI NSpire in middle and secondary classrooms to engage and motivate students to learn math. Mike  shared methods he currently uses in his teaching as well as his experiences in working with students and teachers in the area of math instruction.

Saturday, April 5th, Central alum, Cindra Porter provided   “Practical Teaching Methods with English Learners” Cindra is a doctoral candidate in Foreign Language and ESL Education at The University of Iowa. Cindra has ten years ESL teaching experience and has taught courses for pre-service ESL teachers. Cindra currently works as an ESL teacher for Des Moines Public Schools. This engaging workshop provided participants with practical methods for reaching and engaging English learners in the classroom.

Due to the generous donations from the Geisler Penquite Foundation, all workshops were free and open to the public and almost 200 people participating in the varying workshops.


In the inaugural year, the Excellence Fund committee brought Dr.’s Harry and Rosemary Wong to campus to speak. The duo delivered a presentation titled “How to be a Successful and Effective Teacher,” to over 500 people from across the state of Iowa and beyond. The event highlighted the Wongs’ acclaimed theories on classroom management and student success as well as their book, “The First Days of School,” which is the highest-selling book ever in education, with more than 3.6 million copies sold worldwide.

Drs. Harry and Rosemary Wong with 2011Penguite Scholar, Nathan Wall

In its second year, the Education Excellence Fund hosted Dr. Scott McLeod an internationally known expert on technology in education. Dr. McLeod presented four workshops to the college campus and community, engaging over 200 educators, administrators and students in a day of learning and critical thinking.

Participants enjoying the Scott McLeod event
Participants enjoying the Scott McLeod event


Central Education Students Engaging in the Scott McLeod Event
Central Education Students Engaging in the Scott McLeod Event


GP Scholar Nathan Wall chatting with a fellow student
GP Scholar Nathan Wall chatting with a fellow student