The Illinois State University College of Education is celebrating American Education Week with a series of events including a lecture by Thomas M. Bloch. Bloch left his job as CEO of H&R Block to teach and establish an inner-city charter school. He will talk about his experience at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 15, in Braden Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

A signing of Bloch’s book Stand for the Best: What I learned after Leaving My Job at H&R Block to Become a Teacher and Founder of an Inner-City Charter School will follow at Barnes and Noble University Bookstore in the Bone Student Center. Bloch will also be available for a Q&A session earlier in the day at 1 p.m. in 551 DeGarmo Hall.

In 1976, Bloch followed his father’s footsteps and joined H&R Block, eventually succeeding him as CEO. To everyone’s shock, he stepped down in 1995 to become a middle school math teacher at an inner city parochial school. Five years later, he co-founded the University Academy, a public charter school in Kansas City, Mo. He continues to teach 7th and 8th grade math at the urban college prep school he helped design and launch. The Academy has grown from 200 students in grades seven through nine in its first year to over 1,000 students in kindergarten through grade 12. The school moved into a new, $40 million facility in 2005, and it became the first school in Missouri to receive a 10-year extension of its charter. Over the last five years, all but two graduates of the Academy have gone on to attend college, an almost unheard of success rate for an urban school.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 16, Teaching in the 21st Century: A Conference on Using Technology to Enhance Classroom Instruction will take place in the Bone Student Center Brown Ballroom. T21Con is an opportunity for education students to interact with classroom teachers who are experts at using educational technology to support 21st century teaching and learning. Expert practitioners will demonstrate how to use technology effectively in the P-12 classroom. All teacher education majors across campus are eligible to participate.