MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

January 18, 2014 

Mayville State to host area teachers for day of professional development


Mayville State University will have the privilege of hosting about 225 area elementary, junior high, and high school teachers, as well as Mayville State teacher candidates, for a professional development day on Monday, Jan. 20, the Martin Luther King Day holiday. Since it is a state and federal holiday, and the students have vacation from school, it is a day when many schools plan professional development activities for their staff members.

The campus ofMayvilleStateUniversitywill be the site of training for teachers from Central Valley, Finley-Sharon, Hatton,Hillsboro, Hope-Page, May-Port CG, and Northwood. These schools are members of the 20-district Red River Valley Education Cooperative (RRVEC), whose faculty will all be involved in professional development activities on Jan. 20.

The RRVEC is part of the eight-region state network comprising the North Dakota Regional Education Association (NDREA). The NDREA was established in the Joint Powers Agreement, established by the North Dakota legislature in June of 2005. It provides school districts with a framework to use a coordinated approach to more efficiently and effectively use existing resources to meet the needs of students, staff, and communities.

Mayville State Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Sarah Anderson is coordinating the Jan. 20 activities atMayvilleState. She is working together with Dr. Nancy Burke of the RRVEC; Paula Pederson, superintendent of Hillsboro Public Schools; and Mike Bradner, superintendent of May-Port CG Public Schools. The purpose of the training is to help the teachers explore ways in which they can adapt their classroom teaching to help meet the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

In June of 2011,North Dakotaadopted the CCSS, and the 2013-2014 school year is the first year of full implementation. To date, 45 states are following the CCSS. Essentially, this plan changes the goals for what students should know and be able to do, which changes how students are supposed to interact with information, i.e., how teachers teach. The focused shifts summarized are greater emphasis in the following areas: deep reading, informational texts, evidence-based work, research skills, speaking and listening, transfer, conceptual knowledge, few topics-more depth, and citizenship. These are not new earth shattering phenomena. In many ways, these goals are “going back to the basics” of good instruction, but with a twist.

During the workshops atMayvilleState, teachers will be grouped according to grade level and/or subject area they teach. Mayville State faculty will lead sessions for each group in the following subject areas: Hypothesis Testing, by Sarah Sletten, assistant professor in science and mathematics and P-16 STEM coordinator; Literacy-Based Lessons, by Dr. Sarah Anderson; Performance Assessment, by Dr. Andi Dulski-Bucholz, assistant professor of education, and Dr. Carol Enger, professor of education and early childhood and chair of the Division of Education and Psychology; Interactive Lecture, by Dr. Aaron Kingsbury, assistant professor of liberal arts; and Meaningful Homework, by Fred Strand, assistant professor of mathematics.

At the end of each session, participants will be asked to record their reflections on the subject, showing how they will be able to incorporate what they learned in the session in their classrooms.

What does this mean forMayvilleState’s current teacher education students? Each will have the opportunity to sit in on the sessions and get a jump-start on what they will need to know when they have earned their degrees and are teaching in their own classrooms. In addition, five of our current students will serve as hosts for the participating faculty groups. We are grateful toMayvilleStatestudents Jacob Allam, Patricia Lopez, Brady Eichelberger, Chrystal Nelson, and Tina Nygard for taking their day off from school to assist with this important day of learning atMayvilleState.

It’s been a while since Mayville has had the opportunity to host a professional development day for practicing teachers. We are thrilled that this door has opened once again and that we are able to renew our tradition of providing resources for teachers and teachers-to-be.