MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

January 16, 2016 edition 

Mayville State to host area teachers for day of professional development


Mayville State University will have the privilege of hosting more than 200 area elementary, junior high, and high school teachers and Mayville State teacher education candidates, for a professional development day on Monday, Jan. 18, 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 event is being sponsored by the Red River Valley Education Cooperative (RRVEC) and Mayville State University and the Mayville Area Teacher Center.

Teachers from Thompson, Hatton, Central Valley, Hope-Page, Finley-Sharon, May-Port CG, Emerado, and Northwood will be participating in the workshops. These schools are members of the 22-district RRVEC, which is part of the eight-region state network comprising the North Dakota Regional Education Association (NDREA). The NDREA provides school districts with a framework to use a coordinated approach to efficient, effective use of existing resources for education throughout the state.

The Mayville Area Teacher Center, coordinated by Donalee Strand and directed by Dr. Andi Dulski-Bucholz, is working with the RRVEC to support the day’s activities, which will include training in mental health and suicide prevention. The North Dakota legislature has required this year that public school teachers be trained in suicide prevention and the professional development opportunities provided on this day will help teachers to meet this new requirement.

The keynote speaker for the day is nationally recognized presenter, author, and humorist Jack Berckemeyer. He began his career as a middle school teacher in Denver, Colo. and quickly rose to recognition as an outstanding educator. Jack brings his energy, humor, and expertise to all staff development as he helps teachers and administrators remember why their jobs make a difference. He is known for his motivating, practical ideas and communicating a message of hope, laughter, and insight into education.

Heidi Schuard from the Mayor’s Community Crisis Coalition (MCCC) of the Mandan/Bismarck area will provide information on the work of her group. The MCCC was founded in 2006 as a result of several tragic suicides in the community. The mission of the coalition is to save lives and reduce suicidal behaviors by providing innovative, practical, and proven suicide prevention training in the West River area. The group believes that quality education empowers all people, regardless of background, to make a positive difference in the life of someone.

Other presenters for this MLK day of in-service include Kim Jacobson, director of Traill County Social Services, who will speak on how to recognize abuse/neglect and steps teachers can take to help. The Griggs Steele Traill (GST) Special Education Unit will have several employees speaking about the North Dakota special education improvement planning goal to improve outcomes of students with behavioral, social, emotional, social communication, and mental health needs. The GST speakers will include Dr. Mary Stamen, director; Dr. Bobbie Uglem, psychologist; Teresa Forseth, coordinator; and Dr. Heidi Jensen, psychologist from Agassiz Associates.

Given our university’s tradition and fine reputation for educating and training educators, we consider the opportunity to host and sponsor this day of professional development a privilege. We look forward to welcoming our friends in education to the campus of Mayville State University, the School of Personal Service, for what we are confident will be a day to learn, as well as to refresh and renew the soul.