May 6, 2020

As the last weeks of the spring semester of 2020 unfold, students and faculty in Mayville State University’s teacher education program are winding down to what will be remembered as an eventful semester that afforded many opportunities. 

Early this spring, and prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Cindy Gregg arranged a substitute teaching pilot project with May-Port CG’s Peter Boe, Jr. (PBJ) Elementary School principal Mr. Jeff Houdek. Dr. Gregg and teacher education candidates spent three Fridays at PBJ Elementary in the substitute teaching role, gaining instructional and classroom management skills while also supporting teachers’ time for team or professional development work. 

Teacher candidates agreed this was a valuable experience. One student reported leaving the experience “…full of excitement and enthusiasm for my future as an educator.” Another indicated it was “…beneficial for me as an aspiring educator and for the educators at Peter Boe, Jr. Elementary.”

In early April, the Division of Education completed a three-day virtual accreditation visit by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The national and state site team reviewers met via Zoom web conferencing with multiple stakeholder groups, MSU faculty, and administration.

At the time, MSU was one of few educator preparation programs throughout the nation to have completed the accreditation visit virtually. A virtual visit is allowed by CAEP if the Educator Preparation Program has provided substantial evidence toward meeting CAEP Standards prior to the scheduled visit. Dr. Sarah Anderson, Division of Education accreditation coordinator, provided exceptional leadership and planning for this accreditation visit. The final report for MSU’s seven-year accreditation is expected from the national CAEP headquarters early in the fall.

MSU’s Early Childhood Education students continued their internships in schools and other organizational facilities even with the changes the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the nation. While completing their internships, students supported their communities by providing an essential service, child care. This allowed family members to continue working while early childhood education centers remained open.

Continuing with her national leadership for the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Education (NAECTE), Dr. Kelli Odden is currently assisting with reconfiguring the national NAECTE conference from a face-to-face conference to a virtual conference this June. The virtual platform will allow global participation in sessions dedicated to the latest in early childhood education.

MSU’s student teachers added to school and community support this spring as they continued in their student teaching assignments as much as possible when schools transitioned to online/home instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MSU’s student teachers moved quickly into roles of support for their students and cooperating teachers as they prepared lessons, located online resources, and assisted in everything from instruction to handing out school lunches.

Seeing an opportunity to add to area school and teacher supports, several of MSU’s Division of Education faculty adapted course assignments and MSU students prepared and shared lessons that could be used for online/at home instruction with area teachers.

These are wonderful examples of mutually beneficial school partnerships!

Even though the annual North Dakota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Student Conference and Awards joined the list of the many events cancelled this spring, the Mayville State University Teacher Education program moved forward in naming their outstanding students in teacher education. These awards for MSU education students were presented virtually to recipients via a recorded presentation link. This year’s recipients are McKenzie Groth for secondary math education (an elementary education and secondary math education double major); Elizabeth Klein for early childhood education; and Allison Taylor for elementary education. Congratulations to these exceptional education students!

The Annual Teacher Education Symposium along with the yearly STEM carnival hosted by the Education and Innovation Center were both cancelled this spring, but that has not kept Jeni Peterson, coordinator of the Education and Innovation Center, from moving forward with other outreach activities.

The Education and Innovation Center is partnering with ND EPSCoR to help create a science lesson portal for teachers across the state. Lessons will be developed by area educators and aligned to both state and Next Generation Science Standards. North Dakota teachers will have free access to lesson plans, activities, and resources, as well as email support from the lesson creators. The goal is to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for middle school and high school students. Teacher professional development will be available in mid-May, with lesson plan development throughout the month of June.

The Division of Education continues to plan for program changes and growth. Looking ahead, the Division of Education will have continued planning for a Master of Education degree and an undergraduate degree in applied behavior analysis.

On an annual basis, the Mayville State University Division of Education shares information about the impact of graduates from educator preparation programs with alumni and stakeholders. Every day teachers prepared at MSU leverage rapidly changing learning environments and recognize the possibilities they, as effective educators, bring to maximize learning - they truly are making a difference. Annual reporting outcomes and consumer information is available at