MSU President’s Column for Traill County Tribune

February 28, 2015

Visiting scholar will deliver valuable information to MSU faculty, future teachers, and area in-service teachers


Mayville State University was the recipient of a competitive grant from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction in January. The Higher Education/Teacher Preparation Grant is providing Mayville State University with funding to deliver professional development opportunities with regard to the Common Core State Standards as defined by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center).

According to the Common Core State Standards website hosted and maintained by the CCSO and the NGA Center, the Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a K-12 student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The standards were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live. North Dakota is among 43 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity, all of which have voluntarily adopted and are moving forward with the Common Core.

Common Core State Standards influence school and college policies, curriculum, and teacher preparation programs as future educators will need to have a solid grasp on the North Dakota State Standards (NDSS) and be equipped with effective strategies to support teaching for optimal student achievement outcomes in learning. To support this effort in preparing MSU teacher candidates to work with the NDSS, Dr. Jennifer Beasley will bring her expertise to the Mayville State University. 

Dr. Jennifer Beasley is a faculty member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), and faculty member at the University of Arkansas. She has more than 25 years of experience in education as an elementary school teacher, gifted facilitator, and university professor. After receiving a master's degree in education administration and gifted education, Beasley completed her doctoral work in educational psychology at the University of Virginia. She is currently an assistant professor in curriculum and instruction at the University of Arkansas. Dr. Beasley specializes in gifted education, differentiation, professional development, and the integration of the Common Core State Standards. Dr. Beasley will be modeling the role of the instructional coach to teacher candidates in the classroom and serving as a guest lecturer on campus. Faculty members from elementary education, secondary education, early childhood education and special education programs will be working with Dr. Beasley in their classrooms to support MSU teacher candidates’ understanding and work with CCSS. Instructional sessions will support continued growth and development in teacher candidate dispositions, specifically those related to continued professional development.

Dr. Beasley will also lead brown bag luncheon presentations for all Mayville State faculty on Monday, March 2 and Tuesday, March 3 from 12:00 noon to 12:50 p.m. in classroom 118 of the MSU education building. The presentation topic for the luncheons is “Common Core: How does it Impact Higher Education?” This is a worthwhile topic for faculty in higher education to explore as the nationwide focus on college and career readiness increases.

The Mayville Area Teacher Center will also be involved in the grant implementation and work with Dr. Beasley as the Center will be used to support pre-service and in-service students and teachers, offering a professional development opportunity on methods of implementing Common Core State Standards in the classroom.

Dr. Beasley’s expertise will be shared with all area educators as she leads an evening professional development session for teachers and pre-service teachers free of charge on Monday, March 2, 2015 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Dr. Beasley’s session, titled “Using North Dakota State Standards as Building Blocks for Meaningful Instruction,” will be presented in room 118 of the Mayville State University education building.  Area educators will have an opportunity to earn a continuing education credit by participating in the evening session.

Mayville State’s founding mission of educating teachers continues to be extremely important today. It is our privilege to have the opportunity to not only educate future teachers in topics that will be critical in their careers, but also to assist in-service teachers as they work with the students who are the future leaders of our state and country.