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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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November, 2016

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iStockAVID Professional Learning Grows

Laura Bemel-Interim Director, Center for Educator Partnership and Student Success

Faculty and students in the College of Education continue to explore how our engagement with AVID Teacher Preparation Initiative enhances confidence and skills for teacher candidates. Students in the Graduate Teacher Licensure (GTL) program are experiencing a series of professional learning with national trainers this academic year. Dr. Teresa Kruizenga coordinated learning with trainers Kristi Gerdes (Oct. 29 WICOR framework), Dr. Rachel Juarez-Torres (Nov. 5 culturally relevant teaching), Jonathan Grant-Brown (Jan. 28 Socratic Seminar and Cornell notes), and Beth Parker (Apr. 8 Culture of Inquiry). GTL student and English teaching assistant describes the impact as a past participant of AVID professional learning: “Whenever I work in education, whether it is as an AVID tutor at the middle school, as a parent working with a child's homework, or in a freshmen composition course, I am trying to push the students towards critical thinking and responsibility for their own education...AVID provides a certain structure that supports both the students and the educator. I have now been in the classroom of 5 different AVID teachers in middle schools and high schools, and have seen 5 different approaches to it. AVID does not reduce the teacher's ability to teach in a manner that suits them as a teacher. Instead, there is a solid balance of support and flexibility to allow growth for both educators and students.”

Contact Laura Bemel for more information about how to participate in AVID professional learning as part of the Teacher Preparation Initiative.


iStockSpecial Education News

Dr. Alex Panahon, department chair

We are excited to share that Dr. Aaron Deris & Dr. Teri Wallace were awarded a $1.06 million grant from the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs to fund up to 50 new early childhood special education teachers. The five-year project is funded through Personnel Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance 84.325K), Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education, grant #H325K160048. The teacher preparation will be conducted through “Project PREP: Preparing Early Childhood Practitioners using evidenced-based practices.” Project PREP will partner with Mankato Area Public Schools, Bloomington Public Schools, and St. Paul Public Schools for field placements and student teaching, as well as to support seminars, which will include practicing teachers. In addition, a mentoring website, video observations and support system will be provided to ensure graduates are supported in their development.

In addition, the Department has entered into an exciting new partnership with St. Peter Schools-Project TEAM (Teamwork Enhances Application Meaningfully). Drs. Dana Wagner, Kiersten Hensley, and Kyena Cornelius worked closely with teachers in St. Peter to develop this new experience for our students. This innovative field experience is designed meet four main goals.

(1) To build pre-service teachers’ knowledge and skills in math and reading. intervention delivery, progress monitoring, and data based decision making.
(2) To build pre-service teachers’ knowledge and skills in communication and collaboration with peers
(3) To improve the math and reading outcomes of students in grades K-2
(4) To strengthen the University-School partnership between MSU Mankato and St. Peter Public Schools

All Block IV students in the ABS program participated in the field experience. After faculty and staff from St. Peter identified students in need of intervention, our students worked in pairs to develop and implement interventions in both reading and math. Pre-service teachers worked with students 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week throughout the semester. MSU faculty were on site regularly to support our field placement students. At the end of the semester, pre-service teachers prepared progress reports for each student, and shared that information with each student’s teacher. Students will also give presentations of their experiences at a symposium here at MSU in early December.

iStockMACTE Update

Dr. Kitty Foord, Faculty member in K-12 and Secondary Programs

The Minnesota Association for Colleges of Teacher Education (MACTE) is an important professional organization that provides communication, advocacy, and professional growth for all 31 teacher preparation institutions in Minnesota. The organization is recognized as one of the leading chapters by the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) our parent organization.

In addition to their constant communication with the MN Board of Teaching, MN Department of Education, MN State Legislators, and various other stakeholders on our behalf, MACTE hosts three important professional meetings each year in which you may participate. These meetings involve one day of business and one day of conference.

The Fall Meeting/Conference just concluded and was packed with important information and learning!

During the business meeting there was discussion and news from the MN Board of Teaching and MN Department of Education, covering teacher education issues and policy discussions, as well as MACTE business. Updates on NES testing, PERCA, EPPAS, and state proposals for program assessments were provided. The latest news on state legislation and responses to the Office of the Legislative Auditor’s report on Teacher Licensing was discussed. Information about the effects of new federal legislation was also provided. These meetings keep ups up to date on new policies and potential legislative agendas.

This year MACTE has chosen a theme for all conferences: Engaging All Voices: The Power of Professional Community. In congruence with MACTE’s mission, “bringing together schools, colleges and departments of education to provide leadership in the preparation of highly qualified professional educators” the Fall Conference included three strands for MN teacher education programs to share “best” or “promising” practices., Faculty/administrators from MN institutions presented on topics related to Diversity, Program Effectiveness & Quality, and Technology. Presentations within these three strands shared practices regarding:

  • Increasing teachers of color and American Indians
  • Working with racially and ethnically diverse students
  • Personalizing diversity activities
  • Piloting yearlong student teaching
  • Engaging stakeholders in data analysis to measure program effectiveness
  • Evaluating assessment instruments utilizing CAEP’s assessment rubric
  • Developing viable measures of beginning teacher effectiveness
  • Integrating the iPad in K-12 classrooms
  • Creating collaborative learning experiences in online courses

Winter 2017
Feb 9 Business Meeting
Feb 10 Conference

Spring 2017

April 6 Business Meeting
April 7 Conference

Join the hundreds of educators from across Minnesota who not only assure excellence in teacher preparation, but assure excellence in professional growth and community. Leadership opportunities to serve this amazing organization are also a wonderful way to provide service while you grow professionally and you can contact Dean Haar or Kitty Foord to find out more about MACTE.


iStockEEC Department: Pathways and Partnerships

Dr. Karl Matz, faculty member in Elementary and Early Childhood

Dr. Beth Beschorner has been hard at work on a new collaboration with Robbinsdale Community Schools. This collaboration provides teacher candidates with a high-quality field experience that aims to prepare them to teach in racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse settings. Teacher candidates in Block One are currently completing their field experience in a primary grade classroom at either Sonnesyn or Meadow Lake Elementary School. Additionally, teacher candidates have received professional development and have attended some course meetings onsite.

Drs. Peg Ballard and Steve Reuter are serving as representatives to the Minnesota State Transfer Pathway Team. Dr. Ballard is a member and co-chair of the Elementary Education TPT. Dr. Reuter is a member of the Early Childhood Education TPT. TPT members are charged with developing a statewide pathway that allows students to transfer the full Associates Degree in the student's respective field of study into a designated baccalaureate degree program offered at a Minnesota State University. TPT meetings are held once every two weeks at different Minnesota State campuses. The final TPT version for each program will be completed by February 5, 2017.

iStockUpdates from Educational Leadership

Dr. Candace Raskin, department chair

Meet New Faculty in the Department of Educational Leadership

Jinger Gustafson. Ed.D.


A seasoned public education leader with a collaborative style, Gustafson has served as a classroom teacher, building administrator and associate superintendent. Her experience has helped her prioritize resources when dealing with issues—making sure resources of time and effort are expended on the most valuable entities. “In whatever role I have served, there have been commonalities and necessities: people, process, protocols, procedures, policy, and product,” said Gustafson. “On this list, people come first; and the first people are students.”

Gustafson appreciates the talent and dedication of the faculty at Minnesota State Mankato and looks forward to contributing to the common goal. “I am very grateful to be able to work with extremely talented people, in both the Department of Educational Leadership and the College of Education,” she said. “As I enter a new phase in my career, I view this opportunity as a way influence future leaders, specifically, women and people of color, in E-14 education.”

Bernadeia Johnson Ed. D.


After spending many years in Pre-K12 leadership positions—5 as superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools—Johnson was interested in staying connected to organizations and institutions focused on education as a common good. “Using my PreK-12 experience to help prepare the next generation of leaders was really important to me,” she said. “However, not any institution of higher learning would do.”

Johnson wanted to work with courageous leaders who "get it" and demonstrate a deep commitment to changing outcomes for Minnesota students. She found that at Minnesota State Mankato. “The College of Education and the Department of Educational Leadership provides an amazing environment for me to continue to grow and develop my own leadership and to pass on the torch to others whose values are aligned to the needs of today’s children,” said Johnson. She looks forward to the opportunity to influence a new group of leaders, especially around the issues of race.

On a side note: Johnson is extremely excited about her new title of grandmother. Join us in congratulating her on this life milestone!