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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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March, 2017

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iStockSpecial Education News

Dr. Alex Panahon, Department Chair

This year three students from the Department of Special Education travelled to Aldine, Texas to complete their student teaching. There has been a long standing partnership between the Aldine School District and the MSU, Mankato College of Education, but this was the first time that students from the Undergraduate ABS licensure program were a part of this opportunity.

Given this was the first time that our students went to Aldine, collaboration between Aldine School District and the Department of Special Education was extremely important. Our Student Teaching Coordinator, Dr. Kimberly Johnson, worked closely with ASD to ensure a meaningful experience for the students. For example, Aldine did not have a designated Special Education University Supervisor prior to our collaboration. To ensure that our students received appropriate supervision, ASD hired a Special Education specialist to serve as the students’ University Supervisor. The University Supervisor also agreed to use our department observation tool, in order to make communication easier and more consistent.

In addition to close collaboration, two of the faculty from our department traveled to Aldine to meet with district representatives, and see the students in their placements first hand. Dr. Kyena Cornelius and Dr. Alexandra Panahon went to Aldine for three days in February. During that time, we were able to meet with the students, talk with mentor teachers and principals, and visit the students’ schools and classrooms. After visiting and seeing first-hand the experience students had and all that they had learned, we plan to encourage other students to student teach in Aldine in the future. Perhaps the best evidence of the benefits of this experience, are the words of the student teachers themselves.

“Choosing to student teach in Aldine, Texas has been an adventure that I will carry with me forever. Teaching in Aldine has
provided me with the opportunity to work in an urban city, with a diverse population, and experience new cultural norms. I have enjoyed developing meaningful relationships with my students and mentor teacher, who truly made me feel at home in Houston! If I was asked to make this decision again, I would choose Aldine; it helped me grow as a professional and as a person!”

- Brianna

“My student teaching experience in Aldine, Texas was very inspiring. Every day was different and exciting. I grew so much and met some truly amazing individuals. While working with these students I saw how important I was to them. With them seeing how much I wanted them to learn and succeed, they really pushed themselves to do their best for me. I do believe my experience in Aldine was an experience I would not have gotten anywhere else and I am so happy about my decision.”

- Shelby

iStockSystems Thinking in AVID K-20

Laura Bemel, CSUP Acting Director

How does MSU College of Education work with K-12 schools to promote student success through AVID?

As we move into year 6 of AVID implementation, we are building, refining and reflecting on our work at Minnesota State University, Mankato and our partner school districts. We used the tutorial as a system within a system to explore ways we are linked together. Andy Krause, from Mankato East High School, and Laura Bemel used our work together as a model.

We have realized that Minnesota State Mankato's College of Education and our partner schools have moved just beyond a partnership to a true system for teacher preparation and student learning.

  • The parts of the system work together for a common purpose. Our students are studying learning theory and best practices for teaching students. Some get to have a wonderful field experience as tutors in the AVID classrooms, where they are constantly using their skills to to better understand student thinking and to create helpful questions for kids. The AVID teachers observe the university students during their tutorials and provide feedback and pose questions that prompt these future teachers to think about their AVID students and their own teaching practice. The AVID students get to interact with
  • The system functions best when all the parts are in the right place. We realized that our basic triad of tutor-student-teacher is essential, but we haven’t always connected the other parts of the system so they can contribute or see the benefit. Now our university faculty are providing more training in AVID strategies earlier for students and they are visiting AVID tutorial sites. AVID tutors comment on
  • When one part of the system changes, the other parts might need to adapt to keep functioning. As our teacher candidates get better at asking questions and eliciting student thinking because of their work as AVID tutors, faculty members are noticing this improvement. Faculty are able to expect higher level questioning from these teacher candidates in their other fieldwork. And faculty are asking questions about what students are learning as a result of the AVID experience.
  • Some parts of the system are more important than others. While it’s ideal to have all parts working optimally, the system still works if some of the parts get messed up or fall off or just aren’t able to contribute.

We are proud that our numbers of tutors are growing, that faculty are asking about what’s going on and we’re seeing success for students and for tutors.
One of our participants in a session reminded us to consider whether the system is doing what it was designed to do. A great question to help us step back to see whether this connection among university and k-12 is advancing student success for young learners and for adults wanting to learn to teach. We continue to reflect and refine.

Avid logo

iStockMACTE Update

Dr. Kitty Foord, faculty member

If you wish to attend MACTE on April 6 & 7 please let Jerrad Aspelund know. The Dean will cover the cost of attendance for both days.

Please reply to Jerrad with the days you will be attending.


April 6 (statewide Business Meeting) and April 7 (spring Collaboration)
8:00 am to 3:30 pm
Crowne Plaza Plymouth

We are pleased to tell you that Deborah Koolbeck has agreed to speak with us during our spring collaboration. Deb is the Director of Government Relations for AACTE, and many of you will remember from previous visits.

In recent weeks, campus administrators and education faculty have raised numerous questions about congressional action to rescind the Teacher Preparation Regulations, the continuing evolution of the Every Student Succeeds Act, and what we should watch for from Education Secretary DeVos. This is an opportunity to hear about effective advocacy for teachers during times of political change.

Deb will join us during our general session, by videoconference, on Friday, April 7.


The deadline is this Friday, March 24, 2017. Get the RFP here


Wednesday night, April 5th, is booked at Crowne Plaza Plymouth. This includes the MACTE room block. There are still a few rooms available in the hotel and in our block on April 6th. Contact Crowne Plaza Plymouth to make general reservations.


Registration: Meetings and Events

We look forward to seeing you in Plymouth on April 6th and 7th.



iStockElementary Education News

Dr. Ron Browne, faculty member

The Elementary and Early Childhood Department, in cooperation with the Department of Educational Leadership, is working with the Robbinsdale Area Schools on an innovative project. (Special thanks go to the Educational Leadership Department for their initiation of conversations and connections which lead to this work.)

Spearheaded by Dr. Beth Beschorner and Dr. Robbie Burnett, the project places students enrolled in the Twin Cities Elementary Teacher Education program in Robbinsdale Schools for their field experiences. The EEC Department is interested in providing teacher candidates with field experiences in schools with racially and linguistically diverse students. Through these experiences it is hoped that candidates develop the ability to plan and deliver instruction through a lens of social justice, racial equity, and cultural competency.

The benefits of the new relationship for the teacher candidates include:

  • Teacher candidates are assisted with all aspects of the daily classroom routine.
  • Teacher candidates learn strategies and approaches that their mentor teachers have found effective. This allows them to equip and broaden their “Teaching Toolbox”.
  • Teacher candidates get classroom experience with EnVOY classroom management strategies.
  • Teacher candidates have significant opportunity for teaching small and whole group instruction for racially and linguistically diverse students.
  • Teacher candidates have opportunities to be involved with on-site seminars and school/family activities.

Benefits to the Robbinsdale mentor teachers and other personnel include:

  • Consistent, reliable, and well supported teacher candidates to assist with their students’ learning needs.
  • Connections with Minnesota State Mankato Faculty for professional development and collaboration on projects.
  • Consistent expectations for field experience placements.

The project is currently placing Minnesota State teacher candidates in their pre-student teaching field experiences. This project may grow to include year-long student teaching placements for our teacher candidates. As we look towards a second year with the project, we continue to focus our efforts on creating the conditions necessary for building a trusting relationship necessary for a collaborative and sustainable partnership.

iStockEducational Leadership Updates

Dr. Candace Raskin, Department Chair

Join us for the 4th Annual Racial Equity Conference – Thursday, April 13, 2017 – Minnesota State University at Edina

We encourage you to register today and join your P-12 colleagues, Minnesota school leaders and MNSU COE faculty, as we engage together in deepening our racial equity leadership skills to create school environments that foster all students’ aspiration for and success in college and careers!

Your leadership matters!! We hope you can attend.

To Register click below: