Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Become a Power Up Educator

Become a Power Up Educator!

Faculty members within the department of Information Media have been working at implementing a mini-grant provided by the Teacher Preparation Initiative.  The grant will help to create a cohort of university faculty who teach courses in SCSU licensure areas.  The purpose of the mini-grant is to assist faculty members in more fully integrating 21st century skills into their teaching.

Faculty member participants will engage with instructional technologies, ISTE standards, and current P-12 teachers with technology integration experience.  Over the academic year, the cohort will meet a total of six half-days to allow them the experience and collaboration needed to become an innovative educator.

Faculty participants receive a stipend, technology hardware, and software for their willingness to engage.  Applications are currently being accepted to join the cohort through Friday, October 24th.

Apply now at

For more information contact Kristen at

Sponsored  by the Teacher Preparation Initiative (TPI), the School of Education (SoE), and the Information Media (IM) department.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Ignite, Engage, Empower: A Professional Learning Partnership Day for P-16 Educators

As a new school year begins, we here at TPI are excited to re-energize our blog and share the innovate work that is being done in our 6 partner districts and at SCSU. 

Today's post comes from Beth Mann, the TPI P-12 Liaison. 

On Wednesday, June 11, 2014 an inaugural common professional learning day for P-16 educators was held. This day was planned and implemented by the Teacher Preparation Initiative, which is a  partnership of St. Cloud State University and six P-12 Districts: Holdingford, Monticello, ROCORI, St. Cloud Area, Sartell-St. Stephen, and Sauk Rapids-Rice.  Speakers at the workshop presented on various topics relating to the themes of assessment, differentiation, student engagement, and technology.

Kathy Flaminio, the keynote speaker, spoke of the science and practice of mindfulness, social and emotional learning, and yoga-based movement for students. Using lecture, discussion, and hands on learning, Flaminio explained how these techniques can help educators to understand the impact of trauma and stress, self-regulation, and well-being.

All sessions were evaluated via a technology application (Qualtrics); with about 60% of attendees responding. Highlights of findings include:  93% of session ratings were at the highest two levels of approval and 90% of session ratings scored at the highest levels of career usefulness.  So positive were session ratings, that over nine in ten participants (94.2%) reportedly plan to attend next year. Thanks to our host,  Sauk Rapids Rice High School; Nearly 100% of attendees rated the facilities as good or excellent (99%)! Overall, the conference proved successful, from logistics to the quality and utility of presentations. 

If you have any questions, or ideas for sessions for the next Professional Learning Day, please feel free to contact Beth Mann ( and she will share them with the planning committee.

Friday, March 28, 2014

New Teacher Workshop: Living Above and Below the Line, an Evening with Willow Sweeney

Thank you to Beth Mann, the TPI P-12 Liaison, and Support Working Group Facilitator, for summarizing the final New Teacher Workshop of the 2013-14 Academic Year.  

The Teacher Preparation Initiative and its six Partner Districts hosted the final 2013-2014 New Teacher Workshop on Wednesday, February 26. Invitees included first through third year teachers in our Partner Districts and SCSU recent graduates and Teacher Education Faculty. 95 participants were treated to dinner and networking. Joe Dockendorf, Assistant Superintendent at Monticello School District, set the stage for the evening.

Joe summarized data from 10 Partner District Principals on what they look for in retaining new teachers. Information was categorized by how often a principal mentioned a certain trait. You may be wondering which traits were mentioned the most often! Seven principals mentioned that the following traits were important for new teachers to possess: good parent relations, staff rapport, likes children, knows boundaries, ability to connect with kids emotionally and socially, positive advocate for students, and inspires others. In the end, Joe shared that teaching is all about building relationships with students and shared the quote by Ed Dunkelbau, “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.”

The keynote presenter was Willow Sweeney, co-founder of “Top 20 Training.” Willow’s presentation focused on becoming aware of our thinking so we know when it is working and when it is not working. It explored the conditions that come up in our life that invite us to go Below the Line, indicators telling us when we are Below, how to handle Below the Line experiences with more grace and dignity and, how to trampoline back Above the Line. Take-aways include defining what we do when we are Below the Line, what living Above the Line looks like, recognizing that we receive invitations from others to go Below the Line and have the ability to choose our responses.  She also inspired us to strive to Keep our Day, which is a reminder that all each of us has is today and we can make choices on how we want to live each day.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Academic Achievement of Children who Speak English as a Second Language

Jim Robinson, TESL Professor and Facilitator of the Prepare Working Group at St. Cloud State University shared the following link regarding the academic achievement of children who speak English as a second language in England.

The article shared the following data:

·      Non-english speaking pupils outperformed English speaking pupils on the English Baccalaureate.  This measure looks at achievement in English, math science, foreign language and either history or geography.

·      The number of pupils across England with English as a second language has risen to 1.1 million in the past five years.

·     The minister of education agreed that “the presence in schools of children who are bilingual or have English as an additional language tends, in fact, to raise overall school performance, not damage it.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Global Pedagogy Symposium Opportunity

If you are interested in Global Pedagogy, the Global Studies Program at SCSU is hosting a Symposium this weekend.  The press release is below.  If you do not want to attend the entire symposium, you can attend the keynote session on Saturday morning for free.

Shawn Smallman, International Studies and Latin American Studies, Portland State University
Challenges and opportunities in Global Education                       
9:00 am—10:15 am Atwood Theatre, SCSU Campus

Global Pedagogy Symposium
Register by Feb. 25 to participate in the Global Pedagogy Symposium, an opportunity for faculty and other professionals to present, learn and discuss what works in global education.
The symposium meets 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Welcome Center and March 1 in Atwood Memorial Center. It will focus on:
            Emerging technologies in global learning
            Engaging international students
            The world as a classroom
Keynote speaker is Shawn Smallman, a professor at Portland State University, Portland, Ore. Smallman co-authored the textbook “An Introduction to International and Global Studies,” which was published in 2011 by the University of North Carolina Press in Chapel Hill. 
Smallman has completed a book manuscript on indigenous women and spirit-beliefs in northern Canada. He works on global health and security, particularly where these topics overlap with indigenous issues in the Americas.
Registration is required and covers meals, coffee breaks and some materials. Registration is $40 for one day, $60 for both. Deadline to present a talk or a poster is Feb. 1. Register online at
The symposium is hosted by the Global Studies Program.
Support for Global Pedagogy Symposium 2014 is provided by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and a St. Cloud State Action Grant.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Assessment Working Group Meeting Summary - 12_20_13

Summary of Most Recent AWG Meeting
December 20, 2013

Members of the Assessment Working Group met on December 20 to initiate the discussion of best practices in teacher assessment. We initiated this process by reading and discussing, chapter by chapter, Darling Hammond’s (2013) text Getting Teacher Evaluation Right. In addition, we discussed progress of our P-12 partners on the required Minnesota system for evaluating educators, reviewed the Common Metrics (Bush Foundation) metrics, talked about partnerships with the Support Working Group, and pulled together an approach for moving forward.

Darling Hammond Book
We discussed the highlights of the Darling-Hammond book on effective practice in teacher evaluation. High points of the discussion are provided below:

·       Best teacher evaluation practices are based on coherent state standards
·       Best practices assume an interface between assessment and professional development, including
     assistance for struggling teachers
·       The system ought to accommodate not just new, but struggling educators
·       Best practice in measurement as applied to teacher assessment and evaluation accommodates both entry  skills and master performance
·       The best teacher assessment systems tap student attitudes (engagement), student learning outcomes (but without overreliance on value added metrics), observation by trained evaluators, and portfolio-based authentic methods

Teacher Development and Evaluation in Minnesota
Members of the AWG noted that all partner districts were well underway in negotiating models and processes for teacher evaluations as required in Minnesota. The most difficult puzzle piece remains how to equitably employ student outcome data in teacher assessment as required.

Common Metrics
Kathy Dahlberg described data collected via the Common Metrics (CM) activities of NeXT (the Bush Foundation Grant, TPI at SCSU).  The purpose of the CM system is for the 14 “Bush” teacher preparation IHEs to collect a common set of data in a comparable fashion.  One committee goal is to emphasize the use of extant data in the development of metrics with which to meet benchmarks and to evaluate programming sponsored by the grant.  Presumably the four Common Metrics Instruments will be employed in any plans that we develop.

Process and procedure

Next meeting: Members of the working group will review the charges and benchmarks with an eye toward developing  a set of work tasks, prioritize these tasks, and set between-meeting tasks.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TPI Recruit Working Group Fall Meeting Summary

The Recruit Working Group has 13 members from both SCSU and all six of our Partner Districts.  The Recruit Working Group had meetings at the SCSU Welcome Center in October, November, and December.   A summary of our work from fall is provided below. 

Recruiting, Retaining, Graduating, and Supporting Teachers of Color with Diverse Cultural Backgrounds & Growing High Needs Teacher Programs

Our current focus is on two proposals: (1) Recruiting, Retaining, Graduating, and Supporting Teachers of Color with Diverse Cultural Backgrounds, and (2) Growing High Needs Teacher Programs.  Both proposals originated in Focused Teams and were brought to the working group for review and further development.  First, both proposals relate to preparing diverse candidates and better alignment between market demands and the number of graduates completing our programs.  Next, both proposals address a need for Alternate Pathways to licensure, financial incentives, and improved mentorship to retain teacher candidates.  Finally, efforts to portray the teaching profession in a more positive light are essential to the success of recruiting candidates in high needs areas (e.g., special education, teaching English as a second language (ESL), science, technology, and mathematics). 

Marketing Plan

The Bush Foundation, in conjunction with Haberman, a Minnesota-based marketing firm, delivered a Recruitment Road Map to each of its 14 institutions of higher education in 2013.  The Recruit Working Group has been developing a Marketing Plan to improve our recruitment practices.  We will align the Marketing Plan with the Recruitment Road Map delivered by Haberman to identify gaps in the plan and move toward implementing new methods and strategies to reach a diverse pool of candidates.
The Marketing Plan consists of three strands: (1) Media, (2) Face to Face Messaging, and (3) Incentives.  Media includes effective use of Websites, social media, and new technology.  Face to Face Messaging includes activating internal resources and partnerships to build capacity and foster a culture of recruitment.  Incentives includes scholarships and other financial resources to increase candidates in high needs areas.  The Recruitment Roadmap delivered by Haberman includes an Implementation Guide; it will certainly guide the efforts of the Recruit Working Group.  The roadmap has been presented to our leadership and generated support.  Next, we will need to extend this buy-in to all faculty and professional staff and develop internal relationships that support recruitment.  We will need to delegate responsibilities, determine priorities, identify resources, and develop a specific implementation timeline for recruitment practices.

Can you recommend incentives to recruit candidates in high needs areas?

What can we do to portray the teaching profession in more positive ways?