Dec 3rd, 2009 @ 11:21 am | Author:
Minnesota State University – Moorhead (MSUM), North Dakota State University (NDSU) and Valley City State University (VCSU) have entered into a partnership to improve teacher training and effectiveness that the Bush Foundation, subject to conditions, has committed to support with payments of up to $5.65 million over 10 years. The partnership joins 11 other institutions the Bush Foundation is funding to redesign teacher preparation programs.

"Over nine months, these universities and colleges participated in a rigorous planning process during which they redesigned their teacher preparation programs," said Susan Heegaard, vice president and educational achievement team leader for the Bush Foundation. According to Heegaard, the Foundation's investment will enable the partner institutions to develop and implement their redesigned programs, starting with the 2010-11 academic year.

Dr. Steve Shirley, president of VCSU, said, "At VCSU, we are proud of our long history and outstanding track record of innovative practices in teacher education. We are excited by this opportunity to form a partnership with the Bush Foundation, and grateful for their efforts with this visionary project capable of transforming teacher education. We are especially pleased that the strengths of our program enable us to contribute key abilities to our collaboration including increasing the number of field experiences offered to students, offering curriculum in emerging fields such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and ELL (English Language Learners), and improving the understanding and application of assessment strategies."

Dr. Virginia Clark, Dean at the North Dakota State University School of Education, said, "We are excited about the opportunities that the Bush Foundation funding will provide for teacher education in this area. In partnership with Valley City State University and Minnesota State University - Moorhead, and working with area school administrators and teachers, we will be planning and implementing a program that will transform the way we prepare and support teachers."

According to the terms of the Letter of Commitment, the Bush Foundation is supporting the partnership's strategy to build and implement a dramatically redesigned teacher preparation program that will develop and guarantee the effectiveness of 250 teachers annually beginning 2014. The partnership will implement recruiting strategies that target middle school students, high school students, college students and career transition professionals with customized approaches. Students will be offered a comprehensive range of certificates recognizing achievement in areas of academic specialization that, through articulation agreements, will be recognized by all of the partners. Prospective teachers graduating from the partnership will be placed in partner schools that provide trained mentors and share assessment data to gauge new teacher impact. The partnership is expected to enroll students beginning Fall semester 2011.

Valley City State University (VCSU) prepares people for life through visionary leadership and exemplary practices in teaching, learning and service. VCSU is nationally acclaimed for attracting and retaining talented individuals who advance quality learning opportunities and economic growth through technology and innovation.

The Bush Foundation was established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife Edyth. The Foundation strives to be a catalyst to shape vibrant communities in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the states' geography by investing in courageous and effective leadership that significantly strengthens and improves the well-being of people in these areas.