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NDSU Programs Impacting Lives of Teachers and Students

February 16, 2011 - Fargo, N.D. - The NDSU College of Human Development and Education is participating in projects expected to produce dramatic results in teaching, learning and social development.  The first, called the “Teacher Effectiveness Initiative,” is funded with a $5 million grant from the Bush Foundation. Designed to improve and reconfigure teacher preparation programs, NDSU is partnering with Valley City State University and Minnesota State University Moorhead. The local effort is part of a $40 million total initiative involving 14 institutions in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

“The grant really has the potential to transform teacher education,” said Virginia Clark Johnson, dean of human development and education. “It is an exciting opportunity to rethink the way we provide teacher education, and then support our graduates as they become teachers.”

Another major project is in conjunction with Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. A $675,000 grant from Congress is funding the implementation of the Early Risers Skills for Success program in four North Dakota cities – Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks and Minot. Joel Hektner, NDSU associate professor of human development and family science, serves as implementer, consultant and evaluator.

In the Early Risers program, kindergarten and first grade students participate in a six-week summer program. Teamed through a buddy system, some students with adjustment problems such as underdeveloped social skills or behavioral issues are teamed with well-adjusted youngsters. The program continues during the school year. The grant allows Hektner to continue his ongoing work with the Early Risers program that was organized under a three-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. The long-term goal is to prevent problems that might happen in adolescence, such as delinquency and drug abuse.

The third significant program is supported through the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education. With a $470,000 grant, North Dakota is the pilot site for the new “Science-in-CtE” program. Based on the highly successful “Math-in-CtE” program, the new effort is an experimental study to improve academic achievement in science. A total of 15 agriculture education teachers across the state are paired with science teachers to develop science-enhanced agricultural lessons including scientific principles. The study delves into the idea that academic abilities in the sciences can be taught in the context of career and technical education.

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