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Plan underway to give Minnesota high school teachers training needed to teach college-level courses

ST. PAUL -- Stakeholders are finalizing a plan for getting more than 1,000 teachers the graduate credits necessary to continue leading college-level courses for Minnesota high school students in 2022 and beyond.

ST. PAUL - Stakeholders are finalizing a plan for getting more than 1,000 teachers the graduate credits necessary to continue leading college-level courses for Minnesota high school students in 2022 and beyond.

The Higher Learning Commission, which accredits colleges and universities in Minnesota and 18 other states, is giving concurrent-enrollment teachers until 2022 to get either a master’s degree in the discipline they teach or 18 graduate credit hours in addition to a master’s degree.

Minnesota State, whose 33 campuses enroll 90 percent of concurrent-enrollment and Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) students, will show its trustees a framework Wednesday for facilitating that additional training.

More than 25,000 high school students take concurrent-enrollment classes, for which they get both high school and college credit.

The higher education system says 76 percent of Minnesota’s 1,400 concurrent-enrollment teachers do not meet the standard, which has long been in place but recently was clarified.

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Rich Rosivach, a concurrent-enrollment teacher at Irondale High School in New Brighton, said some teachers near the end of their careers will decide it’s not worth the hassle, but most seem willing to do the work.

“I think the teachers really want to be able to do this. Wherever I go, they’re asking, ‘What’s going to be the next step?’” said Rosivach, who as an Education Minnesota board member has been working on the issue with Minnesota State.

Rosivach expects school districts to help bear the cost of the extra training - roughly $10,000 for teachers needing the full 18 credits.

Officials from Minnesota State and from Education Minnesota affiliates outlined in an interview Monday their plan for addressing the concurrent-enrollment qualifications problem over the next five years. It includes:

  • Creating multi-year professional development plans for teachers
  • Offering cohorts of teachers in specific disciplines course options that work around their schedule
  • l Awarding credit based on experiences outside the classroom through a portfolio evaluation
  • Promoting team-teaching models for high school teachers who have not met their targets

Pakou Yang, Minnesota State’s system director of P-20 and college readiness, said they’ll finalize the conceptual plan by spring and roll it out in pieces.
Minnesota State’s two- and four-year faculty unions have embraced the higher standard for concurrent-enrollment teachers while others pushed back against the commission.

Kevin Lindstrom, Minnesota State College Faculty president, said early on, “there was a whole lot of, well, we just want to move the standard.” Now, he said, constituents are focused on meeting the need.

“It was about time somebody said, ‘Hey, wait a minute’ ” and enforced the standard, said Jim Grabowska, president of the Inter Faculty Organization, which represents university faculty.

Rosivach acknowledged that some teachers were looking for cheap, easy solutions. Minnesota State’s framework doesn’t do that, he said, but it gives “every teacher across the state of Minnesota a fair opportunity.”

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Yang said concurrent enrollment offers high-quality courses that prepare students for college.

“If we don’t have the high quality, then it’s not contributing,” she said.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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