High school students who are interested in entering the education field after graduation should participate in teaching experiences that drive their interest within the schools and communities in which they currently reside. Over 60% of teachers in the United States (approximately) work in school districts located within 20 miles of where they attended high school themselves (Greenberg Motamedi, Petrokubi, Yoon, & Leong, 2018).

Over the next three consecutive years (2022-2024), the NDDPI Office of Specially Designed Services will use ESSER funds to increase the number of students entering the education field. Students interested in entering the education field will receive opportunities to take dual credit courses while in high school through the Educator Pathway program. The NDDPI Office of Specially Designed Services will provide payment for college application fees, dual credit fees, and books/materials for any student taking the dual credit coursework through the Educator Pathway program.

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The Educator Pathway program is available to any school district in ND that would like to include their college-level classes on education/teaching in their high school curriculum. The Educator Pathway program consists of online courses that introduce and provide real-life experience to high school students interested in possibly entering the education field after high school.

The Educator Pathway program includes five classes students can choose that will assist in preparing them to work in the education field. Two of the five classes, Educating Exceptional Students and Special Education Field Experience, are new classes specific to special education and will be offered for the first time in Fall 2022. The five courses in the Educator Pathway are:

Teaching Professional - Introduce students to the principles underlying teaching and learning, the responsibilities and duties of teachers, and the techniques of imparting knowledge and information. This course typically exposes students to, and trains them in, classroom management, student behavior, leadership and human relations skills, assessments of student progress, teaching strategies, and various career opportunities in the field of education.

Educational Methodology - Prepare students to teach and guide others. This course typically provides opportunities for students to develop their teaching objectives, design lesson plans, and experience teaching in a controlled environment. Students examine and practice teaching strategies, learning styles, time management, planning strategies, presentation and questioning skills, classroom management, and evaluation techniques.

Education Workplace Experience - Provide students work experience in education-related fields. Goals are typically set cooperatively by the student, teacher, and employer (although students are not necessarily paid). This course may also include classroom activities involving further study of the field or discussions of experiences that students encounter in the workplace.

Educating Exceptional Students - Introduce students to the characteristics of the exceptional student. This course typically exposes students to current delivery models, educational adaptations, and best practices the regular classroom teacher and special education teacher can use, so students with disabilities are included with their same-grade peers.

Special Education Field Experience - Provide students a 40-hour, special education teaching field experience related to a disability category of their choice alongside an expert mentor teacher. The student will reflect and respond to feedback to improve their understanding of methods of instruction, differentiation for students with disabilities, and managing the learning environment.

The NDDPI Office of Specially Designed Services will pay an agreed upon amount directly to the post-secondary institution offering dual credit for the students taking any of the five courses in the Educator Pathway program.


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Administrators: If a local school district is interested in including these courses as part of their high school curriculum, they can either have a teacher in their system teach the coursework themselves or reach out to universities for assistance. Valley City State University, Minot State University, and Mayville State University have all worked with the NDDPI Office of Specially Designed Services and have agreed to provide instruction for the two newest courses, Educating Exceptional Students and Special Education Field Experience, to schools interested in offering it. If school districts do not feel they have the capacity to teach the coursework, administrators should reach out to university personnel to learn how to proceed.

Students and Parents: Students interested in accessing this coursework should contact their school administrator or counselor to share their interests. If the local school district does not offer the coursework, encourage them to do so. If the school offers the coursework, they can assist students with enrollment. The university system will turn in an expense claim for the coursework to the NDDPI Office of Specially Designed Services which will then provide payment for the student’s coursework.


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Dickinson State

DSU is a public university in Dickinson, North Dakota.

Samantha Wohletz

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Mayville State

MaSU is a public university in Mayville, North Dakota.

Carly Theis

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Minot State

MSU is a public university in Minot, North Dakota.

Dr. Holly Pederson

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University of Jamestown

UJ is a private Christian university in Jamestown, North Dakota.

Jim Bear

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Valley City
State University

VCSU is a public university in Valley City, North Dakota.

Dr. James Boe

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Mary McCarvel-O’Connor

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