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Sanford Inspire, Harmony adopted by DSU College of Ed

April 26, 2018

“Teachers are always looking for solid professional development,” said Dr. Crystal Pauli, dean of the College of Education at Dakota State University.

Last fall, the college began researching two strong programs – Sanford Inspire and Sanford Harmony– and will be implementing both this year, Pauli said.

Sanford Inspire’s mission is to empower educators with research-based knowledge, tools, and practices so they can inspire students to achieve academically and socially; Sanford Harmony enables students to connect and collaborate at much deeper levels by breaking down barriers.

“Denny Sanford knows from personal experience how much the world needs inspiring teachers,” said DSU President José-Marie Griffiths. “Dakota State has been educating teachers since 1881, but by incorporating Sanford Inspire and Sanford Harmony, DSU-trained educators will have the knowledge and pedagogy skills to be effective teachers for the 21st Century,” she said.

The programs are operated through a partnership with National University System (NUS) in California, which provides the materials for Inspire and Harmony free of charge, Pauli said. For teacher preparation and outreach costs involved in implementing the programs, DSU received two $50,000 grants from NUS.

“Both programs are so well put-together,” she stated. “They are research-based, and developers at Arizona State University have taken lot of time with the logistics to make them simple and effective.”

Topics covered in Sanford Inspire include a variety of professional concepts, Pauli said, such as classroom management, teaching strategies for reading comprehension, working with reluctant readers. “Instructors will infuse this into our teacher education program in a variety of ways,” she said, including class discussion, small group work, or case studies of modules.

Harmony is about relationship building, Pauli stated, giving children the tools to be good citizens and good friends. Kits provide simple but powerful ideas for activities. “These are little things teachers can do to make a difference with kids to help them see we’re all more alike than we are different.”

Each program has “faculty champions,” Pauli said, who will lead the implementation. DSU instructors Katie Anderson and Kindra Schneider are the Inspire faculty champions; Dr. Gabe Mydland is the champion for Harmony.

The two programs will be of benefit to DSU students “from the time the students walk in the door to when they walk out of the door,” Pauli said, by giving the students access to quality material that will help them in the classroom.

“The goal is to prepare teachers for a lifelong career and the more tools we give them for classroom management, pedagogy, and teaching strategies, the more prepared and the more confident they will be, with the result that they’ll stay in the profession longer,” Pauli commented.  

The university will also reach out to K-12 partners through outreach events, to let them know about the programs. “I like that these programs offer professional development not only for our teacher candidates but can also be made available to cooperating teachers and area teachers,” she said.

DSU is the 21st partner with the Sanford programs nationwide, Pauli said.