Teachers play an increasingly critical role in supporting mental health needs among children and youth. A new set of continuing education courses from Augsburg University aims to ensure that they have the resources and training to do so in a transformative and culturally responsive way.
The Certificate in Supporting Student Mental Health for K-12 Teachers, offered by Augsburg’s Center for Adult and Continuing Education, provides K-12 educators an equity-based approach to mental health, trauma, and social-emotional learning. Each self-paced, online, on-demand course meets state continuing education requirements for maintaining licensure.
The three modules can be taken individually (4 hours each) or altogether (12 hours total). Teachers who complete all three courses will receive the Supporting Student Mental Health for K-12 Teachers certificate.
- Understanding Mental Health and Suicide Prevention provides an overview of the history of mental health care; signs and symptoms of mental illness in children and adolescents; how to recognize and minimize mental illness stigma; and resources available for teachers, students, families, and caregivers focused on recovery and suicide prevention.
- Trauma-Informed Practices for K-12 Classrooms helps teachers build a foundation to create a safe learning space for students who have experienced chronic stress and trauma; recognize the symptoms of trauma and its relationship to mental illness; and promote healing in the classroom.
- Transformative Social and Emotional Learning guides participants through a social and emotional learning framework that is rooted in equity, identity, belonging, and community justice. It is designed to help teachers move beyond teaching and modeling competencies to a place of reflective practice that focuses on examining educational conditions.
The series honors the legacy of the late Claudia Murray, a sophomore psychology major and midfielder on the Augsburg women’s soccer team who passed away unexpectedly in 2022. Generous support from the Murray family will provide a 50% discount to the first 100 participants.
“We were offered a beautiful opportunity with this gift and we aimed to create enriching courses by collaborating with both on and off campus experts,” said Jennifer Diaz, associate professor and chair of Augsburg’s Department of Education. “We are excited about what the courses have to offer educators working to value and meet students where they are across their diverse and complex lived experiences.”
Drawing on Augsburg’s outstanding faculty and centers of expertise, the Center for Adult and Continuing Education offers a growing number of live, online, and on-demand courses. For more information or to register, visit the CACE website.
Jarabe Mexicano, a “bordeño-soul-folk” band with a passion for teaching and storytelling, will be in residency with the Augsburg Music Department from March 31–April 2. MPR recently explored the group’s roots in the U.S.-Mexico border region and their diverse musical influences, which range from Ritchie Valens to Los Lobos and Chicano rock. David Myers, Augsburg’s department head for music programs, was quoted in the article about the department’s goal to expand students’ appreciation of diverse music beyond western European classical music.
In addition to working with music department students and local high school students, Jarabe Mexicano will perform free public concert at Hoversten Chapel on Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m.
Listen to the MPR story, “Jarabe Mexicano: Troubadours and teachers come to Minnesota” or view a full schedule of activities.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently included a statement by Sam Graves ’16 in an article covering a large donation to the PACER Center, which specializes in creating technology designed for children and young adults with special needs. The $1 million donation was given by the Otto Bremer Trust.
Graves, a recent Augsburg College graduate who lives with cerebral palsy, credits the Center’s library of software and adaptive devices as part of his educational success. “Without technology, I wouldn’t be able to be independent,” he said.
Graves graduated with honors April 30 and was awarded the first-ever Youth Leadership Award by the Otto Bremer Trust later that evening.
Read PACER Center awarded $1 million by Otto Bremer Trust on the Star Tribune site.
St. Paul-area newspaper Lillie News recently profiled Koua Yang ’99, a social studies teacher and tennis coach at Harding High School. Yang was one of 11 finalists for the 2015 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award.
Yang was assigned to Harding High School as a student teacher in 1999 while he was an education major at Augsburg College. He was so loved by his students that they petitioned the school’s principal and asked him to hire Yang. The principle told Yang that a job would be waiting for him the following school year.
Yang’s family immigrated to the U.S. in 1980 when he was 4 years old.
“I know what it was like to struggle as a student. I knew what it was like to not be proficient in a language — a foreign language,” Yang said. “Sharing that path, that navigation piece is absolutely crucial. It also gives them hope. Because then they realize, ‘Hey somebody went through it, too; somebody like me went through it and they were pretty successful at it. I can do it, too.'”
Read ‘I’m not afraid to be vulnerable’ on the Lillie News site.
Harry Boyte, senior fellow at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, recently published an article for Education Week about democracy in education. The article is part of a conversational series between Boyte and Deborah Meier, senior scholar at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education.
Boyte argues that we should view democracy as “an empowering way of life,” and not merely a decision-making process. “We need to combine the ‘head,’ which makes decisions, the ‘heart,’ moral imagination and emotion, and the ‘hand,’ civic muscles that power action in the world,” he writes.
In regards to education, Boyte offers an antidote to a culture that separates the hard sciences, the arts and the professional or vocational fields, parallels to the “head”, “heart” and “hand” metaphor. He argues in favor of Cooperative Education, “a method that combines academic study and classroom learning with practical work experience for which students can receive academic credit.”
Read the article, which also was published on the Huffington Post Education site.
The Minnesota Daily recently covered the Cedar Riverside Community Traveling Basketball program, which provides coaching, practice, and competition for six teams of local boys and girls ranging from sixth to 10th grade.
The program was founded by Augsburg College alumna Jennifer Weber ’11, who recognized a need for such programs. “The kids here in the neighborhood need more quality programming,” she said. “The kids want it. They go to open gym all the time.”
Another need Weber recognized dealt with a lack of functional athletic attire that was culturally acceptable for the many Muslim girls in the program.
Luckily, design students from the University of Minnesota had already been working to solve that problem. Working with the players and other partners, the students designed uniforms with adjustable hijabs, knee-length skirts and breathable leggings. A grant from the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station provided funding to donate the completed uniforms to the program.
The article concludes with a statement from coach and co-founder Muna Mohamed ’16, an exercise science senior at Augsburg who grew up in the neighborhood.
“These girls are getting an opportunity to have culturally appropriate clothing, at the same time … [as] enjoying sports,” she said. “They don’t have to worry about fixing their scarves. They don’t have to worry about ‘How can I play basketball and also respect my culture?'”
The Pioneer Press reports that St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has appointed Erik Skold, leader of the North Star Worker Fellowship at the Minnesota Department of Education and the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College, as director of Sprockets, the city’s network of after-school programs.
Skold has been serving as the program’s interim director since the departure of previous director. Skold holds a master’s degree in youth development leadership from the University of Minnesota.
Read St. Paul’s Sprockets program gets new director on the Pioneer Press site.
KARE 11 news recently aired a segment covering “Makers: Small to Big,” a series of workshops sponsored by the Augsburg College physics department. The workshops are open to the public but are designed to help educators incorporate hands-on physics and computer programming projects into their classroom activities.
The segment featured a coding workshop led by Nora Helf, a Master of Arts in Education student, who saw teachers using software to coordinate blinking LED lights. Helf was assisted by 10-year-old programmer Jack Tavakley who demonstrated some of the projects he has made.
Watch and read Teachers learn new technology to inspire students on the KARE 11 website.
As part of an ongoing conversation about democracy in education, Harry Boyte, senior scholar in public work philosophy for Augsburg’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, recently contributed an article to Education Week in which he argued in favor of free spaces–“places where people find it easy and enjoyable to swap stories, plan adventures, and discuss and argue politics.”
In the article, Boyte draws on his experiences with Sabo Center colleague Dennis Donovan, national organizer for Public Achievement, to articulate the importance of providing places for challenging yet compassionate dialog.
Read: Free Spaces in Democracy Schools on the Education Weekly site.
ABC affiliate KSTP recently aired an interview with Joseph Erickson, professor of education at Augsburg College, about the Minneapolis School Board decision to replace Sergio Paez, their first choice for Minneapolis Public School’s vacant superintendent position. Erickson served on the board from 2002 to 2006 and was its chair for two of those years. During this period, the school board hired two superintendents.
“This is their job. Hiring the superintendent and setting policy is their job,” Erickson said. “They should take it very seriously.”
He also pointed out that the current board is in a rare situation: interim superintendent Michael Goar is still available should the board decide to offer him the position. Usually, a district’s second and third choices have moved on to other positions at this point in the process.
Video and text versions of the interview are available on the KSTP website, “Minneapolis Public Schools Still Searching for Permanent Superintendent.”