Event Details

Online Course: Building Rigorous & Robust PreK-3 Learning Environments

  • 07 Oct 2016
  • Online & In-person (see description)


  • Please note: At least two registrants from any school must enroll. Registrants must enroll individually.

Missed the course kickoffs?
You can still enroll through October 7th! All are welcome! It will be a little more challenging to get going in the online course, but if your colleagues attended, use them as a resource!

This FREE online course, focused on communication and oral language development, is designed to improve student learning, classroom community and the culture of collaborative inquiry in schools.

This course is sponsored by the MN Department of Education and the MN Elementary School Principals' Association. Course content is provided by the University of North Carolina's FirstSchool program.

Who should enroll?
PreK-3rd grade educators, principals, directors and instructional coaches are invited to enroll. At least two colleagues should enroll from any school, agency or program.  

Course details
  • Two tracks are available: one for administrators and an educator track tailored to PreK-3 teachers (see below for more details)
  • Comprises 18 modules on topics such as conversation, formative assessment, equity, collaboration, student communication in literacy and math instruction, and more
  • Participants will attend a regional kickoff meeting the week of September 20

  • Each week requires approx. 1.5 hours online plus time to do your assignment
  • Each week is designed to be self-paced, but coursework must be completed within the week
  • Participants will attend a regional kickoff meeting the week of September 20 (see below for specific dates). You must select which date you will attend in the course registration.
Educator Track
  • Examine research and practice strategies supporting the use of oral expression in classrooms, essential for student engagement and success in literacy and mathematics.
  • Use student communication to meet learning standards and assess student progress.
  • Earn up to 60 CEUs!
Administrator Track
  • Help lead teachers to implement effective, research-based practice in scaffolded instruction, intentional teaching & planning, small group interactions, vocabulary development and more.
  • Support teachers in using student communication to assess progress and meet learning standards.
  • Understand how child development impacts social and academic learning.
  • Attend a one-day meeting in St. Paul on December 2 with Dr. Sharon Ritchie & Dr. Adam Holland.
  • Earn up to 60 administrator CEUs!
Regional kickoff meeting
Participants will work with Dr. Sharon Ritchie or Dr. Adam Holland and a course liaison in-person during the week of September 20. It is a requirement to attend.
  • September 20 (1-5pm) in St. Paul - TIES Conference Center
  • September 21 (10am-2pm) in Little Falls - MN Initiative Foundation
  • September 21 (10am-2pm) in Owatonna - Steele County History Center
  • September 22 (10am-2pm) in Grand Rapids - Blandin Foundation
Please note: schools are responsible for covering their own travel costs and substitute teachers.

Course Timeline
Part one: Week of Sep 20 - Week of Nov 14
Part two: Week of Nov 28 - Week of Feb 13

Please contact the MESPA office at mespa@mespa.net or 651.999.7310.

Event Cancellation Policy 

A completed online registration constitutes a bill and a commitment to pay for a full seminar payment. Due to MESPA's incurred costs (i.e. materials, meals, speaking fees, etc.) please know that unfortunately, we are unable to grant refunds within two weeks of the event's start date. Prior to the two-week mark, we are able to issue a refund, less a $50 processing fee.

For Institute Exhibit registrations, please see the Cancellation Policy at mespa.net/exhibit.

Hotel Accommodations - Twin Cities events

Attending a professional development event in the Twin Cities? Consider booking at the Radisson Hotel in Roseville. For reservations, call 651.636.4567 and ask for the MESPA rate - $113 a night! 

MESPA is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization

1970 Oakcrest Avenue, Suite 204
Roseville, Minnesota, 55113

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