Education Mindset is a new podcast, brought to you by North Dakota United and dedicated to all-things education in North Dakota, from K-12 to higher ed. Your podcast host is ND United Public Affairs Director Tom Gerhardt, a veteran TV news leader, anchor, reporter, storyteller and one of our region’s most trusted voices.
In January 2022, North Dakota United released daunting results of a survey on educator retention. 74% of those surveyed believe teacher retention is a major issue for the coming school year and only four out of ten see themselves retiring as teachers.
How did we get to this point? And what can be done about it?
In partnership with Prairie Public Radio, the Education Mindset podcast has interviewed several teachers who have left the profession, those who remain in the classroom and those who shape public policy affecting what happens in schools across North Dakota. New episodes will be released on our website and at the Main Street section of the Prairie Public website.
Episodes of our podcast were recorded in spring of 2020, when public education was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to capture a historical snapshot of this unprecedented change, we have selected the McKenzie County Public School District in Watford City to help provide perspective. It’s not the largest district in the state, nor the smallest. It’s in the heart of oil country which brings in students and families from around the world. With plummeting oil prices, the district is dealing with the impacts of layoffs and economic uncertainty — disrupting the school system and the community.
educator retention series - episode 6
2022 North Dakota Teacher of the Year Bret Dockter, of Harvey, joins the Education Mindset podcast to talk about a grant he received from the Department of Public Instruction to promote recruitment and retention of educators in the state of North Dakota.
educator retention series - Episode 5
In the fifth episode of our Educator Retention Crisis, North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler discusses the challenges of keeping teachers in the state.
educator retention series - episode 4
We continue our look at the educator retention crisis by visiting with North Dakota United President Nick Archuleta. He says teachers are letting us know in no uncertain terms that things have to change for the better.
educator retention series - episode 3
Kristi Reinke is the 2021 North Dakota Teacher of the Year from Jim Hill Middle School in Minot. She talks about morale, the support teachers need, and what needs to happen to keep teachers teaching.
Reinke says when she saw the educator retention survey results from North Dakota United —it broke her heart. She is concerned about a couple of issues: support for teachers and compassion fatigue. Reinke points to protecting teachers time as something that would help keep teachers in the profession.
educator retention series - episode 2
We continue our look at the educator retention crisis in North Dakota by hearing from a Fargo teacher who chose to leave the profession, and a Minot teacher who remains in the classroom. The Fargo teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, spent nearly a decade teaching. He explains why he left the profession but also offers some solutions that could help the profession.
educator retention series - Episode 1
We start our Educator Retention Crisis series with former Bismarck teacher Kari Nehls who spent 15 years in education. Nehls says she was born to be a teacher. However, as she tells North Dakota United’s Tom Gerhardt last summer she made the emotional decision to leave the profession she loves.
educating through a pandemic - episode 5
As a library media specialist, each week Olivia Dwyer works face-to-face with over 500 students in her K-3 school in Watford City. That’s a tall order, but now imagine having to reach that same number of students through technology while adding parents and co-workers to the list. One thing that’s remained the same is her desire, along with her co-workers’, to do what’s best for students and provide the best distance education possible.
educating through a pandemic - episode 4
The words kindergarten and distance learning don’t exactly go together, but teachers across the state are finding ways to connect with students and their parents. In this episode, Watford City kindergarten teacher Delanie Hill says she’s had to teach the parents — and many are surprised to learn there’s a lot more to kindergarten than meets the eye.
Educating through a pandemic - episode 3
In this episode, high school counselor Rachael Meuchel with the McKenzie County Public School District in Watford City joins the podcast to share her experience. She talks about maintaining connections with students through virtual means — and how she’s encouraging students to be more independent.
educating through a pandemic - episode 2
The Coronavirus forced an immediate transformation of our education system this spring. For the English Learner department in Watford City — and elsewhere — that meant immediate change. In this episode, EL coordinator Mari Rasmussen and EL instructor Pamela Albright explain how they’re passionately stayed connected despite the challenges thrown their way.
educating through a pandemic - episode 1
President of the Watford City Education Association and high school science teacher Amy Polivka talks about the double whammy in Watford City — the jolt of the coronavirus and the crash of oil prices — and how they’ve both affected students, families and educators forced into distance learning in a matter of days.