The teacher education program at United Tribes Technical College (UTTC, Bismarck, ND) was represented at the National Indian Education Association conference in Oklahoma City, OK by three participants of the Sweet Grass Project and their advisor. The Sweet Grass Project is a personnel preparation program funded by the Office of Special Education in the U.S. Department of Education. Now in its final year, the project has supported 10 teacher candidates.
Shyanne Schmalz (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe), Jodene Uses Many (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe), and Rolenthea Begay (Diné) conducted a session entitled “Preparing Highly Qualified Native American Special Education Teachers: The Sweet Grass Project.” Lisa Azure, Chair of Teacher Education and the Director of the Sweet Grass Project, was the fourth member of the presentation team.
Uses Many completed the Sweet Grass Project in May 2012, graduating with an Elementary Education bachelor degree with course work for an Early Childhood Special Education endorsement. She is now employed as a K-2 intervention teacher at Theodore Jamerson Elementary School on the UTTC campus. Schmalz is currently student teaching in Grade 1 at Pioneer Elementary School in Bismarck, having already completed a placement in Grade 4 at Dorothy Moses School. She will be completing the Sweet Grass Project at the end of this semester. Begay is scheduled to student teach in the fall of 2013.
The first three candidates to complete the Sweet Grass Project are considered highly qualified educators and have met all requirements for teacher licensure in the state of North Dakota. The remaining six candidates will have completed the project and their degrees by the fall of 2013.
UTTC extends its appreciation to Schmalz, Uses Many, and Begay for representing the school and its teacher education program in such a professional manner.