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UTTC offering special teacher training program
4 February 2004

BISMARCK, ND - United Tribes Technical College has received a grant from the U. S. Department of Education to increase the number of qualified American Indian teachers in the fields of Elementary Education and Special Education. The award will be used to create the Plains Alliance for Special Education (PASE) program.

      "There simply aren't enough American Indian teachers in the Special Education field," said Lisa Azure, PASE Director and head of UTTC's Teacher Education program. "The number of American Indian teachers in the field is nearly non-existent."

      According to the 2000 Census, North Dakota had only two Native American special education instructors. As one of 15 award recipients from the Education Department's Office of Special Education, UTTC will focus on preparing American Indian teachers for licensure.

      The PASE program will involve 20 full-time students who begin coursework in August 2004 for the Bachelor's degree program of study. An additional 20 part-time students will be selected to begin coursework in the two-year AAS degree in Special Education, which will be offered online. Selection for either program will be done competitively by application. Some students have already expressed an interest, said Azure.

      Upon completion, graduates will be eligible for licensure in Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education. Each will be required to teach in a school district with a high number of American Indian students.

      Potential candidates for the PASE program must have a complete application packet before they will be considered. Selection criteria include a personal interview. Preference for the Bachelor's degree program will be given to applicants who have already completed a two-year degree and are enrolled in a federally recognized American Indian tribe.

      According to Azure, PASE allows for a stipend that could be used for tuition, books, fees and/or living expenses. Participants are encouraged to seek other sources of funding, as well. In order to continue to receive the stipend, participants must maintain a minimum grade point average, as well as fulfill other project requirements.

      Due to the increased enrollment at UTTC, students in Bachelor's degree programs (such as this one) are not able to live on campus unless their spouse is enrolled in one of the two-year vocations. Because of this policy, it's important that participants accepted into this program make arrangements for housing in Bismarck-Mandan, said Azure.

      For more information contact Lisa Azure, Project Director, 701-255-3285 ext. 407, or lazure@uttc.edu, or Dr. Ramona Klein, Project Coordinator, 701-223-8253 or klein@bis.midco.net.


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