ABERDEEN, S.D. – Over 200 high school students from across South Dakota will be at Northern State University for the sixth annual Educators Rising South Dakota State Conference on Feb. 28. The event is designed for students who are interested in becoming educators and are involved with their school’s Educators Rising chapter. At the conference, students will have the opportunity to engage in professional development while networking with peers from across the state, exchanging ideas, and sharing resources.

“Our ability to recruit and retain high-quality teachers starts right here in our backyards, so this conference is crucial to the future of PreK-12 education in South Dakota,” said Nicole Schutter, assistant professor of education.

Students can choose from over 27 different sessions, covering topics such as managing classroom disruptions, maximizing college education, creating engaging classrooms and harnessing artificial intelligence.

Two Northern professors will be presenting at the conference. Dr. Christian Pirlet, assistant professor of educational technology, will emphasize creativity in the classroom with “Learning with Legos: For All Ages and Stages,” and Dr. Cheng Hsien Wu, assistant professor of teacher education, will explore the impact of personality traits in “From Personality to Motivation.”

“The State Educators Rising Conference plays a vital role in fostering relationships and networks for future educators within our state while promoting teaching as a valued and rewarding profession,” Schutter said.

The conference’s theme, Now is the Time, is meant to call attention to the teacher shortage and honor the profession, since it serves as a foundation for all other professions, said Travis Lape, state director for Educators Rising.

“Now is the time to support and inspire the next generation of educators in South Dakota, while also celebrating the contributions of those who paved the way before us,” Lape said. “The current situation calls for a proactive investment in our youth and a recognition of the remarkable efforts made by educators throughout the state every day. It is crucial that we highlight and share the positive developments in our schools,” Lape said.

Northern’s Millicent Atkins School of Education hosts events throughout the year, and has recently added additional scholarship and degree options for students interested in the field of education.

“We have so much great momentum here at Northern State University, especially within our Teacher Education Department,” Schutter said. “I think this year’s theme ties well into this energy. It serves as way for us to empower high school students and our current teacher candidates as they strive to shape the future of education.”