MSU-Northern Continuing Education [laptop, glasses, book]

Welcome to the Teachers of Promise Pathways (TOPP) Program!

With TOPP, you can start training for your teaching career sooner. Dual-enrollment courses in education are offered to high school students for FREE through MSU-Northern and Great Falls College MSU.

What is Teachers of Promise Pathways?

MSU-Northern received a Grow Your Own Educator grant from the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE) in 2021. Funded by the state of Montana, this grant supports Northern’s Educator Preparation Program (EPP), encouraging partnerships between the university and surrounding high schools.

Teachers of Promise Pathways (TOPP) is the result of these partnerships. It establishes a program for high school juniors and seniors to take education-related courses in an online, dual-enrollment format. Students participating in TOPP can graduate high school with up to four classes required for a degree in education already under their belts, setting them up for success as undergraduates and beyond. TOPP students can also engage in work-based experiences that support future educators and get them into the classroom early. They will be supported by teachers, professors, and mentors as they complete their dual enrollment credits and transfer them to their local two-year college and Montana State University-Northern. 

TOPP makes a career in education more accessible for students in rural or remote parts of Montana. It also helps address Montana’s educator shortage by establishing a straightforward path to teacher certification, making it easier for graduates to complete college and get hired fast. Teaching is a great option for those who want to return to their home communities after college. It can also be a ticket to a part of beautiful Montana you’ve always wanted to explore. With Teachers of Promise Pathways, a career in education has never been closer within reach.

Why Become a Teacher? 

  •  An educator transforms lives and the world around them.
  •  Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.
  •  You can be a leader in a school of fish.
  • A teacher is somebody who makes everyone feel like somebody.
  • Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions.
  • A great teacher inspires.
  • Only the brave choose to teach.
  • Teachers affect eternity.

Spring 2023 TOPP Courses

Montana State University-Northern:

EDU 201 – Introduction to Education (CRN: 73449)

This course will focus on the history, purpose, role, and scope of education in the U.S. Topics will include curriculum development, state and national standards, current trends in education, and professional development. A requirement of 10 hours of fieldwork relating to community involvement will be given, which will show how candidates can utilize neighborhood and city resources in their future teaching assignments.

EDU 225 Educational Psychology (CRN: 73221)

This course will focus on educational psychology concepts with an emphasis on learning theories. Topics relating to diversity, including special needs students, and the impact of culture within the classroom's learning and teaching environment plays a central part in the curriculum.

PSYX 230 Developmental Psychology (CRN: 73414)

Human development is the study of how and why people change over time, as well as how and why they remain the same. Thus this course will provide an overview of what is empirically known about all the periods of life from conception to death of our physical vehicles. We shall examine what is known scientifically about physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development in humans. We shall examine how changes in each one of these major areas impacts change in each of the other two. The relative importance of nature and nurture will be examined for each of the various life stages. The issues of native temperament and physical appearance will be given special emphasis as these areas impact psychosocial and cognitive development. A considerable amount of time will be devoted to what is known about methods of effective/ineffective, successful/unsuccessful parenting. Finally, we shall look at the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial aspects of our final years of life.

HTH 110 Personal Health & Wellness (CRN: 73450)

This course is an introduction to the basic and new concepts of health. Topics included will be nutrition, physical fitness, stress management, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, safety and risk management, as well as wellness components of emotional, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual health. This course is required for all pre-education majors to fulfill OPI certification requirements, and is a program requirement for Health Promotion majors and minors. It is also appropriate for pre-nursing majors and those interested in taking a proactive approach to their lives and health.

Great Falls College MSU:

HTH 201 Health Issues for Educators (CRN: 33140)

This course is a survey of drug education and health concerns for educators of school-aged children, including topics required by Montana’s Board of Public Education for health-related teacher education.

PSYX 230 Developmental Psychology (CRN: 33277)

This course presents the study of human development throughout the lifespan. Study will include: the three domains of development (physical, cognitive and psychosocial); major theories; the influence of genetics; and prenatal development. The overall framework of the course is chronological dividing the lifespan into seven parts: infancy; early childhood; middle childhood; adolescence; early adulthood; middle adulthood; and late adulthood. This organization emphasizes the whole person and assists students to appreciate the ways in which the three domains of development continuously interact.

General Education Requirements

Students wishing to earn further lower division credit hours, in addition to the TOPP curriculum, through dual enrollment should review the following courses suggested for a teacher preparation degree plan at Northern. 

General Education Requirements Teacher Preparation Pathway
Category I Communications-6 credits WRI 101 & COM X115
Category II Mathematics-3 credits M130
Category III Natural Science w/lab-6 credits BIOB 101/102 or CHMY 121/122 and PHSX 105
Category IV Social Science & History-6 credits HSTA 101 and PSCI 210
Category V Cultural Diversity-3 credits NASX 105, 120, 235, COMX 212, SPNS 101
Category VI Humanities & Fine Arts-6 credits ANTH 160;  ARTZ 101, 105; MUSI; THTR; LIT
Category VII Technology-3 credits EDU 201

Three Delivery Strategies

  1.  Havre & Area: TOPP courses are offered at MSU Northern and/or Havre High School.
  2.  Great Falls & Area: TOPP course are offered at Great Falls College MSU and/or  Great Falls High School.
  3.  Rural Hi-Line: TOPP courses will be offered online. Opportunities to connect virtually will be utilized to support the teaching and learning process.

Contact Information

Havre School District Position Email
Dustin Ratliff High School Counselor
Mandy Nitz Teacher EDU 201
Brad Moore Assistant Superintendent
Great Falls School District    
Beckie Frisbee Secondary Curriculum Program Coordinator
Heather Hoyer Assistant Superintendent
Great Falls College MSU    
Leanne Frost Executive Director of Instruction
Cynthia Stevens Fine Arts/Humanities Faculty
Teresa White VISTA TOPP Program Expansion Coordinator
Curtis Smeby  TOPP Project Coordinator

Request Information

For more information, visit MSUN Admissions or Great Falls College MSU Admissions or submit a request below: