Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

State school superintendent Kirsten Baesler has launched a new “strategic visioning process” – with a goal of strengthening public education in North Dakota.

Baesler said this will involve various state educational agencies and education groups.

"There are a lot of things going on right now in North Dakota," Baesler said. "Each agency is working very hard."

But Baesler said right now,the agencies are going in their own direction.

Burgum starting education innovation task force

Sep 13, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum is creating a task force on Innovation in Education.

Burgum said the current educational system – which has been in place for generations – is at a crossroads.

"The traditional model, which was a 'one-to-many,' classroom-focused, book-centric approach is not really reflective of the tools we have available in the 21st century," Burgum told reporters. "That's not the most effective approach."

Burgum said the task force will look at ways schools can turn out students who are problem solvers. He said it will consist of 11 to 15 members.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

More than 150 teachers from across North Dakota gathered at Bismarck's Legacy High School for a "hands-on" training session.

The session was sponsored by the National Math and Science Initiative. It was designed to give teachers some real world exercises they could use in their classrooms.

In one classroom at Legacy, teachers were asked to make boxes out of paper and adhesive tape. The goal: to estimate the volume of material the box could hold.

'Innovative Education' summit held in Bismarck

Jun 9, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Teachers, principals, school board members, legislators and business-people met in Bismarck for the “Governor’s Summit on Innovate Education.”

The summit was called to look at new and different ways to provide education to school age children. Burgum has said schools have to think outside the traditional 50-minute period, teachers-lecturing and standardized test taking.

Bismarck middle school wins DPI Innovation Award

Apr 12, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A science class at Simle Middle School in Bismarck is the first winner of the Department of Public Instruction’s Innovation Award.

The eighth grade class is taught by Ryan Townsend. The class has been working on creating a solar-powered mobile phone charging station. It would be specifically designed for homeless people, and would be placed in a city park.

Education groups tout "innovation bill"

Feb 17, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Lawmakers are considering a bill allowing school districts to adopt new and innovative teaching techniques.

It has unanimously passed the Senate – and now awaits House approval. It would require school districts to develop plans with teacher and public input, and submit their ideas to the Department of Public Instruction for approval.

Courtesy ND Legislature

A Bismarck lawmaker has introduced a bill allowing parents to set up “educational savings accounts.”

"It is a bill that could be described as 'The Money Follows the Child," said Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck).

Parents would have to opt out of sending their children to public school. Becker said it’s a school choice bill – that allows parents to save money – tax free -- to send their children to private schools. He said not only does it help families, it will inspire public schools to improve.

Courtesy ND Legislature

Measure two on the November ballot deals with the foundation aid stabilization fund.

That fund is used to make up for any budget allotments to elementary and secondary education ordered by the Governor. Only the Governor can dip into it, and only after an allotment.

In the past year, it has been used twice.

The measure would allow the Legislature to access it – for educational purposes. Opponents said because the measure does not specifically spell out K-12 education, the money could be used for such things as higher education.

Courtesy ND United

Two North Dakota education groups say they are supporting a measure on the ballot that would allow the state Legislature to access money that has been put in the foundation aid stabilization fund.

The fund cannot be accessed until a Governor orders a budget allotment. That fund is then used to make K-12 education whole.

"It is a trapped asset," said ND United president Nick Archuleta. His group -- along with the ND Council of Educational Leaders -- say the measure should pass.

DPI, Higher Ed talking about reducing remedial classes

Sep 27, 2016

K-12 education is working with the state’s colleges and universities to reduce the number of remedial classes college freshmen have to take.

The Department of Public Instruction says the effort has been dubbed “Choice Ready.”

"A piece of that is helping our students make the right choice for themselves," said state school superintendent Kirsten Baesler. She said the goal is to get students on the right path for life after high school.