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Politics & Government

National Math and Science Initiative college readiness program coming to ND

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

The National Math and Science Initiative’s College Readiness Program is launching in North Dakota, thanks in part to a $13 million gift from Exxon Mobil and XTO Energy

The money will be used to enhance education in science, technology, engineering and math – and to help more students take advanced placement courses.

"Without a doubt, AP is one of the most powerful tools we can use to prepare students for college," NMSI chief academic officer Gregg Fleisher told a gathering at Bismarck's Legacy High School. "Over the past couple of years, North Dakota has shown a commitment to increasing AP course offerings, and enhancing professional development opportunities."

State school superintendent Kirsten Baesler says part of the money will go to train teachers for advanced placement classes.

"Teachers in our state are clamoring for this type of professional development," Baesler said.

The money will also go toward expanding AP offerings.

"One of the things that I hear from the 20 members of the state superintendent student cabinet, and from students across the state, is they want more advanced coursework opportunities."

XTO Energy’s Greg Pulliam says there’s a lot of opportunity for students who have STEM education.

"Across this country, jobs go unfilled every day, because we do not have enough candidates with skills to fill them," Pulliam said.

Bismarck School Superintendent Tamara Uselman says this will also help reduce the amount of remedial courses some students have had to take in their first year of college.

"Whenever a student has to take a developmental course in college, they're paying for that course, not only in money, but also in time," Uselman said. "There's an opportunity cost-factor. When you're sitting in a remedial course, you're not sitting somewhere else."

The program will start in the state’s larger school districts – and will expand from there.

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