Education | Prairie Public Broadcasting


Bismarck Public Schools

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a problem North Dakota schools have been facing for a while – hiring substitute teachers.

"Often times, substitute teachers are retired teachers, who like to stay involved in education, and make a couple of bucks," said North Dakota United president Nick Archuleta. "They're reinvigorated by hanging around young people. But since many of them are over the age of 60, they're very concerned about substitute teaching, and possibly being infected with the coronavirus."

The director of the state department of Career and Technical Education said offering courses during the recent shutdown of schools has been a challenge.

And Wayde Sick expects the challenge to continue, as school districts are looking at either opening school doors, continuing distance education or a “hybrid model,” combining both on-line and in-person instruction.

"We're going to have to figure out what that looks like, and how we cannot lose the importance of 'hands-on' education that comes in career-tech ed," Sick said.

Governor Doug Burgum says when school was closed this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the first time any such move had ever happened in North Dakota.

He says now - schools will be moving forward with their own plans to deliver education to the state's 120,000 K-12 students. But he says opening schools won't be as easy as closing them.

As UND prepares to re-open its campus, students coming or returning to campus this fall will see some changes, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UND Vice President for Finance and Operations Jed Shivers said the goal is to have a “less dense environment,” to prevent the spread of the virus.

"We're going to have classrooms that have a normal capacity of 100 people be limited to 30 or so, to maintain six feet of social distancing," Shivers said.

At the same time, Shivers said UND wants to make sure faculty will be confident in teaching in the classroom.

The state Board of Higher Education has voted to submit a “needs based budget” to Governor Burgum for consideration, as he prepares his executive budget request for the 2021-2023 biennium.

When Burgum issued his budget guidelines, higher education was asked to reduce its general fund request by 10 percent. That would come in a reduction in higher-ed’s funding formula. That would drop the appropriation to $574.7 million.

MSUM dropping ACT/SAT admission requirement

Jun 30, 2020

Minnesota State University Moorhead has now adopted a “test-optional” admission policy.

That means ACT or SAT scores are no longer a requirement for admission.

MSUM director of undergraduate admissions Tom Reburn said studies have shown the ACT and SAT tests often do not reflect what a student may actually achieve in college.

"When we look at our own data, and understood the students that came to MSU-Moorhead, and found success, we saw a much stronger indication of success actually came from he high school GPA (grade point average)," Reburn said.

The North Dakota State College of Science has completed its formal “action plan” in response to a state audit.

Minot State to modify its tuition model

Jun 22, 2020

Minot State University is making some changes in its tuition model.

It’ll be before the Board of Higher Education later this month.

"When the current model we've been using was first put in,  It was designed to associate on-line and distance education expenses with the revenues, and put them into a separate bucket," said Minot State Vice-President for Administration and Finance Brent Winiger.

Winiger said since that time, on-line education has growin to about a quarter of the classes the University offers.

Thursday, May 28, 2020 - How do school counselors manage to be effective when working with students during distance learning? High school counselor Rachael Meuchel with the McKenzie County Public School District in Watford City shares her experience with Tom Gerhardt, host of the Education Mindset podcast. .~~~ Tom Isern shares a Plains Folk essay titled: “Sheep Country.” ~~~ At the start of the pandemic, some grocery store aisles were crowded, with shelves emptied of basic items. To avoid the mayhem, some shoppers have turned to smaller markets in more rural areas. As Harvest Public Media’s Dana Cronin reports, that’s giving rural grocery stores a boost ~~~ Sue Balcom is here for “Main Street Eats.” Today’s topic is companion planting. ~~~ Chuck Lura shares a Natural North Dakota essay on the clay colored sparrow.

The 2019 Legislature voted to merge the state’s Department of Career and Technical Education with the Center for Distance Education.

The Center for Distance Education manages online course offerings.

State CTE director Wayde Sick called it a good marriage.

"The Center for Distance Ed provides courses broader than just career and technical education," Sick said. "But this will only strengthen what our virtual career-tech ed centers are doing."

Sick said the CDE can use its technology, and CTE can use its curriculum and expertise to reach even more students.