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k-12 education

Burgum allows "soft opening" of ND school facilities

May 11, 2020

Governor Doug Burgum has issued an executive order that will allow for a "soft opening" of school buildings for summer activities.

Burgum says over 20,000 students utilized school buildings last summer for various learning programs - and this will give the state an opportunity to continue to make plans for students returning to school in the fall.

"This is about 1/6th of our normal capacity, so this is an opportunity to learn how we can open and how we can manage with smaller numbers, but still very significant numbers."

Bismarck schools ready for distance learning

Mar 30, 2020

Bismarck Public Schools’ distance learning plan has been accepted by the state Department of Public Instruction.

Bismarck is the largest school district in the state, with 13,500 students.

Once Governor Burgum ordered school buildings closed, and told local school districts to work on alternative methods of delivering classes, the district went to work.

"It's a pretty comprehensive plan," said BPS director of professional learning Brittany Upton. "It covers everything from operations, instructional plans, health and wellness."

North Dakota has seen an increase in the graduation rate for Native American students.

State school superintendent Kirsten Baesler said when she was first elected, the Native graduation rate was 57 percent. Now it’s 72 percent. And Baesler said while that is significant progress, there’s more to do.

The overall graduation rate in North Dakota is 89 percent.

Baesler attributes the better numbers for Native American children in part to more engaged school boards.

Goodrich school to co-op with McClusky for grades 7-12

Jan 17, 2020

Come this fall, Goodrich will no longer have its own high school.

It will enter a co-op with McClusky High School.

"Declining enrollment," is the reason given by Goodrich Superintendent and Principal Rodney Scherbenske.

Goodrich will keep a K-6 grade school, and grades 7 to 12 will go to McClusky.

Scherbenske said next year, Goodrich would have had 4 students in 7-12, and he says McClusky would have 15 students.

"Very few kids left in Sheridan County, between both schools," Scherbenske said.

K-12 Coordinating Council meets for the first time

Oct 1, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

It’s called the K-12 Coordination Council.

The Council actually replaces the Education Technology Council. Its mission is to find areas of collaboration among schools, and to identify gaps and duplications in services.

It held its first meeting in Bismarck.

"Excellence is a team sport," Gov. Doug Burgum told the Council. "Innovation is a team sport. Being number one in the country in education is going to require a team sport."

Burgum said it's an opportunity for working together to accomplish things "that maybe haven't been accomplished before."

Baesler appointing 'family engagement cabinet'

Apr 4, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

State school superintendent Kirsten Baesler is setting up a “family engagement cabinet.”

That cabinet would help get families more involved with the education of their children. It would be similar to Baesler's "student cabinet."

Baesler told Capitol reporters parents are very involved in the first five years of their children’s lives.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota education professionals say since the federal “No Child Left Behind” act was replaced by the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” there’s a new attitude and new energy in the classroom.

Critics of “No Child Left Behind” called it punitive in nature, basing measures of success solely on test scores. They said the ESSA replacement focuses on the whole child and how the students learn.

A consultant to the Department of Public Instruction’s statewide k-12 “visioning process” says North Dakota does well in terms of providing education – but there is some room for improvement.  

Martha Taylor Greenway is the president of Greenway Strategy Group. She said she’s working with a group of educational leaders chosen by DPI – and the group is working on a “strategic plan” for K-12 education.

Greenway said the group is looking for a shared vision – to make sure all students are “choice ready.”

North Dakota teachers approve Common Core

Feb 27, 2014

North Dakota's Superintendent of Public Instruction says for the most part, teachers in the state are embracing Common Core Standards.

Kirsten Baesler has been traveling around the state speaking with educators and getting feedback on common core.  DPI also recently wrapped up a survey of educators in North Dakota concerning common core standards, and Baesler says there were over 2-thousand responses, which she says is a remarkable turnout.