Burgum announces 2018 Innovative Education Summit, awards and SB 2186 challenge

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 3:30pm

Gov. Doug Burgum today announced the 2018 Governor’s Summit on Innovative Education, to be held in June, along with an Innovative Education challenge and awards that will be presented at the summit. The awards will highlight themes of innovation, collaboration, systems transformation and student leadership.

Burgum made the announcements during a luncheon keynote with State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and innovative education advocate and philanthropist Ted Dintersmith at the annual Fall Educators Conference hosted by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.

The governor also announced an innovation challenge to school districts, calling for submission of at least 20 “Senate Bill 2186” plans by the start of the 2018 school year. SB 2186 gives school districts, working with local school boards, the flexibility to submit innovative education plans that provide more local control to meet their schools’ individual needs.

Burgum, Baesler and Dintersmith were joined by ExxonMobil Program Officer for Corporate Citizenship Kerri Briggs and National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) CEO Matthew Randazzo, who shared highlights of a $13 million investment that was made by ExxonMobil in NMSI teacher training and provides increased availability and incentives for high school students to take advanced placement (AP) courses. The training is available to educators statewide in grades 3-12, and focuses on increasing access and achievement in rigorous, high-quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) content.

For the 2016-17 school year, North Dakota students increased their number of qualifying scores on AP math, science and English exams by 36 percent – the highest percentage increase among all states and double the increase in the District of Colombia, which had the next highest percentage increase.

AP qualifying scores give valuable college credits to high school students, which has saved $3.5 million in college tuition for North Dakota families.

“Our educators, parents, administrators, business leaders and community leaders recognize that transforming our educational system to meet the needs of a rapidly changing, global economy is vital to our students’ success and North Dakota’s future,” said Burgum. “The emphasis on STEAM curriculum, which includes arts, as well as hands-on, experiential learning involving real-world problem-solving and teamwork, is an important aspect of this transformation. We are grateful to NMSI and ExxonMobil for their partnership and generous investment in North Dakota’s schools.”

“This partnership has transformed the way teachers think about the relevancy of coursework and its ability to transform the learning experience for our students,” said Baesler. “We aren’t waiting to innovate – and our sense of urgency is high to empower teachers in every classroom to create impactful learning opportunities that reflect a strong STEM foundation.”

“North Dakota has a tremendous educational ecosystem, and the dedication by state and local leaders to implement innovative practices will make a positive impact on your students’ success in a 21st century economy,” said Dintersmith. “It is exciting to be part of this transformation and to partner with North Dakota as a national leader in innovative education.”

Dintersmith also announced a website dedicated to providing best practices in innovative education in the form of videos and real-world examples. The website, www.NDPlaylist.org, which will go live Oct. 14, will be a valuable resource for educators to explore innovative practices to implement in their own classrooms.

Today's luncheon followed the first meeting of the Innovative Education Task Force at the Capitol. The 15-member Task Force will help provide direction on how state government can empower districts to adopt student-centric learning practices designed to empower students to be contributing global citizens and lifelong learners.

More information on the awards, including how to submit nominations, will be available in the coming weeks.

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