Partnership Strengthens Math, Science, English Education

BISMARCK, N.D., July 25, 2017 – State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said more than 180 North Dakota teachers from across the state are sharpening their classroom skills this week at a workshop dedicated to improving their ability to teach math, science and English.
The event is part of a comprehensive teaching improvement program, offered by the nonprofit National Math + Science Initiative, which is benefiting North Dakota teachers in grades three through 12. Called the “Laying the Foundation” program, it is designed to help teachers become better instructors and more knowledgeable about the subjects they teach. It is open to any North Dakota teacher, and the normal $725 registration cost is waived.
“Laying the Foundation” training sessions offer instruction by expert teachers, hands-on participation in classroom settings, and suggested lesson plans designed to grab the attention of students. These include the use of algebra and geometry to calculate the number of rubber bands needed for a Barbie doll to make a safe bungee jump, and illustrating the biological concept of natural selection by using different flavors of cheese crackers.
The program is supported by both private and public funds. This is the third consecutive summer that North Dakota has hosted NMSI’s “Laying the Foundation” teacher training sessions. Baesler worked to bring NMSI’s programs to North Dakota in 2015, and the superintendent has been successful in obtaining the Legislature’s financial support for NMSI during the 2015 and 2017 legislative sessions.
NMSI programs have been used in 40 states across the country. Research has shown the NMSI training strengthens teachers’ classroom skills, improves student learning and test results, and better prepares students to succeed in both college and the workforce.
A separate NMSI effort, called the College Readiness Program, is expanding to eight North Dakota high schools during the 2017-18 school year after its initial launch at five high schools last year. It will be offered this fall at Bismarck High School, Devils Lake High School, Mandan High School and West Fargo High School, as well as Central and Red River high schools in Grand Forks, Northern Cass High School in Arthur, and South High School in Fargo.
The College Readiness Program is intended to boost student participation in Advanced Placement course work in math, science and English, through extensive training and support for both teachers and students. The AP curriculum gives high school students the opportunity to take college-level class work in biology, computer science, English literature and other subjects.


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