April-May-June 2016

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Competency-Based Education
The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) has had several conversations with districts about competency-based education (CBE). CBE is a system where students advance to higher levels of learning after demonstrating mastery of concepts and skills. Students pass from one level to another based on mastery of skills rather than time spent in a classroom. It enables personalized learning to provide flexibility and support to ensure mastery of the highest standards possible. The new ESSA law brings new opportunities for states, districts, and schools to implement more flexible and innovative activities. There is no doubt that CBE (or other terminology - project based learning, personal learning, and standards based learning) will be part of future discussions.
 
The NDDPI would like to provide opportunities, resources, and avenues to reducing barriers in CBE implementation. We are specifically looking for districts who would be interested in serving as a pilot to implement a CBE model.
 
If your district would be interested in having deeper discussions with the NDDPI on implementing CBE, please contact Gail Schauer, Director in the Office of Teacher and School Effectiveness, at (701) 328-2755.
The NDDPI will schedule a meeting in June with all districts that express interest in pursuing this opportunity.


ND Educator Recruitment and Retention Task Force
The ND Educator Recruitment and Retention Task Force began meeting in June 2015 and was designed to address the teacher shortage in ND and alliance with its educator equity plan. The purpose of the task force is to make recommendations to the State Superintendent and members of the ND Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB) about how to recruit and retain principals and teachers for ND schools.
 
Made up of educational leaders from across ND, the task force has meet about once a month. The first meetings focused on the current state of educator recruitment and retention with the review of data, programs, policies and practices related to the issue.
 
The task force members discussed the strategies purposed in the ND educator equity plan. The ND School Boards Association indicated that they would undertake a marketing campaign aimed at providing the public with information about the teaching profession. Finally, members recommended a hardship waiver for districts to utilize community experts for positions that were still unfilled as the school year began.
 
Members considered opportunities for across-organization collaboration related to the marketing campaign. ND United offered to develop a website promoting the teaching profession, an action plan to gather more data specifically related to long-term recruitment solutions was developed.
 
After reviewing a plethora of data, the task force members developed a list of six solutions. The North Central Comprehensive Center administered a survey to rank the solutions. The solutions proposed include:
  1. A statewide marketing campaign promoting the teaching profession,
  2. An expansion of the loan forgiveness and signing bonus programs in terms of visibility and ability to pay more student loans in exchange for service in a high need area (i.e., rural schools),
  3. Compensation of student teachers,
  4. Enhancement of school climate and culture
  5. The creation of the pool of ‘traveling’ teachers similar to traveling nurses to incentivize working in high need areas such as rural schools
The survey results were reviewed and two solutions were selected to recommend to State Superintendent Baesler and the ESPB. Members began preliminary action planning around the statewide marketing campaign and expansion of loan forgiveness, scholarship and signing bonuses programs as well as increasing teachers’ salaries.
 
The next steps for the ND Educator Recruitment and Retention Task Force are to bring two long-term recruitment solutions to State Superintendent Baesler and the ESPB for approval and begin more detailed action plans to implement these solutions.


Updates from the Office of Teacher and School Effectiveness

Save The Date!
The 2016 Annual School Administrator's Workshop is scheduled for August 3-5, 2016 at the Baymont Inn & Suites in Mandan. Registration will soon be available.
 
Summer School
The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) invites public schools to apply for funding for their state-funded summer school programs. All summer school applications are due to the NDDPI 15 days prior to the start of the summer school program. Schools must apply through the State Automated Reporting System (STARS). The Summer School Programs webpage includes a Summer School MIS03 Reporting Help Document explaining how to apply.
 
Spring Calendars
The STARS Spring Calendar is now open to input the 2015-2016 school calendar. The Spring Calendar report is due by June 15, 2016. The STARS Spring Calendar Help Manual provides guidance in inputting the information. If you have any questions, contact Carol Harmsen at (701) 328-2266.
 
Grade Reconfiguration
Districts generally set grade configurations for their schools and it remains the same year after year (i.e., elementary is grades 1-6 and high school is grades 7-12). However, there are times when a district may decide there are advantages to change the grade configuration. Please keep in mind that any grade reconfigurations must be made prior to August 1, 2016. If you have any questions, contact Carol Harmsen at (701) 328-2266.