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Governor's Summit on Innovative Education Highlights Progress
North Dakota Ag Connection - 06/08/2018

Gov. Doug Burgum, State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and education leaders from across the state Thursday highlighted the progress made during the past year to transform education in North Dakota at the second annual Governor's Summit on Innovative Education at Northern Cass School near Hunter.

"Last year we challenged educators and school districts to transform education to address the opportunities and demands of the 21st century, and that innovation is now on display all over the state," Burgum said. "We have the ideas, the people and the momentum we need to make North Dakota the nation's leader in education. While there is more work to be done, we are making great progress, and we must continue to empower people on the front lines to keep innovating."

Nearly 500 people registered for summit events including a 30 Hour Challenge that began Wednesday and carried into today, with about 50 participants presenting their solutions to current challenges in education. Attendees heard from more than a dozen presenters today and engaged in breakout sessions in the afternoon.

"As we encourage innovation in our North Dakota schools, it was heartening to see hundreds of educators and state leaders gather at Northern Cass School to share their enthusiasm and exchange ideas with their peers," Baesler said. "We were able to showcase many of the dynamic projects and initiatives that are occurring across our state. It is evidence that teachers are working hard every day to inspire students to learn about things in their passion areas."

Among the presenters was Northern Cass Superintendent Cory Steiner, who emphasized the need to transform education and highlighted the district's efforts to personalize learning. Northern Cass was the first district to submit a "Senate Bill 2186" plan, named for the bill passed by the 2017 Legislature and signed by Gov. Burgum that 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.

"We have the skills and the technology and all of the pieces right here in this room to do things differently," said Steiner, who serves on the Innovative Education Task Force announced at last year's summit in Bismarck. "This is not something we do as individuals. This is something we do together."

The first-ever #InnovativeND Awards also were presented during the summit:

- Frontline Innovation Award: Brian Price, Darryl Duttenhefner and Staceyann Ziemann, Bismarck Public Schools Vision 2030 team

- Student Leadership Award: Abrar Sharfi, Fargo South High sophomore

- Collaborative Culture Award: Kindred Elementary School

- System Transformation Award: New Rockford-Sheyenne School District.

The free summit was sponsored by the Governor's Office, the state Department of Public Instruction and the Bush Foundation.

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