School board leadership training focuses on student outcomes

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BISMARCK, ND, June 9, 2022 – State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said North Dakota school board members have begun new leadership training sessions, which aim to focus more on the improving the academic performance of their students.

Members of the Carrington, Rugby, Nedrose and Dickinson school boards participated in the two-day program, called North Dakota Be Legendary School Board Leadership Institute. The four school boards were recognized Thursday at the Governor’s Innovative Education Summit at Dickinson. The members of the other school boards should take the training this summer.

The program emphasizes school board adoption of student achievement goals, ways to monitor and measure progress toward those goals, and the promotion of teamwork and advocacy among members. advice.

These goals include:

  • Increase the percentage of North Dakota high schools whose students graduate “Choice Ready,” which is a measure of student proficiency and readiness;
  • Double the percentage of third-grade students who are proficient in reading by the 2025-2026 school year;
  • Reduce achievement gaps for low-income and Native American students by 25% each year for the next five years; and
  • Increase the percentage of students who, in an annual survey, describe themselves as engaged in their learning.

Dustin Hager, chairman of the school board of rugby, said he believes all school boards in North Dakota will benefit from the training. School board members from Rugby and Carrington attended institute together at Rugby High School in April.

“It provides a great learning opportunity. Very often we’re in a silo, we make some of these decisions on our own,” Hager said. “It’s nice to be able to hear some of the struggles and some of the successes neighboring school districts.”

“I think it gave us another look at how we look at writing goals, how we look at student engagement, student performance,” Hager said. “For a long time, we focused a lot on board business and didn’t necessarily pay attention to all of the student achievement goals. This will help us refocus on what is most important.

The Department of Public Instruction has allocated $500,000 in federal COVID-19 recovery assistance for the Be Legendary School Board Leadership Institute and ongoing school board coaching. Between one and three school boards can take the training at a time, with the NDDPI paying half of the total cost, which ranges from $8,700 to $12,500. The school board’s share of expenses ranges from $4,350 for a single board to $2,583 per board if three participate.

Baesler served for nine years on the Mandan School Board, including seven as chairwoman, before being first elected superintendent in 2012.

“Student outcomes don’t change until adult behaviors change,” Baesler said. “A successful school board focuses on what’s best for students instead of focusing on adult problems. This leadership training will reinforce that message.


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