While the governor wasn’t present at his innovative education summit due to his invitation to the White House, many other state officials, education experts, and educators themselves were.
Travis Jordan, the Superintendent at Beulah Public Schools talks about why he thinks holding conferences like this one is important for the future of North Dakota’s youth.
He said, “They’ve got to be able to collaborate, communicate, be creative, and critically think. Those are the things that the job market is looking for. So, it doesn’t matter if your rural or urban, but it’s great that we can all come together and conglomerate to see what other things are working in other schools.”
The whole day was packed with speakers, panels, and group discussion. Ted Dintersmith spoke to the group about Finland — a country he says has the best education system in the world. His goal is for North Dakota to out-Finland — Finland.
“North Dakota has all these elements in place that, I mean, they can actually do something in their own way as bold, as audacious, as transformational for their students, for all the North Dakota kids as Finland has done for theirs,” said Dintersmith.
He used Legacy High School as an example of what to do – where student schedules are tailored to their needs. The school’s IT department is made up entirely of students, and they urge collaborative thinking. Dintersmith urges other schools to follow suit.
He added, “These kids are learning, ‘I can make my world better by coming up with solutions that cut across disciplines, trying things that don’t work, recovering from failure, bouncing back, and just persevering until it works.’ That’s what school needs to be.”
Dintersmith also brought up the fact that state legislators, Governor Burgum, and the department of public instruction are encouraging schools to be innovative. He says that’s not the same case for the majority of the U.S.