Lessons from North Dakota Rural Districts that Closed the Achievement Gap

REL Central presented at the North Dakota Fall Educators Conference in Bismarck, ND on October 14, 2016.

In response to a request from North Dakota Rural Education Research Alliance (RERA) Committee Members, Regional Educational Laboratory- Central (REL-Central) researchers identified districts in the state of North Dakota who were successful at narrowing or closing achievement gaps between students who are eligible for receiving Free or Reduced Price Lunch and those who were not. The analyses examined outcomes including ACT scores and North Dakota State Assessment Scores in multiple content areas (reading, mathematics, science, language, and composite scores). Data were collected for the past 5-7 years.

As part of the work, REL Central Researchers Stephany Brown and Emma Espel facilitated a session at the North Dakota Fall Educators Conference in Bismarck, ND on October 14, 2016. Representatives from four of the 15 districts that were identified for narrowing or closing the achievement gaps shared practices in which they have engaged that may have led to these outcomes. For example, districts shared instructional, professional development, and community engagement strategies that they believed to support the academic success of students eligible for FRL. Panelists included Anita Erickson from Burke Central Public School District, Vicki Held from North Star Public School District, Terri Jangula and Pat Stein from Napoleon Public School District, and Brenda Schaefer from McClusky Public School District. REL Central has conducted similar analyses and presented at conferences in four other states including Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, and South Dakota. For more information about the study, check out this publication [link: https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/central/pdf/REL_2016130.pdf].

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Panelists presenting (left to right): Vicki Held, Anita Erickson, Pat Stein, Terri Jangula, and Brenda Schaefer.

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