Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction, paid a visit to Bowman Public School on Dec. 20th. Baesler was graciously welcomed by students, faculty, and the Mayor of Bowman; Lyn James.
By Andy Roehl
Baesler was first given a grand tour of the school and afterwards had the opportunity to sit down and discuss the importance of maintaining vitality in rural schools, supporting college retention, and providing more benefits for teachers.
The state department of public instruction intends to apply a student loan forgiveness program for teachers. This is a greatly desired benefit for most college graduates who, on average, usually end up with a $28,000.00 bill for their degree in teaching. The forgiveness program will strengthen the allure for more teachers to seek job opportunities in rural communities and give more of an incentive to stay in the position long-term.
Another plan of action from Baesler included a project aimed at leveraging the senior year of high school students. Smaller schools, such as Bowman, have a greater ability to identify problems in seniors that may inhibit their freshman year in college. For instance, a student who may not be necessarily ready for college-level curriculum may be at risk of having to take remedial courses, which are not only expensive, but time consuming as well. The leveraging project aims to bring remediation classes into high school and be implemented in a student’s senior year, if necessary. The hopeful outcome is that the remedial classes will better prepare students for college and strengthen them in several aspects of their education. By doing so, college drop-outs will be reduced, and students will be more inclined to succeed without having to worry about retreading old material. AP courses, free of charge, are also set to be in high schools giving students an opportunity to gain college credits ahead of time.
Baesler was delighted to learn more about the community of Bowman and all it has to offer. Students have the access and means to get the education and mentoring they need to succeed. Bowman is a community-minded place that provides several resources for students to improve their education.
“It’s a great school!” Said Baesler, who insisted that Bowman’s school system is a lesson in what North Dakota does right.
Before leaving, Baesler did a meet and greet and was also presented a special t-shirt from the students of Bowman.