- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler has created a new division in the Department of Public Instruction aimed at helping better prepare high school students for college.

State data show about 40 percent of North Dakota high school graduates who attend college need some remedial instruction when they get there. That increases the amount of time it takes for them to get their diplomas - and also increases their college costs, Baesler said.

The new Student Support and Innovation division within DPI will work to ensure that school offerings prepare students for college and the workforce.

“This new division will be dedicated to student support and to fostering innovative ideas in education,” Baesler said. “We cannot expect different results from continuing to do the same things.”

The division will have 21 employees but will not result in a staff increase. Most of the staff are coming from the Educational Success and Community Support division within DPI. The department also has two other divisions: Information and Administrative Support, and School Finance and Organization.

The new division will include three units: Indian and Multicultural Education, Academic Support and Federal Title Programs, which help disadvantaged students. Some of the services within the units include content specialists in math and English, help for students to become fluent in English, and a school improvement grant program to help North Dakota’s lowest-performing schools.

“This will provide more resources, strategies and support to schools to help them support at-risk students,” said Laurie Matzke, the department’s director of federal title programs, who will manage the new division.

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