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English teachers meet at VCSU to discuss curriculum alignment

June 21, 2013
Pierce County Tribune

Rugby's Leah Johnson was part of a workgroup of 20 high school, college and university English teachers met on the campus of Valley City State University (VCSU) May 28-29 to discuss curriculum alignment.

Johnson heads the language arts and foreign language department at Rugby High School.

The discussion, funded by a grant from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction as part of a pilot project, is designed to help ensure that incoming college students are properly prepared and to help reduce the need for remedial classes in college.

In announcing the pilot project, Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota superintendent of public instruction, said, "The problem is not that our colleges or high schools are doing a bad job teaching our students, but there is insufficient communication between our institutions on a statewide level that has resulted in a misaligned curriculum between high schools and higher education. This project will begin to correct that issue."

"We want to find out where we are and where the gaps are," said Julee Russell, VCSU professor of English and site coordinator for the event. "We hope to provide students with greater opportunity for success."

The group will meet again at VCSU June 24-25 to continue their work, ultimately producing a document which identifies the gaps between the high schools' Common Core State Standards and college/university first-year composition courses, and makes suggestions for adjustments in first-year college English outcomes.

Participating in the alignment workgroup were the following high school English teachers:

Sarah Burger, Northwood High School

Jodi Driscoll, Hazen High School

Julie Froshaug, Velva Public Schools

Candy Lemer, Velva Public Schools

Leah Johnson, Rugby High School

Kristi Mahrer, Wahpeton High School

Shelly Moltzen, Jamestown High School

Jordan Vetter, St. Mary's Central High School

Amy Walker, Mandan High School

College and university English teachers in the workgroup included:

Carolyn Baker, Mayville State University

Greg Brister, Valley City State University

Barb Combs, University of North Dakota

Kimberly Gutierrez, Bismarck State College

Kacie Jossart, Lake Region State College

Lee Kruger, Valley City State University

Ronda Marman, North Dakota State College of Science

Sybil Priebe, North Dakota State College of Science

Amy Rupiper Taggart, North Dakota State University

Julee Russell, Valley City State University

Kelly Sassi, North Dakota State University

In addition to the English workgroup meeting at VCSU, a similar group addressing math curriculum alignment is meeting at Bismarck State College. Jamie Wirth, VCSU math department chair, is part of that group.



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