NMSI Invests $13 Million in ND AP Classes

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Advanced Placement (AP) classes often help students prepare for college degrees, by letting them earn college credit in high school.

Unfortunately, most of the state's schools don't offer them.

The National Math and Science Institute (NMSI), education leaders and government officials gathered at Legacy High School Thursday morning to announce a $13 million investment in North Dakota's students.

NMSI's College Readiness Program would give many more students the opportunity to succeed in AP classes over the next several years.

According to the NMSI, students who take AP classes are much more likely to have a higher GPA in college and finish in four years.

The organization's program boosts student scores by 10 times the national average, giving children more choices after high school.

"I'm not in this job to create workers for the world, to be honest with you. I'm in this job to create choice ready kids. Kids who can choose what career they want. Kids who can chose the post-secondary training they want," said Tamara Uselman, Bismarck Public Schools superintendent.

"North Dakota is leading the nation in so many areas and we need to prepare our young people for highly specialized jobs so we can continue to lead the way," said Kirsten Baesler, state superintendent.

Students at Legacy High can take a variety of AP classes, but this is one of the few schools in the state that actually offers them. Only about 25 percent of schools in North Dakota offer the AP courses. This partnership hopes to triple that number.

"It's a perfect partnership with us with the leadership and the sense of community and wanting the students to do well," said Gregg Fleisher, NMSI chief academic officer.

ExxonMobil and XTO Energy are funding the project. They have a vested interest in helping today's students ease North Dakota's workforce problems in the future.

The money will go toward training teachers, buying materials and more.

The College Readiness Program will officially begin next fall in 11 of the state's biggest districts.

Those include Belcourt, Bismarck, Devil's Lake, Dickinson, Fargo, Grand Forks, Jamestown, Mandan, Minot, West Fargo and Williston.

The NMSI hopes to expand to the state's more rural areas within three years.