Dickinson High School Principal Kevin Hoherz announced that the school will seek to drop the North Dakota State Assessment in favor of the ACT.
DHS students already take the ACT during their junior year, but they take the state assessment their sophomore year.
During the Dickinson School Board meeting, Monday, Hoherz explained that the school would like to change it so that it uses a version of the same test to assess students each year. In their freshman year, students would take either the Pre-ACT or the ASPIRE test; sophomore year, a paper and pencil, timed, Pre-ACT; their junior year, the ACT.
The option to use the ACT as a state assessment was given by the state in 2017 and about 32 school districts in the state had already made the switch, according to Hoherz.
"We weighed the pros and cons of it. One part of that is it doesn’t meet the standards, but North Dakota had the United States Department of Education do a survey, and it determined that the ACT substantially met the requirements that were locally selected for North Dakota," Hoherz said.
He said the state recommends a three-year commitment and that if they make the switch, all juniors will have to take the ACT unless the administrator gives them an exemption.
"The staff felt by doing this align, we could still monitor student growth but also help our students be more prepared for the ACT as juniors," Hoherz said.
Also during the board meeting, Principal Nicole Weiler of Prairie Rose Elementary told the board about a change in the school's Leader in Me Family Nights, during which the school invites parents to come into the school for activities to learn about the Leader in Me program.
"We’ve kind of tweaked it this year to see if we could get more families tied to it and for a more purposeful reason," she said.
In the past, the family nights were in the evenings after school. This year, they are during the school day from 1:30 to 3 pm.
"We have snacks for them; we do day care during the day with them. They dismiss and take their kid home at the end of the day versus trying to work around all of the sports and things at night," Weiler said.
School board member Michelle Orton asked Weiler about the difference in attendance since the school made the switch. Weiler said that although the school has only had one so far this year, turnout has improved.
"Even that first one was way more successful, and we have more parents signed up for the second one than our first," she said.