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More English Learners Move Into Rural Schools

The population of English learners has been increasing in North Dakota schools — most recently in rural districts.

“It’s growing. The need there is growing,” said Lyle Krueger, executive director of the Missouri River Educational Cooperative, one of eight regional education associations in the state. The MREC is comprised of 37 school districts in south-central North Dakota.

In rural districts, Krueger said the numbers are sporadic. They may not have an English learner for years; then, when they do, they are often at a loss to offer help.

“They need the assistance,” Krueger said.

During the 2015-16 school year, 78 districts in North Dakota had English learners, according to Lodee Arnold, administrator of EL programs for the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. In 2011-12, that number was 69.