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Hoeven: Give teachers 'a hug'

Teachers and technology earned praise from North Dakota Gov.

Teachers and technology earned praise from North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven Thursday during a quick stop in Fargo.

Hoeven lauded teachers at Jefferson Elementary, one of Fargo's most ethnically diverse schools, as part of the state's celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week.

Carrying a basket of bright red apples for the school's staff, the governor urged the 260-plus students assembled in the gymnasium to "make sure your teacher gets a hug" of gratitude for their work.

But, he made no promises about what he wants to do for teachers in the next legislative session.

He said he wants to keep the gains in teacher pay through last year and is still taking input on other possible initiatives.

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Hoeven watched as kindergarteners through fifth-graders thanked their teachers using many languages: English, Vietnamese, Bosnian, Albanian, Sudanese, Somalian, Liberian, Kurdish, Spanish, Sioux and Chippewa.

The governor said the state is hoping to receive aid from Congress to help teach the English Language Learners in Fargo's large and diverse immigrant population.

He said the price tag of teaching ELL students is a challenge, but that the end result is a plus because some companies seek diverse cities to call home.

Hoeven also cited a report by Education Week showing that North Dakota is one of the nation's leaders in education technology, saying the state's edge in computer and Internet access will pay dividends for its students.

"We're one of the top states in technology," he said, noting it is the first to have all high schools wired to the Internet. "That is the future. It is exciting."

The state is now moving to integrate software and hardware systems in its K-12 schools, higher education and state government into a seamless system, Hoeven said.

He said he expects Mayville State University and Valley City State University to be online by January.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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