DAVIES DASH FUN RUNS on MAY 3

The Davies Parent Teacher Student Association encourages students and community members to run for a good cause. They are hosting 5K and 10K Fun Runs open to all ages and fitness levels, and will award a “Spirit” trophy to the school with the most participants.

young runners in a cross country track race jump off starting line as a group

The First Annual Davies Dash, hosted by the Davies High School Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), will be held on Saturday, May 3 at 9:00 a.m. at Davies Stadium Field, 7150 South 25th Street, with registration beginning at 8:00 a.m.

The Davies Dash features both 5K and 10K distance “fun runs” that are open to community runners and walkers of all fitness levels. All proceeds from the event will benefit North Dakota Special Olympics and Davies PTSA. The school with the most participants will receive the Davies Dash Spirit Award, along with a traveling trophy.

Online registration is available through May 2 at www.daviesadash.com. All runners will receive a t-shirt and participation medal. There are registration pricing discounts for early registration as well as for student runners. Registration will also be open on race day, beginning at 8:00 a.m., with race starts scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Registration fees on the day of the event will be $35 for the 5K run and $40 for the 10K run.

Event sponsors are Bell State Banks and Trust, Bee Seen Embroidery and Promotions, Kevin Ihry Chiropractic, Kilbourne Group, Network Center, and State Farm Insurance.

More information about the Davies Dash event can be found online at www.daviesdash.com.

The Power of the Playwright’s Pen

Kevin Kennedy is a Fargo Public Schools teacher who is also a playwright; he’s crafted several one-act plays dealing with news events and social issues affecting teenagers.

There’s a playwright in our midst. One that channels current news items and relevant social issues through his pen, into one-act plays, to be experienced on the stage and beyond.

Photo portrait of Kevin KennedyMeet Kevin Kennedy, Theatre Arts and English instructor at South High School, and the drama director for the school’s plays and musicals—and a playwright.

 

 

 

Cutting Through was recently written by Kennedy and performed by the students of South. It is a one-act play that deals with the issue of self-harm. A girl is struggling with the unrealistic expectations of her mother and she begins cutting herself as a form of relief from the pressure. She eventually finds help by going to therapy and realizing that others struggle with similar issues.

Teenagers sitting in a row of chairs.

Kennedy wrote the one-act in about 72 hours, spread out over a two-week period in March. He actually auditioned the show’s student cast with only 18 of the final 35 pages of script written out.

Although he didn’t pen the one-act until recently, Kennedy began to form the idea for this play in 2006, after talking with a student who shared her own cutting experiences. “I was caught off-guard by her story and the scars she showed me. I was surprised by how pervasive cutting was among the students—then, and it still is—and I wanted to do something that would tackle the issue,” said Kennedy. “Cutting affects all kids, and it’s done by all types of kids, even the straight-A student you think has it all together.”

Teen boy shows branded arm to other teens.The world premiere of Cutting Through was on March 28 in the South High Theatre for an evening performance open to the whole school. It was then performed as South High Drama Department’s entry in the Fargo Area Theatre Festival, held at Davies High School on April 1.

Kennedy has already received requests for performances of Cutting Through in other school districts throughout the region, although he is not ready to take the show on the road. “I did write this play to raise awareness about the issue of cutting. I want teens to understand they are not alone in dealing with whatever difficult issues they are facing. Theatre does seem to be the one arena that can show some universality of experience to audiences. After seeing an issue dealt with on the stage, hopefully an audience member can take the next step towards help and healing.”

Kennedy has written three other one-act plays:
The Prodigal Son is about a father who leaves all of his inheritance to only one son. It highlights the struggles of a family trying to hold itself together (written and performed in 2006);

A Class Divided is about high school cliques and being part of the group as observed during a school shooting lockdown situation (written and performed in 2007);

A Row of White Crosses chronicles two high school girls in the state debating finals, deliberating the validity of the war in Afghanistan. The audience discovers the real cost of war is the turmoil for soldiers’ families who are left behind (written and performed in 2013).

Mother looks over daughter's shoulder, who is reading a book.Kennedy has plans to publish them all—when he can find the time. They are all in various stages of rewriting to polish them up following their live performance. Kennedy also has an idea kicking around in his head for a full-length play (typically 90+ pages) that he’d like to write; this one’s a comedy.

Kennedy has taught and directed for the theatre at various schools throughout Minnesota prior to joining the Fargo Public School District staff at South High in August 2013.

For this playwright, it turns out his pen just might be mightier than a sword.

All images shown are from Cutting Through, performed by South High School students. Photos by Kevin Kennedy.

Fargo School District Announces Administrator of the Year

Washington Elementary Principal Dana Carlson has been named the Fargo Public School District 2014 Administrator of the Year. Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Schatz made the surprise announcement and award presentation at an assembly in the Washington Elementary School gymnasium on Monday afternoon to all students, staff, and several invited guests.

photo portrait of Mr. Dana CarlsonAn alumnus of St. John’s University (Minnesota) and NDSU, Carlson began his employment with the Fargo Public School District in 2008, as principal of Clara Barton-Hawthorne Elementary School. He became the principal at Washington Elementary in 2011. Carlson began his educational career in Jamestown, ND, first as a classroom teacher and coach, then education coordinator, and as an elementary school principal from 1995 to 2007.

Dana Carlson’s selection for Administrator of the Year was based on many glowing letters of recommendation that all highlight Carlson’s exemplary attitudes and behaviors as a leader and advocate for education.

Carlson is described as a positive and visionary leader, one who is team-oriented, upbeat, insightful, filled with integrity, and dedicated to building relationships of trust and mutual respect. He can often be heard saying, “Good work, partner!” to his Washington staff, as he truly considers each staff member a partner in delivering quality educational experiences in a caring environment to students. Comments on Carlson’s leadership style included phrases such as: “Everyone feels valued and listened to.” “He has created a unified vision for our entire school.” A former Fargo Public Schools superintendent said of Carlson, “He is one of our aces.”

Parents and staff members tell how through Carlson’s leadership, the teachers, parents, and students have become a “Washington family.” The beliefs of the school are displayed throughout the building and all aspire to live up to them, promoting a positive environment. Carlson visits classrooms to read stories, teach lessons, and greet students. He can often be found eating his lunch with the students. He writes thank you notes to students and staff “caught” modeling good behavior and congratulatory notes for achievements. He is an involved and approachable administrator, focused on the success of all. One of the Washington teachers shared, “I firmly believe that we will accomplish many great things under Dana Carlson’s guidance.”

Washington Elementary Principal Dana Carlson, Fargo Public School District’s 2014 Administrator of the Year Award recipient, makes a real and positive difference in the lives of the students, families, and staff at Washington Elementary School and the Fargo Public School District.

This is the first time the “Administrator of the Year” award has been given. Moving forward, the honor will become an award regularly bestowed as part of the District’s annual Staff Recognition Program. The District also annually recognizes “Support Staff of the Year” and a “Teacher of the Year” as part of this program. Robert Wilson, South High School proctor, was recently named 2014 Support Staff of the Year; Roosevelt Elementary teacher Wendy O’Meara was recently named the District’s 2014 Teacher of the Year.

Fargo School District Announces Teacher of the Year Recipient

Roosevelt Elementary School fourth grade teacher Wendy O’Meara is the 2014 Fargo Public Schools Teacher of the Year. Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Schatz and Principal Kim Colwell made the surprise announcement during an assembly in the gymnasium on Friday, April 11 to all students, staff and invited guests.

photo portrait of Wendy O'MearaAn alumnus of the Fargo School District and Minnesota State University-Moorhead, O’Meara began her teaching career with the Fargo Public Schools in 1989. She has been both a third and fourth grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary. She received her master’s degree in K – 12 Level Curriculum and Instruction from St. Thomas University.

O’Meara’s selection as Teacher of the Year was based heavily on the large volume of letters praising O’Meara received from across the District. The enthusiastic testimonials—from colleagues, administrators, and parents—paint a portrait of a teacher who is passionate about and dedicated to her profession, has established a caring classroom culture, and believes all students have the capacity to learn and be successful.

Parents wrote about O’Meara’s commitment to each student. They spoke of learning experiences tailored to individual students, to ensure their academic growth and success. Students leave her classroom full of self-confidence, and empowered to determine their own successful future. One parent shared how O’Meara took immediate action to help her daughter overcome a negative peer situation. Another family has requested that all five of their children be assigned to O’Meara because of the positive, caring, and character-filled learning experience she provides in her classroom.

Colleagues also describe O’Meara as a true collaborator. She has participated on and at times led the Roosevelt Character Committee since its inception. She also organizes Horace Mann-Roosevelt’s monthly school-wide character education rallies, and involves both peers and students in the presentations. Her service to the District has included
co-chair of school improvement and study committees, serving on curriculum task forces, and being a student teacher guide and new teacher mentor. “Her door is always open to students of all ages,” wrote one colleague.

Wendy O’Meara has been selected as the 2014 Teacher of the Year because she is a competent, passionate, positive, dedicated, collaborative, enthusiastic, committed, and consummate teaching professional.

O’Meara follows North High School teacher David Midgarden as the District’s recipient of this honor. Her name will now be forwarded to the North Dakota Department of Instruction as a candidate for the North Dakota Teacher of the Year, awarded in the fall.

Fargo School District Announces 2 Administration Assignments

The Fargo Public Schools announces today the assignment of the Director of Special Education and Student Support Services and the Assistant Principal for Discovery Middle School.

photo portrait of Patricia CummingsPatricia Cummings has been named the Director of Special Education and Student Support Services for the Fargo Public School District. Cummings will assume her new position on July 1, and will replace outgoing Director John Yates, who is retiring.

Cummings is an alumnus of Minnesota State University-Moorhead. She has been the assistant principal at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School since June 2012. Cummings is the co-leader of Carl Ben Eielson’s school improvement committee and data team, as well as overseeing the CBE Special Education staff. Prior to Cumming’s position as assistant principal, she was the speech language pathologist at Carl Ben Eielson from 2006 to 2012 and the Asperger’s coach for the entire District. During this time she developed a social skills class for students with Asperger’s. Cummings began her education career with Fargo Public Schools as a speech language pathologist at Agassiz Middle School in 1996. She is also the parent of a child with disabilities, so understands firsthand the important role special education and support services play in the lives of these students and their families.

Cummings holds a master’s degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. She earned her administrative credentials through Tri-College University.

photo portrait of Amy HerrickAmy Herrick has been named to the position of assistant principal at Discovery Middle School. Herrick has been serving as interim assistant principal at Discovery since November, 2013, when she replaced Assistant Principal Michael Beaton, who became the assistant principal and activities coordinator at South High School.

Herrick is an alumnus of Minnesota State University-Moorhead. She began her education career in 2002 as a visual arts instructor with the Fargo Public Schools. During her 12-year tenure as an instructor, Herrick has also served as the art club advisor at South High and Discovery, Discovery international fun club advisor, Discovery summer school site administrator and girls track coach for three years, and as a mentor in the student teacher and practicum student program. At the District level, she has served on the Visual Arts Study and School Improvement Monitoring Committees, and the Quality Assurance Review Team.

Herrick holds a master’s degree in Education Administration, K – 12 Level and a Bachelor of Science degree in K – 12 Art Education from Minnesota State University-Moorhead.

Fargo School District Announces Administrative Assignment

The Fargo Public School District today announced the assignment of the McKinley Elementary School Principal.

Photo portrait of Tanya Wrigley-LingleTanya Wrigley-Lingle has been named to the position of principal at McKinley Elementary School. She is currently the principal for Clara Barton Hawthorne Elementary School.
Wrigley-Lingle will assume her new position for the 2014-15 school year, and will replace outgoing McKinley Principal Dawn Streifel, who is set to retire in June.

Wrigley-Lingle is a graduate of University of North Dakota.  She began her teaching career in 1993 at Longfellow Elementary school as a second grade teacher.  In her 21 years with the Fargo Public School District, Wrigley-Lingle has also taught third and fifth grades at Centennial and Bennett Elementary Schools, and sixth grade at Discovery Middle School. In addition, Wrigley-Lingle has also served as a middle level team leader and as building co-chair for North Central Accreditation at two schools, along with various other school-level and District committees. In 2008, she took the position of assistant principal at Clara Barton-Hawthorne Elementary School. In 2010, Wrigley-Lingle accepted her current position of principal at Clara Barton-Hawthorne Elementary.

Wrigley-Lingle holds a master’s degree in K – 12 Level Curriculum and Instruction from University of St. Thomas and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from University of North Dakota. In addition, she received her administration credentials from North Dakota State University.

Fargo School District Names Support Staff of Year Recipient

South High School Proctor Robert “Rob” Wilson has been named the Fargo Public School District 2014 Support Staff of the Year at a surprise assembly at the school today.

Rob Wilson walking through crowd of studentsSuperintendent Dr. Jeffrey Schatz, along with South Principal Dr. Todd Bertsch, made the surprise announcement and award presentation at an assembly in the South High gymnasium this morning to all students, staff, and several invited guests.

Portrait photo of Rob WilsonAn alumnus of North Dakota State University, Wilson began his employment with the Fargo Public School District in August of 2010 as a South High School proctor, where he continues to serve the District. Wilson is a retired Fargo Fire Department Captain and Assistant Chief, and a 30-year veteran fire fighter. While with the Fargo Fire Department, Wilson was responsible for many of the Department’s programs, including training, safety certification, and public activities. During his time with the Fire Department, he also worked with Fargo School District officials to create the District’s hazardous materials and emergency evacuation protocols. All of these experiences make Wilson an outstanding District employee whose job responsibilities require him to interact with people, command respect, and on occasion deal with emergency situations.

Rob Wilson’s selection for Support Staff of the Year was based on testimony from many individuals, who all share a similar impression of Wilson. They describe him with words like honor, compassionate, integrity-filled, kind, caring, trustworthy, positive, smiling, and mentor. Wilson’s personalized interest in and engagement with the students at South has earned him the students’ respect, and they often look to him for advice and guidance. One colleague recently shared, “I am thankful to have Rob’s knowledge, experience, positive mental attitude, and exemplary work ethic at Fargo South High every day. He is a trusted colleague, friend, and role model to many.”

Others at South High share stories of Wilson’s willingness to go above-and-beyond the call of his job. One South teacher relates, “When Rob heard that a group of our students were in need of winter clothing, I found bags of brand new hats, gloves, scarves and coats in my office within days. He paid for it all himself. The items he bought met a very real need.” Another colleague tells of bumping into Wilson at a local retailer where Wilson was buying shoes for a student wrestler who could not afford the purchase, which he then donated to the player’s coach anonymously. The colleague finished with, “Rob doesn’t look for repayment or acknowledgement, he just wants to help others any way he can.”

Rob Wilson, Fargo Public School District’s 2014 Support Staff of the Year Award, makes a real and positive difference in the lives of the students and staff at South High School.

Dr. Bertsch, Robert Wilson, Jeanette Wilson, Dr. Schatz

 

Pictured, L to R are Dr. Bertsch, Robert Wilson, his wife Jeanette Wilson,  and Dr. Schatz following the surprise announcement.

 

This is the first time the “Support Staff of the Year” award has been given. Moving forward, the honor will become an award regularly bestowed as part of the District’s annual Staff Recognition Program. The District also annually recognizes an “Administrator of the Year” and a “Teacher of the Year” as part of this program.

FPS Named “Best Place” for Music Education

The Fargo Public Schools music education program is in elite company, and has been recognized once again or its commitment to excellence.

NAMM Foundation Best Communities logoThe Fargo Public Schools has been named to the NAMM Foundation’s “Best Communities for Music Education.” The designation acknowledges schools and districts across the nation for their commitment to assure music education is part of the core curriculum, and for offering students access to a quality, comprehensive music education. This is the 13th year in a row the District has been named to the “Best Communities” list since the national survey debuted in 1999.

NAMM’s annual survey to receive their “Best Communities” designation evaluates several criteria, including funding levels, staffing of highly qualified teachers, commitment to standards-based curriculum, professional development, providing access to music education, and use of technology.

band classStudents in the Fargo Public Schools receive high levels of music instruction on a weekly basis due to the design of its music curriculum and staff commitment. Through highly-qualified teachers (more than 50 percent hold a master’s degree or higher), FPS students in grades Kindergarten – 5 spend 100 minutes per week in music instruction. Middle school students (grades 6 – 8) have sectional instruction every other day and large group instruction every third day, while high school (grades 9 – 12) music instruction occurs daily. More than 45 percent of students in grades 7 – 12 (where music becomes an elective course) choose music courses as a part of their annual experience in the Fargo Public Schools.

More than 2,000 schools participated in this year’s survey; only 376 schools received the designation. Additional information about the award, including a list of all the designated communities for 2014, may be found online at www.nammfoundation.org.

Are YOU the next candidate for the Fargo Board of Education?

Five terms on the Fargo Board of Education expire in June. Are you ready to make a difference in your community and serve as a Board member?

Residents of the Fargo School District who are 18 years of age or older and are interested in running for election for one of the five postions open on the Fargo Board of Education are invited to attend a Candidate Information Session on Tuesday, April 1 at 5:00 p.m. in the Fargo Public Schools District Office Board Room, located at 415 North 4th Street. Eligible parties are welcome to attend to find out more about the role and responsibility of the Board and to ask questions.

If interested in running for election, a person must declare their intent to run for election and file for candidacy by Monday, April 7 at 4:00 p.m.

Members of the 2013-14 Fargo Board of Education

Fargo Public Schools has had a Board of Education since the founding of its first public school in 1874. Learn more about the Board’s primary role, assignments, and tasks through the Fargo Board of Education link.

If you are interested in running for the Board of Education, please download the documents listed below for completion; they are also available for pick up at the District Office.  Completed applications must to be submitted by the deadline to the Fargo Public Schools Business Office, located at the District Office, 415 North 4th Street, Fargo ND, 58102.

The Board positions currently held by Board president Dinah Goldenberg, Linda Boyd, Rusty Papachek, Rick Steen, and Kris Wallman will be up for election.  The Fargo Board of Education election will be held TUESDAY, JUNE 10, 2014.  Terms are for four years.

The Board meets in regular session on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month except in July and December, when one meeting is held on the second Tuesday. Board members receive a monthly salary of $1,000 for their service.

Tribute to a Colleague

Officer Wes Libner, a resource officer with the Fargo Public Schools stationed at South High, pays tribute to one of his South High colleagues, for their dedication and service to the students and staff of the school.

Tribute to a Colleague Who Makes A Difference
by Officer Wes Libner, South High School SRO
Wes.Libner@fargo.k12.nd.us

As a School Resource Officer (SRO) for the Fargo Public School District, I would like to address how one certain individual at Fargo South High School has a huge, positive impact on the safety and overall daily operation of South High.

There are all kinds of references for them: the “go to” guy, utility man, the backbone of the organization, or your “old reliable.” I’m referring to those people in an organization that you can always count on. They are the ones who are there, day-in and day-out, doing the job that often times may be the least desirable. Yet, they are the ones doing the job that the organization relies on to function as efficiently as possible. These are the people that when they are gone, their absence is felt and you are just hoping to get through the days ahead until they return. They are usually a wealth of information because they are out there every day, talking and dealing with the customers or the ones you are serving, in this case, the students.

In my second year as SRO at South High School, I have come to learn the school is filled with exceptionally talented individuals, both on staff and in the student body. There are a number of people that deserve praise. One particular individual, however, in my opinion is crucial to the effective and efficient operation of the school itself on any given day. This individual just seems to have all the good qualities. This person does a job that is tough to measure in terms of success and impact, other than when they are not doing what it is they do so well, you feel their absence.

As a police officer, I look at this person as my backup, as the person I want by my side in a tough or challenging situation at South High School. For me as a person, this individual has always treated me with respect, and gone out of their way to help me in any way possible. In the two years I have been at South, not one holiday has passed where this individual failed to extend me an invitation to join their family in celebration. I have seen firsthand this person go beyond the call of duty to help students. I have seen this individual, on several occasions, spend their own money to provide things for students who may otherwise not have a chance to participate. This may range from an ice cream sundae in the lunch room for a charitable cause, all the way up to providing a letterman’s jacket. It’s a name I hear called more times over the school radio in any given week than any other name in the school.

We have had serious situations and medical emergencies unfold during my time at South High. I have been extremely thankful to have this individual by my side in those situations. Their presence has given me confidence and assurance that we were doing our very best to resolve the situation at hand. This person has served as a trusted partner.

Officer Libner stands with Rob WilsonSo, as a police officer, and as a friend, I would like to say thank you to Rob Wilson, Fargo South High School proctor, retired Fargo Fire Department captain, friend, and role model to so many. I know if I had told Rob I was going to write this article or ask his permission, he would have said no. But, some stories just need to be told. In this case, I thought it better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. Like most firefighters and police officers, Rob and I occasionally banter back and forth out of fun about who is better: cops or firemen? But the truth is, I am thankful to have Rob’s knowledge, experience, positive mental attitude and work ethic at Fargo South every day, and I bet I am not alone.

If you are ever at South High, and some short (sorry, Rob, I couldn’t resist), friendly guy comes up to you and asks if he can help, don’t forget to tell him “Thanks!” for the great job he does at the school, for taking great care of the kids, and for making South High a better and safer school.