A Small Gesture with a World of Meaning

As another school year comes to a close, volunteers across the Fargo Public School District have been recognized for their assistance to provide enhanced educational experiences our students. A shy smile, a handshake, a handmade card, and a hug good-bye. Most of the acknowledgements have happened out of the public eye, in a classroom, a school hallway, or even at a building exit. Inadequate “payment” for the selfless giving of time, caring words, and personal attention so many community individuals, businesses, and service organizations have shared with our students.

On behalf of all those students who received and benefited greatly from your donated time, words of encouragement, and undivided attention, we can only say, “Thank You, Volunteer!” Simple words to be sure, but know they contain a world of meaning, full of heartfelt richness.

 

Carrie_Spears_croppedVolunteer Carrie Spears from Park Company Realtors receives a handmade card and token of thanks from her Hawthorne Elementary Lunch Buddy, second grader Tanner McKinnon.

 

 

 

 

 

Krump_and_RudAshley Krump (left) and Mariah Rud (right) from Dawson Insurance, who volunteer as Lunch Buddies for Clara Barton fourth grade students Lulu Espinoza and Kiara Samuel, were awarded plaques of appreciation at their workplace.

 

 

 

 

 

HatField-Clemenson_DiannaMcKinley staff celebrated with their special volunteers on May 14 at a Volunteer Appreciation Day. An award was given to Dianna Hatfield-Clemenson, a Fargo Rotary Club member, who has been a regular Breakfast Buddy for the entire school year. She also worked with Lilana LoneBear, a McKinley fourth grader, to start an after-school book club for other fourth grade students.

2015 Graduation Ceremonies for Fargo Public Schools

Congratulations to this year’s Fargo Public Schools high school graduates! The public is invited to attend the ceremonies scheduled to recognize these graduates and their educational achievements:

Friday, May 29 at 7:00 p.m.
Woodrow Wilson High School
Gymnasium #2, Agassiz Building, 1305 South 9th Avenue, Fargo

Keynote Speaker is Nancy Jordheim, Retired Fargo Public Schools Director of Human Resources. Master of Ceremonies is Caitlyn Day, a Woodrow student. More than 40 graduates are expected to participate in the ceremony.

Sunday, May 31 – All at the Fargo Dome
The following three graduation ceremonies will each be broadcast live on the Fargo Public Schools You Tube channel, accessible through the following link: FPS YouTube Live Events or through each high school’s home page on the District website (listed individually below).

North High School at 12:00 p.m. www.fargo.k12.nd.us/North

Presentation of Colors by the Fargo Public Schools AFJROTC ND Unit #20061.
Nation Anthem sung by senior Chance Olsen.
Welcome and Closing addresses by senior Ashley Blazek.
Student speakers are seniors Beth Podoll and Sarah Tarvestad.
Musical performances by the North High Band under the direction of Brian Tessman, and by the North High Concert Choir under the direction of Shelley Zietz.
There are 223 graduates. 

South High School at 3:00 p.m. www.fargo.k12.nd.us/South

Presentation of Colors by the Fargo Public Schools AFJROTC ND Unit #20061.
Speakers are Kyle Glander (Presider), Anna Lawley (Welcome), Grant Skrove and Laurie Heggedal (Commencement Address), and Michelle Bruer (Closing).
Musical performance of Pomp and Circumstance by the South High Band under the direction of Sebastian Tackling, and Star Spangled Banner and Earth Song by the South Concert Choir under the direction of Sara Lichtblau.
There are 221 graduates.

Davies High School at 6:00 p.m. www.fargo.k12.nd.us/Davies

Presentation of Colors by the Fargo Public Schools AFJROTC ND Unit #20061.
Presiding speaker is senior Austin Braham, and student speaker is senior Adam Vareberg.
Musical performances by the Davies Concert Choir and Vivace Show Choir under the direction of Deb Wald and by the Davies High School Band under the direction of Darcy Brandenburg.
There are 272 graduates.

 

Online Registration Forms Coming to FPS!

Fargo Public Schools will offer online registration forms and payments beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

Westrick, WilliamBy Fargo Public Schools Information Technology Director Bill Westrick

Every August, parents of Fargo Public Schools (FPS) students are asked to update their family and child’s information. An envelope full of colorful forms comes in the mail or is handed out at Back To School Night, and each form needs to be filled in from scratch. If you have more than one FPS student, you find yourself entering your family information over and over again. Once the forms are completed, you then visit the school to turn in the forms, and stand in line to pay any fees for the year. The forms are then processed manually by office staff, who have to decipher the handwriting of thousands of parents. It seems like there should be a better way of doing all of this, doesn’t it? Well, now there is.

I am happy to announce that Fargo Public Schools is moving to online registration forms and online fee and lunch payments this summer. For parents of existing FPS students these forms will even be pre-loaded with information submitted last year, allowing you to simply and quickly verify information or change individual items as needed. At the end of the information verification process, you can also choose to pay your child’s 2015-16 school fees online via credit card with no transaction fees, including lunch payments! These online payments are managed by SchoolPay, a company dedicated to providing secure, reliable online school payments.

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The first step in being able to use the online registration/fee payments system is to make sure you have a Powerschool parent account and that you have attached your children to that account. An easy access link to PowerSchool is posted on the District’s website homepage. Once you have done this, you are ready for the fall enrollment forms verification, which will open at the beginning of August. Parents who have never created a Powerschool parent account or haven’t attached all of their children to the account should have received a letter explaining how to create this account and connect all of your children’s records to that account. If you have not received this communication, or need another copy, please contact your current school office. The communication includes personalized account ID and password information necessary for account set up. For families without internet access, computer kiosks will be available to use at each school during regular business hours.

boysatlunch_size500The lunch payment process is already up and running, so if you want to try out the new system and add some money to your child’s account or check your child’s meal history, you can do so. Just log into Powerschool with your parent account, click the icon in the upper right corner of the window, and select SchoolPay from the menu that appears. You can view recent meal history or securely enter your credit card information and make a payment to your child’s account. Lunch payments are processed every ten minutes, so your child’s lunch balance at school will increase shortly after completing the online transaction.

Welcome to online registration forms and payments, along with greater efficiency and processing speed!

The Party Continues…Happy Birthday, ND!

North Dakota turned 125 years old on November 2, 2014 and the Fargo Public Schools (FPS) middle schools have celebrated all school year long by inviting student and staff to tell their North Dakota stories.

Last November, FPS middle school libraries celebrated North Dakota’s 125th birthday by displaying books with North Dakota ties. (Pictured to the left is the book display from Discovery Middle School.) This spring, the celebration continued with the My North Dakota Story event. Students and staff were invited to tell their story related to the time they’ve spent in North Dakota. North Dakota Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley and his wife Kathleen recorded their North Dakota Story in order to inspire students and staff to tell their own stories.

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Stories could be told through paragraphs, short stories, essays, and poetry. The goal of this event was to develop a sense of community among our students, and to invite others to reflect on what makes North Dakota unique, because when we appreciate the place we live, we are more willing to take care of it and the people who live there with us.

The middle schools once again created displays to feature the event submissions.  Discovery Middle School’s display featured the North Dakota-themed artwork of Discovery Art Instructor Steven Knutson. (Can you find Knutson “photobombing” the photo?)

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Bruer_Emily_2014_CBE_7thThis event tied in well with the middle level North Dakota Studies and Writing curriculums. Read the acrostic poem submitted by Carl Ben Eielson seventh grader Emily Bruer as her My North Dakota Story entry.

 

 

Gravdahl, TheresaMany middle school staff members submitted entries as well; read the short narrative by Theresa Gravdahl, a physical education instructor at Ben Franklin Middle School.

 

 

All entries were put on display at each of the schools for everyone to share in the spirit of community and sense of place. Ben Franklin Middle School showcased their school’s My North Dakota Story entries on a bulletin board located on the first floor of the building.

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Participating My North Dakota Story students got their name entered in prize drawings for North Dakota-made products, including items from Dot’s Pretzels, Widman’s Candy, and the Honey B Soap Company, along with other goodies made by North Dakotans.

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Student announcements at the middle schools periodically featured interesting facts about North Dakota to keep the momentum going for the project. Some examples include:

  • Snow fooling! North Dakota holds the Guinness World Record for the most snow angels made simultaneously in one place. On Feb. 17, 2007 at
    the state Capitol grounds in Bismarck, 8,962 people made snow angels. (INFORUM, 2014)
  • Bison weren’t the first animals here in North Dakota. The Hell Creek fossil beds in western North Dakota hold remains of some of the last dinosaurs: triceratops, Tyrannosaurus rex, hadrosaurs… and others. (INFORUM, 2014)

Whether it was by creating a poem, recording a documentary, or learning more about what makes our state a “legendary” place to live, FPS middle school students celebrated 125 years of North Dakota statehood in grand style. Happy Birthday, North Dakota! Here’s to the next 125 years!

Special recognition for My North Dakota Story project coordination goes to Kimberly Rensch, Fargo Pubic Schools middle school gifted services and English Language Arts facilitator, and the library media specialists at the District’s three middle schools: Heather Miller (Ben Franklin), Judith Seibel Carl Ben Eielson), and Patricia Donat (Discovery).

All images courtesy Kimberly Rensch and Patty Donat.

2015 Staff Recognition Program

2015 Accolades and Awards 

At surprise presentations made during the month of April at school assemblies and departmental meetings, three Fargo Public Schools (FPS) staff members were honored for their outstanding performance and service this school year to the students, families and schools of the Fargo Public School District.

Myrold, MatthewMatthew Myrold, special education teacher at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School, received the Teacher of the Year award due to his passion and dedication to his profession, creating a caring classroom culture, and his belief that all students have the capacity to be successful.

 

 

Hofmann, TamaraTamara Hofmann, English Language Learners social worker, was named the Support Staff of the Year award based on her caring, compassionate, and positive actions as an advocate and cultural bridge for the District’s ELL students and their families.

 

 

photo portrait of John NelsonJohn Nelson, principal of Ben Franklin Middle School, was awarded the Administrator of the Year award based on his positive attitude, strong leadership skills, commitment to family, and advocacy for education.

 

 

 

The District was overwhelmed with the quantity and quality of nominations submitted by community members for consideration for these three awards. Colleagues, students, and parents submitted narratives that told of nominees’ amazing levels of dedication, positive attitudes, abounding creativity, and sincere commitment to students and education, along with heart-warming examples of student and staff success stories due to a nominee’s influence.

The FPS Staff Recognition Program is more than public recognition of a few people each year—it is truly about the amazing qualities and commitment to students and learning that the entire staff of teachers, administrators, and support staff members exhibits and shares with the community each and every day.

The Fargo Public School District wishes to congratulate and thank each and every 2015 Staff Recognition Program nominee and award winner for their dedication to their students, their school, and the District. Together, we are building a culture of excellence!

For additional information on the annual FPS Staff Recognition Program, including nomination criteria and a listing of past award winners, visit www.fargo.k12.nd.us/staffrecognitionprogram


Here are the listings of all the 2015 Staff Recognition Program Nominees:

TEACHER OF THE YEAR
The FPS Teacher of the Year recipient is forwarded to the North Dakota Department of Instruction as a candidate for the North Dakota Teacher of the Year, which is awarded in the fall. There were a record number of 83 nominees for the 2015 Fargo Public School District Teacher of the Year Award.

Name School/Location Position
Patti Bathie Ben Franklin Counselor
Shane Alderman South Science
Jan Anderson District Office Title 1 Coordinator
Kevin Anderson Washington Grade 3
Stacy Anderson Lewis & Clark Gifted Services
Rob Arneson Washington Grade 5
Kimberly Bollinger Bennett Grade 1
Brenda Cain Carl Ben Eielson Science – Grade 6
Susan Clark Lewis & Clark Grade 4
Joni Cochran Washington Grade 2
Julie Costello Carl Ben Eielson Social Studies – Grade 6
Karen Derby McKinley Kindergarten
Elizabeth Deutsch Hawthorne Grade 2
Jane Dibrito South Language Arts
Jason Edwards Discovery Science – Grade 6
Sharon Eide Clara Barton-Hawthorne Art
Adrienne Eider Davies Social Studies
KarenEriksmoen North Special Education – SLD
Debra Ertelt Jefferson Title 1 Reading
Sarah George Kennedy at Eagles Grade 3
Lisa Gingerich North Art
Jason Hall Centennial Grade 3
Deb Hallquist North Health Education
Elizabeth Hamernik Centennial Grade 2
Sally Hamilton Longfellow Grade 1
Renae Hansen Carl Ben Eielson Vocal Music
Julie Hawley North CTE – Family Science
Richard Henderson South Physical Education
Susan Honl Lewis & Clark Grade 2
Kristin Ide Longfellow Art
Susan Ista Kennedy Grade 3
Jamison Jensen McKinley Grade 4
Cindy Johnson Discovery Counselor
Heather Kenkel South ELL Math
Rachel Kenowski Jefferson Grade 1
Scott Klimek Clara Barton Grade 5
Julie Krejci Kennedy Counselor
Rose Krumwiede South Counselor
Leah LeClair Lewis & Clark Kindergarten
Joe Leggio North Special Education – ED
Nancy Leier Davies Art
Joy Lewis Davies Special Education –  SLD
Jenny Lindsay Kennedy Grade 3
Gregg Lura Discovery Independent Learning Center
Anita Mahnke Davies Counselor
Kaley Mari Bennett Grade 2
Kristi Marks Roosevelt Grade 3
Jessica McClafin North Counselor
Barb Michelson Madison Grade 3
Steven Muhs South AFJROTC
Matthew Myrold Carl Ben Eielson Special Education – ED
Sean Napton Discovery Counselor
Rebekah Olson Lewis & Clark Kindergarten
Tracy Osman Madison Special Education – SLP
Kimberly Pepin Lincoln Kindergarten
Marlene Pfeifer Ben Franklin Reading Intervention
Pat Pobst Hawthorne Kindergarten
Heidi Rohr Washington Kindergarten
Rebecca Saari Davies and Discovery Drama
Kristin Schaffhauser Lincoln Grade 2
Ron Schneider Woodrow Wilson Counselor
Mark Seeba Centennial Grade 4
Lindsay Seelig Davies Language Arts
Paul Shol North Math
Janelle Sigurdson Clara Barton Grade 5
Elizabeth Smithmeyer South Social Studies
Laura Sokolofsky Jefferson Counselor
Ashley Steiner Centennial Grade 2
Brock Stenberg Davies Math
Sandra Sterling Washington Grade 1
Kathyrn Strand Ben Franklin World Language – Latin
Ron Streit South CTE – Technology Educ.
Sebastian Tackling South Vocal Music
Derek Thompson McKinley Grade 4
Ann Tunheim Washington Special Education – SLP
Suzi Uggerud Kennedy Grade 1
Melanie Unser Kennedy Grade 3
Karla Volrath Washington Grade 1
Kristy Waldron Lewis & Clark Grade 5
Jayla Wheeldon  Kennedy Special Education – SLP
Alexandra Young Centennial Grade 5
Melissa Youngs Discovery Special Education – MI
Victor Youngs South Social Studies

 

SUPPORT STAFF OF THE YEAR
There were 38 nominees for the 2015 Fargo Public School District Support Staff of the Year Award.

Name School/Location Position
Gloria Adelman South Copy Room Assistant
Jessica Anderson Agassiz SPED Social Worker
Calvin Anderson Centennial Engineer
Donna Anderson Lincoln Administrative Assistant
Anne Bramel Lewis & Clark Paraprofessional
Greta Christianson Roosevelt Library Assistant
Kirby Dahl Carl Ben Eielson Assistant Engineer
Julie Eiler Discovery Cook Secretary
Connie Erickson North Cook Assistant
Anita Folden Washington Administrative Assistant
Carol Forster Ben Franklin Paraprofessional
Michelle Fuglesten Madison Paraprofessional
Julie Graalum Lewis & Clark Office Assistant
Stacy Hanson Kennedy Office Assistant
Kaia Hanson-Ehrmantraut North Paraprofessional
Elizabeth Hellerud South Paraprofessional
Patty Hill Roosevelt Paraprofessional
Dave Hillrud Warehouse Electrician
Tamara Hofmann Agassiz ELL Social Worker
Allison Law North Paraprofessional
Mary Miller Washington Office Assistant
Stacie Moffitt Madison Paraprofessional
Barb Nelson Centennial Office Assistant
Sifa Ntivu-Bisimwa Davies Paraprofessional
Diane Resvick Lincoln Paraprofessional
Amy Riccio Agassiz Facilitator – Dropout Prevention
Dona Sabby Davies Registrar
Dennis Samuels Carl Ben Eielson Paraprofessional
Gail Sanders Centennial Paraprofessional
Marlene Schmidt Agassiz Secretary
Jeanne Schultz Discovery Library Assistant
Julie Schumacher Madison Paraprofessional
Cindy Sobolik Washington Office Assistant
Romelle Speral McKinley Administrative Assistant
Paul Stalcup Ben Franklin Kitchen Manager
Jan Tronnes South Nutrition Services Mngr – Secretary
Cindy Westby Discovery Library Assistant
Sue Winkelman Discovery Administrative Assistant

 

ADMINISTRATOR OF THE YEAR
There were 11 nominees for the 2015 Fargo Public School District Administrator of the Year Award.

Name School/Location Position
Dana Carlson Washington Principal
Kathy Cieslak  North Assistant Principal
Troy Cody Davies Principal
Linda Davis Discovery Principal
Kerby Engen District Office Web Services
Brad Franklin Carl Ben Eielson Principal
Jerry Hanson Kennedy Principal
Sheryl Lehman District Office Director – Human Resources
John Nelson Ben Franklin Principal
Jennifer Schuldheisz Kennedy at Eagles Principal
Bill Westrick District Office Director – Information Tech.

 

Practice Makes Perfect

Fargo Public Schools staged an emergency preparedness drill at two of its schools on May 12 to practice evacuation and reunification procedures that would be used in an actual emergency. Read a recap of the event.

Photo portrait of Fargo Public Schools Business Manager Broc LietzBy FPS Business Services Manager Broc Lietz

We’ve all heard the age old adage that “practice makes perfect.” This can be applied to many aspects of our personal or professional life, whether that be specific training and development, repetition of a task, continued education, or actual practice. On May 12, Fargo Public Schools put this tried and true method to the test.

Fargo Public Schools has an emergency preparedness plan. This plan assists the District in handling any number of possible emergencies we may face from inclement weather to building evacuation. Annually, the District requires each building to hold a variety of drills such as fire drills and lockdown drills, which are all part of our District-wide emergency preparedness plan. This week, Jim Frueh, Director of Maintenance and Operations, lead the District emergency preparedness team through a reunification drill.

DSC_0024This drill involved a fully simulated emergency. A call came to the District Office (DO) of a train derailment near Carl Ben Eielson Middle School (CBE) requiring immediate lockdown and evacuation of that entire building. Superintendent Dr. Schatz activated the District emergency response team and the plan was put into action. The DO team contacted Valley Bus to arrange for transportation of the CBE students and staff to be relocated to South High School. Business Manager Broc Lietz was dispatched to the scene to assist the CBE emergency team in communicating to the DO command center. The DO reunification team, led by District Activities Director Todd Olson, was dispatched to South High to prepare to receive CBE students and set up for “parent” arrival to be reunified with their student.

CBE Principal Brad Larson activated his emergency response team to systematically evacuate the CBE building. This involved a great deal of coordination with staff members serving as leaders in opening locked-down classrooms and escorting two classrooms at a time out of the building to the waiting busses. Room-by-room, floor-by-floor, CBE was evacuated and the building was “swept” to assure the building was empty and students were safely evacuated. Mr. Larson also dispatched members of his team to South High School to coordinate the receiving of students. In approximately 30 minutes, over 800 students and the entire CBE staff were successfully evacuated from their building.

20150512_124705_resizedSouth High Principal Dr. Todd Bertsch was notified of the need for CBE evacuation and need for reunification and activated his emergency response team to prepare South High for a lockdown in order to keep South High students in their rooms and safe while preparing to receive the CBE student body and staff. Dr. Bertsch’s team provided leadership and resources to stage students and the reunification team, utilizing the south foyer, commons area, and gymnasium at South High.

South High drama students were given roles to play as parents coming to reunify with specific students. They simulated the passion and emotion that may be experienced by parents in this situation and were provided specific challenges to present to the reunification team to determine responses. The drill successfully reunified 25 students with parents in a well-organized, systematic manner.

DSC_0163This simulation lasted roughly two hours and involved collaboration of many of the District’s community partners, including: Fargo Police Department through District School Resource Officers, Cass County Unified Response team, Valley Bus, and FM Ambulance.

A special thank you to the following District personnel:

  • Principal Larson and the entire CBE staff and students for volunteering to host the drill.
  • Principal Bertsch and the entire South High staff and students for hosting the reunification.
  • Jim Frueh for coordinating the simulation.
  • The DO emergency response and reunification teams.

This drill provided a great learning experience for the District. As a whole, the drill was very successful. We are very happy with the manner in which the existing emergency preparedness plan was implemented and carried out. As with any drill, we will debrief the drill and tweak procedures based on what we have learned.

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Career & Technical Student Organizations – Creating Future Leaders

Jonas_Denise_2013_150by Cass County Career & Technical Education Consortium Director Dr. Denise Jonas

Over the past few months, a tremendous amount of time and discussion has transpired around the North Dakota legislative session and the leaders making decisions on behalf of our communities. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the rhetoric, leadership is essential to the process. Economically speaking, the public places great distinction on the business leaders and entrepreneurs that take risks and step-outside-the-box to advance our country’s prosperity. So in retrospect and regardless of the institution, leadership plays a crucial role in fulfilling a mission.  The question I raise is, “Can leaders be developed?”

Theorists studying leadership have identified a myriad of individual, team, and organization leadership styles. Some theorists draw attention to innate qualities and characteristics some personalities possess to be best suited for leadership. Others conclude those well-educated hold the best foundations to lead (Northouse, 2007). Ultimately, it is in the best interest of our society to provide leadership opportunities and training to support all individuals in becoming leaders who can be responsible and adaptable in any role they are employed. For Career and Technical Education (CTE), leadership development is a core value in fulfilling its vision to build tomorrow’s workforce.

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CTE’s co-curricular Career & Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) are one avenue for students to experience and develop leadership skills. Students enrolled in CTE programs are eligible to become members of a CTSO.  Accessibility to a CTSO is dependent on the program’s availability within the school district, along with a knowledgeable advisor to ensure quality oversight of the organization related to the program area. The following CTSOs have been established in our area. Detailed information for each organizations can be found on their state or national website.

CTSOs engage students in leadership development through a focus on career and technical education (CTE) applications related to their program area’s content and specific occupational skills. Emphasis is placed on leadership roles, goal setting, consensus building, and project development. Professionalism, integrity, and ethics are foundational to each organization’s beliefs and required in their interactions with peers and the community. These skills and values are regarded as vital standards for student leaders and future employment.

pano_460For each CTSO, a local, state, and national component for leadership training and competition is available. Students travel around the state to interact with like organizations to collaborate in leadership training and compete in program events. Beyond their leadership development, service learning activities are required to give back to their schools and community, and as a mechanism for fundraising for national competitions. In some cases, CTSOs may continue into post-secondary programs and leadership opportunities.

This year, the CTSOs in Fargo, Northern Cass, and West Fargo Public Schools have been actively involved in their leadership conferences and state competitions. Young men and woman have stepped outside their comfort zone to serve as local and state officers, growing as leaders. Several chapters have created service learning projects with a lasting impact on their school or community, thus expanding their leadership to the public. Dozens of students have also extended their learning beyond the classroom to compete in state and national competitions, subsequently, experiencing the challenges and responsibilities leaders must embrace.

Yes, it’s true, some students may enter our schools with innate qualities and characteristics to lead. However, it is through our intentional coordination and support to provide leadership training and opportunities for students to practice these skills that we will produce future legislatures, business moguls, entrepreneurs, and a responsible workforce.

True Leadership cannot be awarded, appointed or assigned. It comes only from influence, and that can’t be mandated. It must be earned. John C. Maxwell

DSC_0229Congratulations to our dedicated CTSO advisors for their guidance, and to our students for a tremendous year of leadership. Thank you to our school districts and community for your continued support!

Dream Jobs – Careers on Wheels

Group_with_officer_200Ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, and the popular answers always include “Fireman!” “Police Officer!” and “Truck Driver!” What do these career choices have in common? They all use vehicles to carry out their job duties.

 

 

burtlermachinery_300The school counseling departments of the Fargo Public Schools sponsor an annual “Careers on Wheels” spring event for middle school seventh graders to explore career options that involve the use of specialized vehicles. This time around, a mix of representatives from Air National Guard, Boulger Funeral Home, Butler Machinery, Cass military_300County Electric, Cass County Vector Control, City of Fargo Street and Garbage Departments, Fargo Fire, Fargo Police, FM Ambulance, and Midwest Communications brought vehicles and personnel to each of the District’s three middle schools for visits with the students.

ambulance_300Following a career skills and interest online assessment at www.rureadyND.com, the students visit with the working men and women in various career clusters that match their individual interests, and are then allowed to explore many of the vehicles used by these working professionals.

firetruck_full_300Students quiz the professionals about education and training requirements for their jobs, typical duties, daily schedules, and compensation levels. They find out the best, worst, and unusual aspects to each of the jobs. And then the real fun begins – the students can try on equipment, climb into vehicles (some of which are valued at more than $250,000!), and
vector_300even sit behind the wheel of a police squad car, military humvee, bucket truck, media vehicle, ambulance, garbage truck, and more.

The goal for the project? For the students to answer that age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with a better informed, more confident response. After all, the answer can affect them bucket_300for a lifetime!

Special thanks to all of the participating businesses and organizations who brought vehicles and sent representatives to the three middle schools, along with Mandy Orth, career resource specialist at Fargo North High School, who coordinated this year’s Careers on Wheels events.

Glass Paper Project: Update on the District’s Long Range Technology Plan

Teiken, JodellAn update on technology implementation within the Fargo Public Schools, especially as it relates to student personal computing devices.

By Director of Standards-Based Education Jodell Teiken

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High School
We have completed the deployment phase of the Glass Paper Project in our high schools with all students in grades 9-12 receiving a personal device.  IT team members, students, and teachers are now planning for the first year of replacement devices with the start of the 2015-16 school year. Ten students from each high school tested potential replacement devices this school year and have chosen a Windows laptop to replace sophomore devices for the 2015-16 year.  Additionally, as part of the implementation phase, high school teachers are collaborating to determine which 21st Century Skills are emphasized in their courses and are sharing ideas about how they intentionally teach and give students feedback about these skills using the Metro 21C rubrics to clearly articulate what is meant by “21st Century Skills,” otherwise known as the 4Cs – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creative thinking.

Middle School
FPS_Discovery_092613_001Middle School teachers participated in the readiness phase this year to prepare for fall 2015 deployment to all grades 6, 7, and 8 students.  Teachers learned about the vision for the Glass Paper Project (21C Skills) as well as a variety of technology resources they can use in their classrooms.  Over the past three years, grade 6 students have been piloting various devices and all sixth graders will be using Chromebooks in fall 2015.  Grade 7 and 8 students will use the device selected by our high school students (Windows laptop) so the eighth graders can bring that device with them as they transition to high school.  A few middle school courses have begun the implementation phase
and we will continue this curriculum work with all middle school courses in the next two to three years.

digitalphoto1In our research and pilot implementation in preparation for the Glass Paper Project, we learned teachers need school-based support to adapt their classroom instruction to focus more intentionally on 21st Century Skills.  To meet this need, library teams consisting of a librarian, instructional technology coach, network manager, and library paraprofessionals are able to provide support for teachers when they are implementing new resources and strategies.  We were able to hire one instructional technology coach to lead the readiness phase in all three middle schools this year and are planning to hire two additional middle school instructional technology coaches so each school has the level of support needed to achieve 21st Century outcomes.

Elementary
An elementary technology task force has developed a multi-year implementation plan for
K – 5 classrooms.  Three curriculum drivers were identified: achievement of content and 21st Century Skill standards, keyboarding skills, and supporting small group instruction.  As part of this plan, grade 5 teams will be offered a cart of Chromebooks next year to share among their grade level and additional grade levels (4, 3, 2, 1, K) will receive devices each consecutive year.  The current IT budget supports one grade level per year.  One teacher from each grade level will be asked to volunteer as the “Tech Partner” for their team and attend additional training outside of the school day with the expectation that he/she implement this learning in the classroom and share these experiences with teaching partners.  Elementary principals and librarians are in the process of conducting Q&A sessions about this plan and gathering feedback from all elementary teachers.
Click here to see the slideshow for the Q&A sessions.

Metro Partnership: Education that Works
School and District administrators in Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo, and Dilworth have met this year to study and plan for systemic implementation of 21st Century Skills in our classrooms.  This collaborative work began a few years ago when the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Council and United Way approached the area school superintendents to ask for their help in solving our region’s workforce problem.  Conversations and planning led to what is now known as the Education that Works partnership which has sparked several collaborative professional development efforts such as Metro Tech Camp, Project-based Learning, and the Middle School Student Tech Camp.  Watch this video to learn more about the emphasis on 21st Century learning in our area schools.

ND State Assessment
A Technology Plan update would not be complete without mention of the new North Dakota State Assessment.  This is the inaugural year of a computer-based state assessment with next generation questions that will determine our student’s level of proficiency on the new state standards.  The new standards call for deeper application of knowledge as opposed to factual recall, so the assessment questions are promised to be more rigorous and require a higher level of critical thinking.  As in any version 1 implementation, there have been a few bumps in the road, but we are on track to complete these assessments this spring.

Project Cute: A Recipe for Success

Three freshmen students from Davies High School are adding together all of their academic learning, stirring in a healthy dollop of entrepreneurship, sprinkling their efforts with purpose and passion for a cause – and creating a recipe for success.

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Nidhi Mahale (pictured, center), Heather Helm (on the left), and Emma Skjerven (on the right) have founded Project Cute, a nonprofit organization committed to bettering the lives of children facing challenges both in our community and around the world. The three girls determined they could take their love of creating “cute” items for little kids and use it to contribute to society in a positive way.

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Project Cute sells tutus, superhero capes (pictured above), and accessories for boys and girls and then donates all the proceeds to charity. Their sponsors (ANM Investments, Friendly Smiles Dentistry, and Off The Wall Advertising) pay for all of their materials. Half of all the organization’s proceeds is donated to various children’s charities in the area. The other half of their proceeds is used to sponsor and educate a group of 20 orphan girls ages 3 to 15, all with HIV, who live in an orphanage in Mumbai, India.

Earlier this month Project Cute had a booth at the Moorhead Center Mall Craft Market and raised $350 through the sale of their merchandise. All the proceeds were then donated to Muscular Dystrophy Association (the girls are pictured below with MDA Executive Director Susan Wiger). In addition, Project Cute has donated their products directly to kids battling challenging illnesses at Sanford Hospital.

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For more information about the girls, their non-profit, and the items they sell both online and at events to raise funds for children’s charities, visit the non-profit’s website, www.projectcute.org.