Discovery Middle School

Newsletter - September 2021

Building a Foundation for Success!

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Discovery Administration

This Month's Newsletter Features the Following:

  • Memo from Discovery Administration with Frequently Asked Questions
  • PTA
  • Canvas Learning Management System
  • What if my student has to quarantine?
  • Guidelines for Success
  • Athletics and Activities Update from Mr. Larson
  • Counseling Corner
  • Nursing Nuggets featuring Nurse Amanda
  • SRO Corner with Officer Kjonaas
  • Upcoming Events
  • August/September Letter Day Calendar
  • Entry to Building - Raptor Visitor Management System Information
  • Immunizations/Medications in School
  • Parent Accommodations/Communications
  • Yearbooks
  • Who's Who at Discovery
  • Liz's Closet
  • Attendance Reminder
  • Lunch Supervisors and Special Education Paraeducators needed
  • School Accountability Report
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A special Thank You to the Davies Drumline for performing as students came into school!

Hello Discovery Families!

The 2021-22 school year is off to a start! A couple of updates for our Discovery family:

E-Hall Pass: This year our students are using e-hall pass. This pass system has been adopted by all three middle schools and allows our students and staff a more efficient way to navigate our pass system. If you are curious, please see this link regarding e-hall pass information.

Canvas: Fargo Schools is using the Canvas Learning Management System for courses in grades 6-12. Teachers and students will access Canvas to maintain coursework and assignments throughout the year. Parents of students in grades 6-12 can access Canvas as an "observer" to monitor their child's courses. More information regarding Canvas is featured below.

Parent/Teacher Conferences: Mark your calendars! Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held at all three middle schools on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, October 12th from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 14th from 4:00-8:00 p.m.

PTA: The first Discovery PTA meeting will be held September 27th, at 6:30 p.m., Zoom format. The Zoom Link will be sent out to PTA members closer to the meeting date.

PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports): This year our building will continue to implement numerous building-wide initiatives including (but not limited to) Social Emotional Learning (SEL)- Second Step curriculum within our Advisory periods, continue to monitor student behavior reports through PowerSchool and implement Restorative Practices, monitor attendance trends as well as update and roll out a Tardy/Truant protocol. The goal is to continue to build/revamp systems within our school to assist with consistency and communication across all stakeholder groups.

Distance Learning Deadline: Friday, September 10th 2021

The deadline to apply for this distance learning option is Friday, September 10, 2021. After September 10, 2021, the form may be submitted and approved depending on availability.

Please use the following forms to request distancing learning.

Elementary School (Grades K-5)

Secondary School (Grades 6-12)

Once you have printed and completed the form, bring it to your child’s home school building to further discuss distance learning this year. All families must enroll through the request form for the 2021-22 school year, even if your child attended the virtual academy last year.

Frequently Asked Questions Document

Click link here for access to document with questions/answers from Discovery Admin Team

Need some Discovery Swag? We are excited to share Discovery’s online clothing store! There are many different clothing options and different branding to choose from. All orders will be shipped directly to the address that you indicate upon checkout. Make sure to place your orders before the store closes on September 10th!

Join Discovery Middle School PTA


Fargo Schools is using the Canvas Learning Management System for courses in grades 6-12. Teachers and students will access Canvas to maintain coursework and assignments throughout the year. Parents of students in grades 6-12 can access Canvas as an "observer" to monitor their child's courses.

To help you get started with Canvas, an observer account has been created for you and is already attached to your student(s). The login for the account is the email address this message was sent to ([login_id]).

To activate your account, please:

1) Go to

2) On the login screen, click Forgot Password?

3) On the request password screen, enter this email address ([login_id]) and then click Request Password.

4) An email will be sent to this email address from "FPS Canvas". It may take a few minutes to arrive. When the email comes, open it and click the link provided to set a new password.

5) Set a new password for your account (and remember it!) and accept the terms and service, and you will be good to go.

6) For future access, you can click on the Canvas icon within PowerSchool Parent, and you may also choose to load the Canvas Parent app on your phone.

You can find tips on how to use Canvas as a parent at:

Thank you for your attention.

Fargo Public Schools - Technology

What if my student has to quarantine or is gone for extended illness/etc?

Regarding quarantine, this is taken from the FPS COVID-19 webpage on quarantine guidelines/procedures:

  • COVID-19 post-exposure guidelines of:
    • Mask to mask exposure: exemption to quarantine
    • Fully vaccinated contacts: if no symptoms, no quarantine but should monitor for symptoms.
    • If one or both individuals are unmasked: 14-day quarantine. Contacts may release from quarantine after day 10 if no symptoms or after day 7 with a negative test collected on day 5 or later.
    • COVID-19 Close Contact Procedure

For our students who are quarantined, or absent for any extended illness/hospitalization (COVID or non-COVID-related), etc. our procedures are as follows:

  • Students and families have access to the Discovery announcements on our website so they can stay abreast of the happenings in the school while they are not in the building.
  • Parents/guardians should call the Discovery attendance clerk to notify school of child’s absence at 701. 446.3310.
  • Student should always reach out to their teachers via e-mail with any questions and include parent/guardian in the e-mail addresses so everyone can stay in the loop.
  • Student should check their class Canvas course and their school e-mail account daily if they are feeling well enough to do so for updates and correspondence. Assignments will be posted on Canvas and teacher work with our students on being flexible with assignments such as in-person labs, etc.
  • Counselors are happy to set up Zoom appointments with students who are out of the building to provide additional support if needed or do check-ins when the student is out. Students or parents/guardians should let the counselor know if this is something they would like to do.
  • Our administrative intern, Mr. Jystad-Spar and our student success advisor are another point of contact for our students who need any type of academic support during the school year-this person may connect with students while they are out to provide additional academic support and goal-setting and assist with the transition back to school.

Guidelines for Success

Below is a graphic of our Guidelines for Success. These guidelines were developed across all three middle schools in FPS a couple of years ago and guide our practices within our buildings across all settings (example- in classrooms, hallways, bathrooms, etc.).
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Athletics and Activities Corner with Mr. Larson

Discovery activities are off to a great start! Make sure you keep an eye on our Activities Calendar to find start dates, games, & performances for all of our activities. The Discovery Activity webpage has more information as well.

Clubs & activities that have started up recently, or are starting up soon:

Drama Club:

Student Leadership Club:

Be the Change (Kindness Club):

Before/After School weight room:

There are more clubs & organizations that will be starting within the next few weeks, so make sure you keep your eye on the announcements!

This is a friendly reminder that ALL students & fans are required to wear a mask indoors when in a FPS facility. Students who are actively participating in an event may remove their masks, but when they are on the bench (not participating) they will need to mask-up. Masks are not required when outdoors.

Counseling Corner

At Discovery, our students are assigned counselors by last name.

*Mr. Napton: Counselor for students with the last names starting with A-D.

*Mrs. Ferderer: Counselor for students with last names starting with E-J.

*Mrs. Harmelink: Counselor for students with last names starting with K-Q.

*Mr. Snowden: Counselor for students with last names starting with R-Z.

Mrs. Harmelink, who is out until mid September, will have students with last names K-Q. Until Mrs. Harmelink returns, the other three counselors will be helping out! If your student has a last name that starts with a K or L - Mr. Napton will be the counselor, if last name starts with M or N - Mrs. Ferderer will be the counselor, and if last name starts with O, P, or Q Mr. Snowden will be the counselor until Mrs. Harmelink returns.

What do school counselors do and how are we here to help?

We focus on academic, career, and social-emotional needs of ALL students. We’re here as a resource for all of you. Here are just a few of the ways that we do this:

o We provide brief, individual counseling to students in school.

o We run groups to enhance peer support and teach social-emotional and academic skills

in a smaller setting.

o We teach guidance lessons on topics like empathy, bullying, stress management, and


o We work together with all teachers, administrators, school staff, and parents/guardians

to support student needs in and out of the classroom.

There are also many different resources that we can connect students to such as: Student Wellness & Family Facilitator, Liz’s Closet and the BackPack Program.

Beth Zimmerman is our Student Wellness & Family Facilitator (SWFF) and she tends to work more closely with our parents/guardians. She is able to help find additional supports for families outside of our school building. Whether it’s related to mental health or basic needs, she can meet with parents to explore options to support their student and/or family. Feel free to reach out to school counselors and principals if you are interested in getting connected with Mrs. Zimmerman.

Liz’s Closet is a free resource at Discovery that can help provide food, clothing, hygiene products, and school supplies to students in need.

The BackPack Program provides bags of food for students to take home with them. If you have questions about Liz’s Closet or the Backpack Program, please reach out to a counselor or stop by Student Services.

We look forward to meeting those of you that are new to Discovery! If you would like to visit with a counselor, you can send us an email or let a teacher know you’d like to see us. Our offices are located in Student Services. It’s going to be an Awesome Year!

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Nursing Nuggets with Nurse Amanda

Welcome back to school! We unfortunately are dealing with another year of Covid guidelines. I have attached numerous different links that should be able to help with any questions you might have regarding Covid.

Symptomatic students:

Close contact (not household member):

Household close contact:

The student must remain quarantined for the positive household members full 10 days of isolation to start. They can begin following the same rules as a regular close contact individual once the positive members 10 days of quarantine is complete. I provided a chart below for an example. You can always call and/or e-mail me with any questions. My number is 701-446-3319 and my e-mail is

My hours will be 8:15 a.m.-3:00 p.m. M-Th and 8:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. on Fridays. Please let me know if there is anything else that I can do to help make this the best year for your student.


Phone: 701.446.3319

How do I know if my child is up to date on immunizations?

Click here to see required vaccinations for the State of North Dakota.

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SRO Corner with Officer Kjonaas

My name is Officer Nick Kjonaas. I am the School Resource Officer at Discovery Middle School. This will be my third school year at Discovery and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with students and their families, along with the staff at Discovery. At the beginning of each year I like to take an opportunity to talk about my role as an SRO. School resource officers serve two primary functions: school safety and building rapport between police officers and youth. One of the tools SRO’s use to accomplish these goals is the “SRO Triad”:

  1. School based law enforcement and crime prevention
  2. Law related education
  3. Law related informal counseling

As a non-traditional police assignment, school based policing is perhaps one of the most misunderstood law enforcement roles. As an SRO it is my goal establish a level of trust and rapport with students at Discovery as well as creating an environment where students and staff feel safe.

There is no “typical” day for an SRO. The position requires flexibility and well developed interpersonal and de-escalation skills. SROs use creative problem solving to help students, staff, and families address a wide array of issues that affect those who learn, work, and visit our schools.

Listed below are a number of duties an SRO will encounter on a regular basis:

  • Enforce criminal and traffic laws at school campuses and neighborhoods.
  • Conduct classroom and community presentations on a variety of police subjects.
  • Build police-student rapport through informal, non-enforcement contacts and activities
  • Act as an informal youth counselor for many problems students encounter.
  • Use police experience and training to improve school safety and security, in close cooperation with school administrators and faculty.
  • Attend after-school events and activities such as dances and sporting events.
  • Act as a school building liaison for residents in campus neighborhoods, addressing safety, traffic and crime concerns.
  • Teach 5th grade chemical abuse prevention (Know Your Body).
  • Act as a law enforcement liaison with the schools, assisting with communication, crime prevention and criminal investigations on issues that may happen outside normal school hours.

Upcoming Events

  • September 27 - no classes - Staff professional development
  • October 12 - Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • October 14 - Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • October 21 & 22 - No School - NDCEL Conference


Please see below for the August/September Letter Day Calendar or check out our Discovery website.

Our bell schedules and calendars are always posted on our Discovery website.

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Fargo Public Schools is pleased to announce that we will begin using the Raptor Visitor Management System in all of our schools to strengthen our program of campus safety for students and staff. Part of keeping students and staff safe is knowing who is in our buildings at all times, and the Raptor system will allow us to do so. The Raptor system will allow us to better screen visitors, contractors, and volunteers in our schools to provide us with a safe environment for our students and staff.

Upon entering the school building, visitors will be asked to present an ID, such as a Driver’s License, which can either be scanned or manually entered into the system. If a parent or guardian for any reason does not have a US government-issued ID, the school staff member can use any form of identification and manually enter the person’s name into the Raptor system. Once entry into the building is approved, Raptor will issue a badge that identifies the visitor, the date, and the purpose of their visit. A visitor’s badge will not be necessary for those who visit our schools simply to drop off an item in the office or pick up paperwork.

A video overview of our pilot and how the system works is available at:


This is a reminder that every student entering grade 7 is REQUIRED to receive a Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (Tdap) vaccine and Meningococcal vaccine. To receive optimum disease coverage and ensure school requirements are met prior to entering grade 7, it is recommended your student receive these two vaccinations once they turn 11 years of age. All students in 7th and 8th grade should have one dose of Tdap and Meningococcal recorded on their immunization record before the start of the 2021-22 school year. Please bring a copy of the updated immunization record to the school.


If your student should need to take a prescription or non-prescription medication at school, Form AF6720-A must be filled out in it's entirety, signed by you and your doctor, and brought to the nurse. The medication bottle for school must be labeled , including student’s date of birth. If student will self-administer, in the case of an inhaler, please fill out form AF-6720-F. You should be able to get these forms off the FPS website under registration, or at your doctor’s office.

The Nurse's hours for 2021-22 will be posted on our website as they may change dependent on the Instructional Level of FPS. You can reach the nurse @ 701-446-3319 or by email:

Hope you’ve had a wonderful summer!


Family support is so important for your child’s success at Discovery. If parents or other family members need accommodations to participate and attend any school function at Discovery, please contact the school office two to three business days prior to the event. Every effort will be made to meet your needs.


Communicating with parents and families is always our goal at Discovery Middle School.

You may subscribe to Discovery’ Newsletter and Daily Announcements on our website by going to “Content E-Alerts” on Discovery’s website. Parents/guardians can sign up to receive alerts about new Daily Announcements, Newsletters, etc., for each school your students attend. E-Alerts are sent to users who have subscribed to a homepage or website section of interest. You will receive an email notification that content has been modified.

You may also want to add our school calendar to your personal calendar. This will help you stay informed about all the activities that are happening at Discovery.

Our school supply list, our student handbook, a link to PowerSchool, PTA information, and several other useful links are also available on our website.


Yearbook orders will be taken online .The cost is $20.00. To ensure that your child will receive a yearbook at the end of the year, it must be ordered and paid for in advance. The deadline for ordering a yearbook is Friday, February 11, 2022.


Principals “loop” with their classes. Students will have the same principal every year that they attend Discovery. Counselors will have the same students each year based on the first letter of their last name.


Grade 6 - Mr. Brandon Larson, Assistant Principal/Activities Coordinator

Grade 7 – Mrs. Amy Herrick, Principal

Grade 8 - Dr. Amanda Quintus, Assistant Principal

All Grade Level Support-Mr. Ben Jystad-Spar, Administrative Intern


A-D - Mr. Sean Napton

E-J - Mrs. Taylor Ferderer

K-Q - Mrs. Katie Harmelink

R-Z - Mr. Joe Snowden

Student Support Personnel

Mrs. Sue Winkelman, Admin. Assist.

Mrs. Lesley Meyer

Mrs. Shari Runde

Mrs. Janna Callahan, Student Services/Registrar

Mrs. Cathy Pauly, Attendance

School Resource Officer

Officer Nick Kjonaas

School Nurse

Ms. Amanda Matzke

Liz’s Closet

A Discreet, Free Resource for Discovery Students in Need

What: Discovery strives as a team to meet the needs of all students as part of our mission to build a foundation for success. Liz’s Closet, a free resource at Discovery, aligns with this mission by providing students in need with items such as clothing, hygiene products, non-perishable food items, etc.

At Discovery, we hope to provide developmentally appropriate support to students in need by offering a means to obtain basic food and hygiene products in a discreet manner. Students utilizing Liz’s Closet will have access to reusable bags, so items are less visible as students are leaving the building.

Where: Liz’s Closet will be located in Student Services. The room being used as “Liz’s Closet” will be accessible through a trusted adult in the building (teachers, counselors, administrators, paraprofessionals, designated staff).

Who: Any student in need of these items is welcome to take what he/she needs with the help of a trusted adult.

How: Although students are welcome to directly ask a trusted adult at Discovery to use Liz’s Closet, to maintain privacy as best as possible, a student can simply draw a star on a sheet of paper and bring it to a trusted adult. The adult will then instruct the student as to when he/she can go to Student Services to collect what is needed. If this adult does not have a time that works for him/her, the adult will notify the appropriate counselor or Student Services staff member to be expecting this student sometime within the school day. Once in Student Services, the student will be escorted to the closet and can take what is needed.

If you know of anyone who may need to utilize this resource, please do not hesitate to contact a Discovery counselor or administrator. Additionally, if you would like to donate shelf-stable food, school supplies, or hygiene products to Liz’s Closet, please contact Katie Harmelink (school counselor) at 446-3312.


For absences, please call the Attendance Office directly at 701-446-3310 or email at Please leave a message if the call is not picked up right away.

If you are planning on picking up your student during the school day, please call the Attendance Office as early as possible so that we can get your student a pass and have them ready in the office.

Lunchroom Supervisors and Special Education Paraeducators Needed

Discovery has a need for daily Lunchroom Supervisors and Special Education Paraeducators.

  • Lunchroom Supervisor positions will be 2.5 hours/day all 5 days of the school week.
  • Special Education Paraeducator positions will be 37.5 hours, 5 days per week.

For more information, or if you are interested in applying, please see the Employment link on the FPS public website.

Written Notification of School Accountability Report

Dear Parent/Guardian,

North Dakota’s Insights dashboard provides important information about K-12 districts and schools. Insights features easy-to-read reports on multiple measures of school success, including:

· Test Scores

· Graduation Rates

· English Learner Progress

· Student Engagement

· State Accountability

Transparency to the Public

North Dakota is committed to informing communities about how well our schools are doing. North Dakota’s future success depends on tapping into the potential of all students so that they graduate choice ready with the knowledge, skills, and disposition to be successful. State education departments are required to annually create an accountability report for every public school in the state. The school accountability reports outline how schools are performing on the accountability elements North Dakota selected within its ESSA plan.

How is our School Doing?

To find out more information about our School Accountability Report, visit the dashboard at, select “Find My School”, and search alphabetically for our school. The school accountability report is posted under the Dashboard heading. Please note, the data made available to the public masks or hides data for groups with 10 or fewer students to protect confidential information about individual students. Therefore, if data is not available to less than 10 students, it will say “no data available”.

Family Engagement

We have strong plans for working to improve the educational programs at our school. We would like you and your child(ren) to continue to be active participants in our educational system. Please help support our high expectations for student achievement by participating in the school educational initiatives, offering input and support in our endeavors to raise student achievement, or volunteering at the school. Meeting our school’s goals will take a united effort, and I look forward to working with our families to ensure success for each student.

Continuous Improvement

All schools engage in continuous improvement for general support; therefore, our school has completed a continuous improvement plan through Cognia (formerly AdvancED). As part of the overall school improvement plan, a strategy map is generated for each school. Our strategy map, outlining our key school improvement initiatives, is available on the Insights Dashboard.

Discovery Middle School has a student membership count of 1049, and it is not a participating Title I school.

If you have any questions regarding the information in the memorandum, please contact the school at 1717 40th Ave S, Fargo, ND 58104, 701-446-3300, or email Amy Herrick.


Amy Herrick

Discovery Middle School Principal

Adventures For Teens

View the online middle school newsletter for teens.

Discovery Middle School

Amy Herrick, Principal

Amanda Quintus, Assistant Principal

Brandon Larson, Assistant Principal/Activities Coordinator

Ben Jystad-Spar, Administrative Intern