SchoolTalk

FPS e-Newsletter for November 18, 2021

- SPOTLIGHT -

Cabinet Column — FPS Annual Report

The Fargo Public Schools 2020–21 Annual Report has been posted online. To review the document, simply click on this link. This document includes information on educational programs and services available to our students and families. Additionally, it provides a snapshot of a unique year in Fargo Public Schools as the District adjusted to the impact of COVID-19 in our community.


Read more about the 2020-21 Annual Report in this Cabinet Column from FPS Superintendent Dr. Rupak Gandhi or watch the #FPSLearns below..

#FPSLearns 2020-2021 Annual Report

Feature Column — Thanksgiving: A Native American Perspective

There is more to the story of Thanksgiving than the old folktale of the pilgrims inviting the "Indians" to a feast which became known as the "First Thanksgiving," and it’s important that we teach the facts from many perspectives. The Indians were actually the Wampanoag, who suffered a 75% loss of their people as a result of the contact with explorers and settlers on their homelands on the east coast. This was due to foreign illnesses and, more so, the aggressive actions done to them in the takeover of their precious lands.


Learn more about how to teach students about Thanksgiving with a Native American perspective in this Feature Column from FPS Indian Education Cultural Specialist Ricky White.

Feature Column — A Focus on Choice Ready Graduates

As Director of Career and Technical Education, I am often asked what Fargo Public Schools (FPS) is doing to help students become prepared for life after high school. For every student, this 13- year journey from elementary school to middle school, and middle school to high school is a slow process. It can feel like a mirage as students and parents/guardians navigate their way to graduation. However, I would like to imagine this experience a bit more like Santa’s workshop, where a team of elves is working delignating behind the scenes throughout the years to create events that will provide a memorable learning experience for each student, and the gift to graduate “Choice Ready.”


Read more about what it means to be "Choice Ready" in this Feature Column from FPS Director of Career & Technical Education Denise Jonas.

- HEALTH & SAFETY -

COVID-19 Mitigation Strategy Update

Please read this letter from Fargo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Rupak Gandhi for an update to the COVID-19 mitigation strategies used in our schools outside of the instructional day and in our other district buildings that are not schools. And read this letter from Dr. Gandhi for an update on the mitigation strategy changes that will take place beginning Monday, January 17.


As of November 10, masks are strongly encouraged (not required) for all individuals in school buildings during non-instructional hours and district facilities that are not schools. This recommendation is subject to change based on the guidance being provided for general community events. In addition to other mitigation strategies including but not limited to screening, testing, and handwashing, universal masking will continue to be required for all students, staff and visitors in school buildings during instructional hours.


In accordance with updated guidance from Fargo Cass Public Health, effective Monday, January 17, 2022, masks will be recommended (not required) in all Fargo Public School buildings at all times. Universal masking will still be utilized inside all Fargo Public School buildings during instructional hours until January 17, 2022.


Masks will still be required for all riders and drivers on FPS transportation, including school buses and activity buses due to a federal requirement.

Pre-Registration Required at COVID-19 Testing Sites

Pre-registration is required for all individuals wishing to be tested at either of Fargo Public Schools' COVID-19 testing sites or at the Fargo Cass Public Health (FCPH) testing site. Individuals can register by following this link or using the QR code provided. Registration is good for both the FPS and FCPH sites.


COVID-19 testing is available to asymptomatic individuals at the FPS testing sites located at North High School and South High School from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on days that school is in session. Those with symptoms must be tested at the FCPH testing site at 3051 25th Street South, Fargo, Suite K. The site is located in the Family Fare strip mall between Hi-Ho burgers and Grand Junction Grilled Subs. If an individual receives more than one test, they must wait until all test results come back before they can return to school.

FPS COVID-19 Data

Fargo Public Schools provides a weekly report of COVID-19 data within the District. Information is updated every Friday that school is in session, and can be found on the FPS COVID-19 data webpage.

- NEWSMAKERS -

Diving State Champion

Davies High School diver Madison Hischer won the 1-meter Diving state championship at the North Dakota High School Activities Association Swimming and Diving State Meet on November 13 at the Bismarck State College Aquatics Center. Hischer posted a score of 463.20 in the finals to claim the state crown. It is her second championship after also winning in 2019. Hischer is committed to compete at Ball State in college.


South High School's Katie Iverson was second in the 200-yard individual medley and third in the 100 backstroke. North High School's Addison Cerney was third in the 200 IM.

Student Congress Awards

Davies High School student congress coach Denise Raeder-Johnson was named the North Dakota Student Congress Coach of the Year.


Davies' Cady Wang finished fifth in House I and qualified for the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) Nationals. South's Nathan Rateau was also fifth in House I and is an alternate for nationals.

Library Media Specialist Honored with Unique Opportunity

Congratulations to Clara Barton Elementary School Library Media Specialist Louie Lauer on being accepted into the Bill Morris seminar: Book Evaluation Training, through the Association for Library Service to Children. This seminar is an opportunity to learn more about children's media evaluation techniques. It also opens up future opportunities to serve on literary awards committees. Lauer had to submit an application and recommendations from colleagues and acceptance to the program is selective.

South Signing Day

Two South High School athletes signed their National Letters of Intent to compete in college on November 10. Adie Wagner signed to compete in basketball and golf at Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Katie Iverson signed to participate in swimming at the University of St. Thomas.

Davies Signing Day

Seven athletes from Davies High School signed National Letters of Intent to compete in college athletics on signing day on November 10. Madison Hischer signed to dive at Ball State. Ava Olson signed to golf at Minnesota State-Mankato. Ian Motschenbacher signed to play basketball at Northern State. Easton Rerick signed to play baseball at Northern State. Ava Wild signed to play volleyball at St. Thomas. Lauren Lamp signed to golf at Concordia. Jensen Seidel signed to play soccer at Minnesota State University-Moorhead.

North Signing Day

Three Fargo North athletes signed National Letters of Intent to compete in college athletics on their signing day on November 10. Julia Steiner signed to compete in basketball at Dakota Wesleyan. Emily Skalicky signed to compete in volleyball at Minnesota State University-Moorhead. And Anna Lien signed to compete in cross country at the University of Minnesota.

Swimming & Diving East Region Outstanding Senior Athlete

Congratulations to South High School swimmer Katie Iverson on being named the co-North Dakota High School Coaches Association POWERade Outstanding Senior Athlete of the Year with West Fargo Sheyenne's Greta Bellas.

Swimming & Diving East Region Coach of the Year

Congratulations to North High School swimming and dive coach Talia Butery on being named the North Dakota High School Coaches Association East Region Subway Swimming & Diving Coach of the Year.

11A Football Coach of the Year

North High School football coach Adam Roland was named the 2021 North Dakota High School Coaches Association (NDHSCA) Coach of the Year for Class 11A Football. Roland led the Spartans to a 7-4 record, the EDC 11A Regular Season Eastern Dakota Conference Championship, and a trip to the 11A state semifinals.

- YOUR FPS -

NO SCHOOL — November 24-26

There will be NO SCHOOL for all FPS students November 24-26 due to a professional development day and the Thanksgiving holiday break. Classes and activities will resume as regularly scheduled on Monday, November 29.

2022 State of the Schools & Public Focus Group

Fargo Public Schools will hold the 2022 State of the Schools Address & Public Focus Group on Thursday, January 13, 2022 from 6-8:15 p.m. at South High School, 1840 South 15th Avenue, Fargo in the theater.


Parents, staff and community members are invited to participate and are encouraged to pre-register by 4 p.m. on December 17, 2021 by signing up online at www.fargo.k12.nd.us/focusgroup or calling 701.446.1005. Questions posed in the focus groups will concentrate on the District’s Strategic Plan. Pre-registered attendees will receive reading materials electronically in advance of the event. For more information, including the questions to be discussed in the focus groups, visit www.fargo.k12.nd.us/focusgroup.

Hear for the Kids Podcast: Trauma

Carl Ben Eielson Counselor Rachel Johnson joins hosts Cassie Larson, counselor at Eagles Elementary, and FPS Student Wellness and Family Facilitator Carly Gaddie on the new Hear for the Kids podcast. On the podcast, Johnson gives an overview of trauma and explains why it is important to look through a trauma lens. Click on the video below to watch the podcast or click here to listen.
Looking through a Trauma Lens

Free At-Home Pre-K Program Available to FPS Families

A free at-home Pre-K program is available for Fargo Public Schools families. Waterford Upstart is an online kindergarten readiness program that gives your child a fun start in reading, math, and science in just 15 minutes a day, five days a week.


Students learn a variety of ready skills including letter recognition, letter sounds, initial sounds, real words, vocabulary and more. On average, children who use Waterford Upstart enter kindergarten reading at nearly a first grade level.


The program is entirely free. Waterford Upstart provides everything you need to help your child get ready for kindergarten, even a computer. Learn more about the program and how to register by viewing this flyer.

Ben Franklin One Act Play

Ben Franklin Middle School presents the one-act play Crazytown by Jonathan Rand. Take a tour of the most messed up town in America, from the police interrogation room where the nicest guy in town is issued a strange ultimatum, to the elementary school for a heated political debate on critical issues like tater tots. Welcome to Crazytown, where our motto is: Welcome to Crazytown.

Crazytown will be performed at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 19 in the Ben Franklin Middle School auditorium. Tickets are free to the public. The show is appropriate for all ages and has a runtime of about 75 minutes.

South High School Musical

South High School Theater presents Guys and Dolls. This Tony Award-winning musical, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, follows a crew of gamblers as they thread their way through the world of love on their way to the floating craps game.


Guys and Dolls runs from Thursday, November 18 through Sunday, November 21. Thursday-to-Saturday performances are 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors and can be purchased at the FPS online Theater Box Office.

FPS Federal Credit Union Giving Tree

Many families are in need this holiday season, and you can help make their season brighter. The Fargo Public Schools (FPS) Federal Credit Union is partnering with the District's student wellness and family facilitators to host a Giving Tree. To learn how to participate and what items are needed, view this poster.

- FEATURE -

Explorer Academy Open House and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

On Tuesday, November 16, Fargo Public Schools (FPS) held an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony for its newest facility and program, the Explorer Academy, which opened this school year.


The FPS Explorer Academy is North Dakota’s first K-8 special education day public school with integrated project-based STEAM and gross motor program opportunities. It strives to support the whole child by embedding social-emotional learning in all facets of their educational experience. The Explorer Academy staff strive to build relationships with every student to guide and engage them in self-regulation skills to enhance their academic and social-emotional growth.


Read more about the Explorer Academy and the open house and ribbon cutting ceremony.

Carrying on the Veterans Day Family Tradition

The last time Mark Seeba saw his father, Walter Seeba, smile was when he showed the 91-year-old Korean War veteran a news clip about his grandson — and Mark’s nephew — U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Ryan Seeba giving a Veterans Day presentation to Mark’s Washington Elementary fourth grade class last year. Walt was too sick to say anything, but Mark knew his father was happy to see Ryan carrying on his tradition.


Ryan returned this year to give another Zoom presentation on the day before Veterans Day. Read more about Lieutenant Commander Ryan Seeba's presentation to his uncle's class.

- COMMUNITY -

Cellist Visits Ben Franklin Before F-M Symphony Orchestra Performance

While in town to solo with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, cellist Amit Peled visited 6-8th grade cello and bass students at Ben Franklin Middle School on Friday, November 12th. During his visit, he performed various pieces of music, led listening activities, discussed his early life in Israel, what it is like being a teacher and traveling artist, and answered student questions about his instrument and other topics. Students were shocked to learn that he was playing on a more than 300-year-old instrument.

Adopt-A-School Partner Honored

Heat Transfer Warehouse, an FPS Adopt-A-School partner with McKinley Elementary, received the 2021 Corporate Leader in Philanthropy award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals ND, North Plains Chapter.


Through the Adopt-A-School partnership team members read to kindergarten students every Friday and have developed positive relationships between the students and community members. Whenever the school or Parent Teacher Association (PTA) need volunteers Heat Transfer Warehouse team members volunteer to fill their needs during school carnivals, Dr. Seuss Lunch, and for many more activities. Heat Transfer Warehouse also promotes school pride and donates either a sweatshirt or jacket along with a bag or backpack to every student and staff member at McKinley Elementary.

Fall 2021 AlumniNews

Check out the Fall 2021 AlumniNews! See what’s happening with Fargo Public Schools Alumni, including: Reunion Updates, Hall of Famers, and Alumni Briefs.

City of Fargo Recycling Challenge

The City of Fargo and MinnKota Recycling are holding a "Cans to Cartons" Recycling Challenge throughout November. MinnKota Recycling will donate one cent per pound of aluminum cans collected at the MinnKota Redemption Center and the City of Fargo recycling drops to the Fargo Public School Foundations "Got No Milk" program.


The program provides mid-morning milk for elementary students snack. The City of Fargo donated $192.15 to the "Got No Milk" program in 2020, helping purchase 549 cartons of milk. Read this release from the City of Fargo to learn more about the program and recycling drop-off sites.

- BOARD FOCUS -

Board Column - Governmental Affairs Committee Update

The 67th North Dakota Legislative Assembly held a special session during the week of Monday, November 8. The impetuses for the session were to address redistricting as a result of the decennial census and to appropriate funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Other bills could be added to the session by working through the Delayed Bills Committee, agency requests, or a two-thirds majority of legislators.

Read more about bills that garnered the most attention from the FPS Board of Education Governmental Affairs Committee in this Board Column from Board of Education Vice President Robin Nelson.

The Board of Education of the City of Fargo meets in regular session on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Currently, regular meetings are being held virtually via teleconferencing due to COVID-19 impacts. Please be sure to check each meeting agenda for the meeting location and any special instructions.


To find Board meeting agendas and schedules, a broadcast link, an archive of past meetings, and more, visit the Board of Education webpages on the FPS website.


Read the Board Briefs from the November 9 regular meeting of the School Board.

- IN FOCUS -

- FPS IN THE NEWS -

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Fargo Public Schools - SchoolTalk

This newsletter is published weekly on Thursdays during the school year when classes are in session. Material for publication is due by noon on Tuesday of the week of desired publication.