Hello Discovery & West Families!

Adventure Awaits!

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Throughout the school year, there have been many opportunities to celebrate the little things that may not have been recognized in past school years. There is a feeling of gratitude as we near the end of the first trimester and celebrate that we have been able to maintain face-to-face instruction for the first two months of school. As I visited a classroom, I overheard a student share with the rest of the class that her parents watched Superintendent Dr. Brenner's video and then told the class that "we get to stay in school". The rest of the class celebrated when hearing this news and I marveled at how excited the student's were when hearing this update. It was a powerful example of kids celebrating the little things, something that likely would not have been celebrated in the past. Our students are living through unprecedented times with Covid routines and expectations that can be challenging, and yet even with these hurdles, students still want to be in school. Our current reality presents daily opportunities for students to witness problem-solving, innovativeness, and adaptability within their classrooms and our school, as our students observe staff dealing with many Covid variables that allows us to keep our school open. With your patience and the efforts of the Discovery/West staff, let us all continue to be grateful for the little things.

Teacher's also continue to teach our students life lessons through our monthly assemblies and daily class meetings. Last month we held a "virtual assembly" where we kicked off our theme "Everyday Is An Adventure". Throughout the school year, students will have the opportunity to earn Adventure Tickets as we recognize character traits such as compassion, kindness, respect, grit, and courage, to name just a few. When a student earns five Adventure Tickets, students will be recognized as they add their passport to our school display and earn some 'adventure swag' that was purchased by our Discovery PTO. Included below are a few links from our virtual adventure assembly. As you watch the videos, you'll notice that even with Covid variables, we are finding ways to be creative and have fun together!

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Be sure to get in the habit of checking your child's temperature at home each morning.

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Arrival, Dismissal & Checking out your child(ren) during the day

School Day:

  • Arrival Bell: 8:20 am

  • Tardy Bell: 8:25 am

  • Dismissal Bell: 3:00 pm


Students that are utilizing the breakfast program can enter in door #7 beginning at 7:40. Students not eating breakfast at Discovery will go to their designated location outside to wait for the 8:20 am bell. We’ll ask students to wait at their designated doors with their class and not intermix with other classes due to exposure. Staff will provide supervision at the drop-off locations from 8:10 to 8:25. Anyone arriving after the tardy bell at 8:25 will need to use door #1 and check-in with the office staff before going to their classroom. Only the student can enter the school. Contingency plans will be shared with your children in the event of inclement weather. Please see the arrival/dismissal graphic for specific grade level drop off and pick up locations.


The safety of our students and staff is a top priority for us at Discovery and West Elementary Schools. As per district policy, schools will have parents meet their child(ren) at a designated location outside the school at dismissal time. Teachers will bring students to an assigned location outside the school. Students will meet their pick-up person at a prearranged meeting place near the assigned dismissal door. Older siblings will go to the youngest sibling’s assigned door so parents can pick up all children in the same location. Contingency plans will be shared with your children in the event of inclement weather. Please see the arrival/dismissal graphic for specific grade level drop off and pick up locations.

Checking out your child(ren) during the day:

If you are taking your child out of school early for any reason, please call the school office and let the secretaries know the time you plan to pick up. Please pick up your child(ren) at Door #1. Please walk up to the door and push the doorbell to communicate with the school secretaries. Once the secretary has confirmed who you are and who you are picking up, they will send the child(ren) out to you. Parents will not enter the building but will wait outside for their child to be sent out.

Absences & Tardies:

If your child is absent or late, call the attendance line by 8:30 am to leave a message. Communication between home and school ensures students safety.

  • Attendance Line: 701-787-4361

  • School Office: 701-787-4359

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Weather-related school cancellation or postponement information

Please click the link for weather-related school cancellation or postponement information.



Mass Communication:

Discovery and West School will use Blackboard ConnectEd for mass communication. This phone system is part of a ConnectEd calling system that allows principals or the Grand Forks School District to relay information to families in a timely manner. If you see a call from the GFPS on your caller ID, please pick it up and listen to the message. This is especially important if you don’t have voice mail or an answering machine. We then review the phone information to ensure that our numbers are current and that you received the message.


Calls do not ring into the classroom during school hours to minimize interruptions. Messages for students can be left on the teacher’s voicemail. However, Seesaw will be the best form of communication with classroom teachers.

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Changing of Seasons:

As we continue through this fall season, please be mindful of our changing North Dakota weather. Classes continue to go outside daily and so we encourage students to dress in layers so they are able to enjoy outdoor recess. Thank you.

After-School Activities:

At this time, the district is not conducting after school activities and/or clubs to allow our custodial staff time to thoroughly sanitize and prepare the building for the next day. The only option for after school care is Encore for those who have previously registered for that.


At this time, visitors (including parents) will not be allowed into the school building. Of course, extenuating circumstances may arise, so we’ll work with you to accommodate when possible. We will utilize Zoom and other digital avenues for parent meetings when possible.


When sending a snack or packing a lunch, please remember to check labels to make sure it does not contain or have traces of peanuts/nuts.

Birthday Treats:

Due to the increase in students who have severe food allergies and the higher levels of severity, we no longer celebrate student birthdays with a “birthday snack” in our schools. Parents are welcome to find other non-food items to send to school if they wish. Please discuss with your child’s classroom teacher for ideas or preferences.

Emergency & Crisis Procedures:

In order to ensure the safety of our students, all schools in the Grand Forks Public School District hold lockdown drills. In the event of a crisis situation, please be assured that our school has an emergency management plan in place and that school, district, and emergency staff will respond accordingly. We need your support and ask that you rely on media outlets and automated calling systems for information during an incident, rather than calling the school. It is very important that you understand in a crisis situation, school phones are needed to manage the situation and lines must remain open. You must also know you need to wait for instructions on student release rather than coming to the school. Emergency personnel responding to the situation need the area clear to do their job. After emergency responders determine that a safe student release is possible, arrangements will be made to reunite children with their families. In the aftermath of a crisis, it is important to remain calm as children are greatly influenced by their family’s sense of well-being, and anything that families can do to reassure students will be helpful. At the same time, families need to be compassionate listeners when their children speak of the crisis.


Do you want to help make decisions about how to support your children and their teachers? Well, then our PTO is just the group for you!Our PTO meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom. The PTO organizes and sponsors many events and activities throughout the school year. Please follow the Discovery and West’s Parent Teacher Organization on social media (Facebook & Twitter). The next PTO meeting will be Monday, November 9th at 6:00pm via Zoom. (We’ll share a Zoom link via the PTO’s social media pages.) Also, the PTO is looking for some members to take over a few open positions to round out the groups governing board. If you are interested in serving as the PTO President Elect, Secretary or Fundraiser Co-Chair, please email our PTO President at Nickybethkb@gmail.com.

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We are hiring two additional lunchroom monitors to help in our cafeteria each day from 10:45 am - 1:00 pm. If you are interested in applying, please call our school office.

Breakfast Program

Breakfast is available at 7:40 – 8:20 am to all students. Students arriving for breakfast should be dropped off in the east parking lot and enter through the cafeteria doors (door #7). Please note that our cafeteria supervision starts at 7:40 am, so we ask that you do not drop your child earlier, as the doors will not be unlocked. Once students arrive at breakfast, they will go to an assigned, consistent class location. The students will remain at this location until we dismiss students to their classrooms. Knowing that students may be waiting for quite a while, you may want to consider keeping a small bag of crayons in their backpack as we’ll have some activity sheets available for students to use when finished eating. Students can also bring a book to read or a writing/drawing notebook, if they prefer.


Starting 9/2/2020, breakfast and lunch at school are FREE to our PreK-12 students thanks to a waiver extension granted by USDA through the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

Please continue to fill out Free/Reduced applications as they may be needed later in the year. Federal funds and school-related fees are determined with this information. The failure to complete the application could result in the loss of millions of dollars to the school system which would negatively affect teaching and learning in a significant way. To access the application, please visit https://www.gfschools.org/Page/8333 or call 701-746-2436 for assistance.

Funds can be held in student accounts for when charges resume. Please disable any automatic payments on MySchoolBucks.com if you do not anticipate purchasing any a la carte items.

We will be getting more guidance from the state about meals already served and charged this school year and will keep you posted (https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2020/08/31/usda-extends-free-meals-kids-through-december-31-2020).

Students will be allowed one free breakfast and lunch meal which includes the main entree, applicable sides, fruits, vegetables, and milk. Extra entrees, a la carte snacks, and beverages will be available for purchase at the secondary level. Milk alone is considered an a la carte item and will be charged accordingly.

Curbside Lunch:

A hot lunch will be made available by request for full-time remote learners and high school students due to the hybrid learning model. Please continue to order meals using this form on a daily basis. The entree will follow the general hot lunch menu which is posted at https://schools.mealviewer.com/. A meal will include the entree, a fruit and vegetable, applicable sides, and the option of a milk. A Grab-n-Go Breakfast will be included so long as meals are free. Extras and a la carte items will not be available. Meal delivery is not available. Meals may be picked up at any of our school locations; please note the time frames below.

Meals will be available for pick up 10-10:30 a.m. at elementary schools, 10:15-10:45 a.m. at middle schools, and 10:30-11 a.m. at high schools. Please contact Emily Karel, RD (701-746-2436) for appropriate accommodations if there is a special dietary restriction.

Bus Information

Bus Tickets:

Bus Tickets are $10.00 for a strip of 10. Your child can purchase them at the school office. If you are writing a check, make it payable to GFPS. If paying in cash, please bring the exact amount due. Since visitors will not be allowed to enter the building, students will assist in the purchase and collection of tickets. The district also utilizes the option of purchasing bus tickets via myschoolbucks.com (we highly recommend this option). This can be done online at your convenience, and we can deliver the tickets to your student. Here is the link to the transportation page on the district website where you can find AM/PM routes - https://www.gfschools.org/Page/7894 .

We require all elementary students who ride a regular route bus to have a Backpack ID tag. If you have a student new to riding the bus, or you don't have the ID tag, please have your student visit the main office at their school.

Early Childhood Selective Screen

In order to identify students between the ages of 3 to 5 who have a

disability, the Grand Forks Special Education Unit holds a selective screen

one time monthly throughout the school year (September- April).

The purpose of the screen is to identify children who have a disability that

may affect their school performance when they are of school age. Data

collection in the areas of early intervention has demonstrated the benefits

of providing services early in the life of a child to significantly reduce the

impact of disability during the school years.

Screening is completed on a referral to the screen due to concerns about a

child’s development in the areas of speech/language, cognition, general

development, social/emotional, fine and gross motor skills, vision and

hearing. If you have questions about the screenings or have a child you

would like to refer to the screen, please contact the Grand Forks Special

Education Unit office at 701-746-2230.

Early childhood selective screenings require pre-registration and will be

held on Wednesdays at the Mark Sanford Education Center 2400 47th

Avenue South.

Screening Dates:

● November 18th , 2020

● December 16th , 2020

● January 20th , 2020

● February 24th , 2020

● March 24th , 2020

● April 21st , 2020


Believe it or not, you’ve been a role model for your kids since they first entered this world. This
means that every time you say something, behave in a certain way, or react to someone or
something, your kids are observing your behavior. From preschoolers learning how to manage
frustration by watching you to teenagers observing how you handle your personal relationships
or work stress; your kids are always watching. The good news is that teaching by example is
often easier and more effective than forcing your kids to obey rules by scaring, threatening, or
bribing them with rewards. How do I role model? Visit www.parentslead.org for more information.

Family Services

Family Services:

We’re here to assist all families! If you have needs for your child, please visit with AJ Lester (alester260@mygfschools.org), Discovery’s Social Worker and Alisa Bowman (abowman260@mygfschools.org), West’s Social Worker. They are both here to help make school a successful place for your child. For more information, check in with either social worker directly.

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Thanksgiving Turkey Baskets

As you may know, each year the UND Mortar Board hosts a turkey basket drive around Thanksgiving. This is for families who may need some extra assistance with providing a complete Thanksgiving meal for their family to enjoy. The baskets include all the things needed for a turkey dinner, including a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and pie filling. If your family would like to receive a turkey basket, please complete the following form, which will submit to your school social worker. The deadline to submit is November 3rd.

The pick up will take place on Saturday, November 21st from 10am-2pm. The pick up takes place at the UND Transportation building on the UND Campus (directions will be sent out). You MUST be able to pick up your basket on the day of the event, so please note the day and time you're required to pick up. Very limited delivery will be available, please contact your school social worker if you feel this deliver service is absolutely necessary.

Please click this link to get signed up for a turkey basket: https://forms.gle/vBgyjncfiTU2U43y8

IMPORTANT: if you already submitted this turkey basket form, please re-submit using the correct link above.

If you have any additional questions, please contact your school social worker:

AJ Lester (Discovery and Twining)- 701-317-6620

Alisa Bowman (West Elementary)- 701-215-6866

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