The District Insider

Volume 6, Issue 3 | October 2018

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Grand Forks Public Schools to Add Several Support Positions

Grand Forks Public Schools has received $427,611 in funds through Title IV, Part A, which will allow the district to add several new positions.

This flexible formula-funded grant provides school districts with funds to provide access to a well-rounded curriculum, utilize effective instructional technology, and support safe and healthy schools and students.

“We gathered input from our administrators, counselors, social workers, parents, and community agencies on what their priorities were,” said Jody Thompson, Associate Superintendent. “It was very clear that providing support to students was the number one answer. With these new positions we'll be able to support students from all three levels; elementary, middle, and high school."

Grand Forks Public Schools will be adding a school-based substance abuse counselor, two student behavior facilitators, and several social workers.

The school-based substance abuse counselor will provide support to at-risk students at the middle and high school levels. The student behavior facilitators will work at all three levels working with students who have on-going behavior issues and provide best practices and strategies support to teachers and support staff. The addition of social workers will provide more support and assistance to students and families in need across the district.

“We are extremely excited to add these positions to our district, as they will be wonderful resources for our students, staff, and families,” said Dr. Terry Brenner, Superintendent of Schools.

The positions are posted on Grand Forks Public Schools’ online application system at The deadline to apply for each position is October 1, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time.

Moen Named Student of the Year

Austin Moen, a graduate of Community High School, has been named the North Dakota Association for Lifelong Learning (NDALL) Alternative Education Student of the Year.

The award was announced at the NDALL fall conference on September 20 in Bismarck.

The Student of the Year award is given to a current or recent student/graduate who demonstrates determination and perseverance and sacrifices to achieve his/her education goals.

“Austin is focused on his future,” said Community High School teacher Kristen Marcott in the award nomination. “I am without a doubt he will continue to influence others and be a positive contributing member of society. He is the true definition of an inspiration, as he gives hope and promise to those who have the pleasure to know him.”

Moen was nominated for the award by Community High School teachers Emily Johnson, Marcott, and Eileen Zygarlicke.

NDALL is a statewide association that supports adult education and alternative education, its providers and clients. For more information, visit

Students Volunteer Through Helping Hands Program

Over 100 middle and high school students in Grand Forks Public Schools’ Helping Hands youth volunteer program completed 5,315 hours of community service during the summer of 2018.

Each summer, the eight week Helping Hands program kicks off with students attending instructional sessions that focus on character traits, attitudes and behaviors, volunteer opportunities, interest surveys, and discovering authentic community needs. The students are then assigned to a local agency where each student will volunteer, including thrift stores, non-profit daycares, nursing home facilities, schools, homeless shelters, and parks.

“The Helping Hands program creates wonderful opportunities for service learning,” said Sarah Shimek, Character Education and Prevention Coordinator at Grand Forks Public Schools. “The youth develop valuable leadership, communication, and empathy skills that build character and promote a sense of community.”

In the past 17 years, Helping Hands youth volunteers have contributed over 87,000 hours of community service to the greater Grand Forks areas.

Fifth Distinguished Alumni Class at Grand Forks Central Announced

Grand Forks Central High School selected Andrew Towne to join its group of Distinguished Alumni.

Towne was formally inducted during a Homecoming Pep Rally on September 20 at 2 p.m. He also addressed students earlier that day.

The Distinguished Alumni designation honors graduates of Grand Forks Central who have made a significant impact on their communities and professions and serve as models of success to current Grand Forks Central students.

A portrait and biography of the Towne will hang in the hallways of Grand Forks Central, joining past inductees Dr. Tom Amberry, Lucy Dalglish, Ronald Davies, Hal Gershman, Jeffrey Holmes, Phyllis (Lanes) Johnson, Peter Lindgren, Paul Markovich, Stuart McDonald, Dr. Casey Ryan, Wes Rydell, Jill (Simmons) Techel, and Dr. Kathryn Uhrich, and Chris Vein.

2018 Grand Forks Central Distinguished Alumni Class

Andrew Towne

A 2000 Grand Forks Central co-Valedictorian and graduate, Andrew Towne is a project leader for Boston Consulting Group, where he has identified over half a billion dollars in vertical integration opportunities for wind turbine and industrial machinery manufacturers. He previously worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as an analyst, and authored intelligence products and provided analysis during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

He is also one of only 150 people to have climbed the tallest mountain on all seven continents. Through these endeavors, Towne has raised over $50,000 to promote intercultural understanding for U.S. students, with a focus on students from the northern plains.

Towne holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Political Science from Yale University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. While in college, Towne received multiple scholarships and awards, won the Division I National Championship as a member of Yale’s Varsity Lightweight Crew Rowing Team, and a National Championship in the Club Half Marathon with the Cross Country Team.

Early Enrollment Numbers Increase Over Spring

Grand Forks Public Schools, which includes public schools in the city of Grand Forks and Nathan F. Twining Elementary and Middle School on the Grand Forks Air Force Base, had 7,330 students enrolled on the opening days of school.

When comparing this year’s opening enrollment to last year’s opening enrollment of 7,440, there was a decrease of 110 students.

In comparison to the May 2018 enrollment of 7,282 students, there was an increase of 78 students.

The district’s largest grade level of students was in first grade (605 students). The kindergarten class has 576 students.

“It is concerning to see a decrease in students compared to this time last school year,” said Terry Brenner, Superintendent of Grand Forks Public Schools. “Our Kindergarten-5th grade enrollment is 94 students fewer compared to this time last year (3,501 students vs. 3,595 students). A portion of this can be attributed to a smaller kindergarten class (576 students vs. 637 students). Our district demographer, RSP and Associates, is reviewing this information and will provide a formal report later this fall.”

An official enrollment report will be completed at the end of September and presented at a Grand Forks School Board meeting in October.

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Congratulations to the following students and staff on their recent accomplishments!

  • 2018 Girls’ Golf East Region Champions (Red River High School)
  • 2018 Girls’ Golf East Region All-Tournament Team members: Lily Bredemeier, Red River High School; Kelly DeBeltz, Red River High School; Maggie Manson, Red River High School

  • 2018 Girls’ Golf All-EDC Team members: Lily Bredemeier, Red River High School; Kelly DeBeltz, Red River High School; Lexi Laframboise, Red River High School

  • 2018 Girls’ Golf East Region Medalist: Lily Bredemeier, Red River High School

  • 2019 North Dakota Teacher of the Year (NDTOY) award finalist: Leslye Thiery, 5th grade teacher at Discovery Elementary.

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2018 Girls’ Golf East Region Champions (Red River High School)

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Contact Grand Forks Public Schools

Mark Sanford Education Center

2400 47th Ave. S

Grand Forks, ND 58201