The District Insider
Volume 9, Issue 4 | November 2021
Grand Forks Schools Receive VEX Robotics Grants
Grand Forks Public Schools has been awarded $32,000 in Grant for Innovation Awards from the North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education.
The purpose of the grants is to provide new, innovative science, technology, engineering, or innovation programs for students, with preference given to projects involving robotics competition.
Each elementary school can receive up to $2,000 for VEX Robotics clubs. Middle schools will each receive $1,500 for VEX IQ Teams, and Grand Forks Central and Red River high schools will receive $2,500 for VEX EDR Teams.
VEX Robotics is an innovative robotics design platform that transforms STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning for students and their teachers. Students create and program robots to operate both by remote control and autonomously.
In VEX Competitions, teams of students are tasked with designing and building a robot to compete against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge. The VEX Robotics projects encourage teamwork, leadership, and problem solving among groups. VEX Robotics Competitions are the largest and fastest-growing robotics competitions in the world.
The grants were written by Eric Ripley, executive director of career and technical education.
Grand Forks Organizations Receive Substance Abuse Prevention Funding
The Grand Forks Public Health Department, in partnership with the Grand Forks Public Schools, has been awarded up to $62,500 to combat underage drinking.
The North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Behavioral Health Division had been awarded $750,000 through the 2021 Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. This funding appropriated additional dollars to states through the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program.
The goals of the program are to increase capacity for sustaining prevention in the public health and behavioral health systems throughout the state, as well as make positive changes in data-driven priority areas.
The contract will be implemented from October 1, 2021-September 20, 2022, and divided into three phases:
- Phase 1: Assessment and planning, October 1 - October 31, 2021
- Phase 2: Implementation, November 1, 2021 - July 31, 2022
- Phase 3: Evaluation, August 1 - September 30, 2022
“This funding will benefit students in Grand Forks Public Schools. Being able to provide primary prevention strategies that specifically target underage drinking will allow us to continue to promote the healthy communities we want all of our children to thrive in and grow,” said Sarah Shimek, character education and prevention coordinator at Grand Forks Public Schools. “This funding has been awarded to the Grand Forks community in the past and will continue to have a positive impact on the youth in our school system.”
Grand Forks Central Student Attend FBLA Fall Leadership Conference
Members of the Grand Forks Central High School's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter attended the ND FBLA Fall Leadership Conference in Bismarck on October 3-4.
Over 400 FBLA high school and middle school members and advisors from across the state participated in this conference where the emphasis was on developing the leadership skills of local chapter members.
Attendees had the opportunity to participate in sessions focused on leadership development, time management, and team survival and success. In addition, chapters had an opportunity to learn about state and national FBLA membership and recognition programs.
FBLA is a professional organization for students interested in pursuing business careers. This year’s theme, “Success Starts Here,” reflects the mission and goals that FBLA members strive to achieve. FBLA’s mission is to inspire and prepare students to become community-minded business leaders in a global society through relevant career preparation and leadership experience.
Advisors are Megan Sullivan and Trevor Lennon.
Students Volunteer Through Helping Hands Program
Thirty-seven middle and high school students in Grand Forks Public Schools’ Helping Hands youth volunteer program completed 1,396 hours of community service during the summer of 2021.
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. Agencies include thrift stores, non-profit daycares, schools, homeless shelters, and parks.
“The Helping Hands program creates wonderful opportunities for service learning. The youth develop valuable leadership, communication, and empathy skills that build character and promote a sense of community,” said Sarah Shimek, character education and prevention coordinator for Grand Forks Public Schools.
Over the past 20 years, Helping Hands youth volunteers have contributed over 93,550 hours of community service to the greater Grand Forks area.
Alumni of the Month
Do you know an alum of Grand Forks Public Schools with a great achievement, life event, or other news to share with our community?
The Grand Forks Foundation for Education and Grand Forks Public Schools wants to hear about it! We recently announced the "GFPS Alumni of the Month" program in an effort to showcase our alumni who have gone on to do amazing things.
Do you know a grad who deserves recognition? Please submit a nomination form today!
Thank you to the Grand Forks Noon Rotary Club for your generous donation to Grand Forks Public Schools! The organization donated $4,000 to assist with providing winter gear to students whose families request assistance. Pictured above are GFPS social workers Logan Kassa, Shelly Sholand, and Sara Munson with Rotarian Mary Adams. Note: face masks were temporarily removed for the photograph.
Ms. McMillan's class at Elroy Schroeder Middle School participated in campfire conversations earlier this month. During this activity, students embrace the importance of storytelling and entertainment during their narrative unit.
Looking to the Future
The Northern Valley Career Expo was held on October 27. The annual event introduces 10th grade students to career opportunities and post-secondary training options available within the region as they continue to plan for their future. In addition to attending two career breakout sessions from among 22 choices, students toured the arena floor where there were more than 100 hands-on exhibit booths designed to engage students and raise their awareness of career opportunities in Northwest Minnesota and Northeast North Dakota (photo courtesy Emilia Hodgson).
Honing Our Craft
Teachers and administrators throughout Grand Forks Public Schools participated in professional development on October 20. The focus of the work was on High-Reliability Schools, sharpening skills surrounding Level 1 (Safe, Supportive, and Collaborative Culture), and looking toward Level 2 certification (Effective Teaching in Every Classroom) (photo courtesy Amy Bartsch).
Examples of Excellence
- Congratulations to the Grand Forks Central High School Boys' Tennis Team, the 2021 NDHSAA Team State Champions (shown above)! Logan Sandberg (Grand Forks Central) took home the singles title in the tournament while Red River's Espen Schneider and Saylor Kuenzel won the doubles title.
- Congratulations to the following members of the 2021 Boys' Tennis All-State Team: Kellen Johnson, Red River High School; Saylor Kuenzel, Red River High School; Ryder McDonald, Grand Forks Central High School; Evan Panzer, Grand Forks Central High School; Logan Sandberg, Grand Forks Central High School; Espen Schneider, Red River High School; Cole Wilber, Grand Forks Central High School). Sandberg was also named Outstanding Senior Athlete of the Year.
- Congratulations to Grand Forks Central's Max Weisser on being selected as Boys' Tennis Coach of the Year.
- Congratulations to Grand Forks Central's Ryder McDonald and Logan Sandberg on being named to the Class A Boys' Tennis All-State Single Team.
- Congratulations to Espen Schneider/Saylor Kuenzel (Red River) and Cole Wilber/Evan Panzer (Grand Forks Central) on being named to the Class A Boys' Tennis All-State Doubles Team.
- Congratulations to Gannon Brooks (Red River) on being selected to the Class A Boys' Soccer All-State First Team. Noah Burger (Red River), Owen Fields (Grand Forks Central), and Caleb Severson (Red River) were named to the All-State Second Team.
- Congratulations to the following members of the 2021 Boys' Soccer All-EDC Team: Gannon Brooks, Red River High School; Noah Burger, Red River High School; Owen Fields, Grand Forks Central High School; Ethan Dockter, Red River High School; Caleb Severson, Red River High School. Brooks was also named EDC Senior Athlete of the Year.
- Congratulations to Luke Glasoe, 2021 Boys' Soccer EDC Coach of the Year.
- Congratulations to Red River High School's boys' and girls' cross country teams on each being the runner-up in the 2021 State Cross Country Meets!
- Congratulations to the following cross country student-athletes for being named to the All-State Teams: Campbell Dorsey, Red River High School; Lauren Dosch, Red River High School; Annika Presteng, Grand Forks Central High School; Jocelyn Schiller, Red River High School; Elijah Defoe, Red River High School; Hunter McHenry, Red River High School; Quinn Roehl, Grand Forks Central High School; Matthew Rongitsch, Red River High School; Dameon Zenawick, Red River High School).
- Congratulations to the Red River High School Boys' and Girls' Cross Country Teams for winning the EDC Team Championships (shown above)! Hunter McHenry was the boys' individual champion and Jocelyn Schiller was the girls' individual champion. This is the first time in school history that both the boys and girls have swept the individual and team EDC titles. McHenry was also named East Region Senior Athlete of the Year.
- Congratulations to Cross Country All-EDC Team members: Elijah Dafoe, Red River High School; Jonah Dafoe, Red River High School; Zach Martin, Grand Forks Central High School; Hunter McHenry, Red River High School; Quinn Roehl, Grand Forks Central High School; Matt Rongitsch, Red River High School; Dameon Zenawick, Red River High School; and Gannon Brooks, Red River High School; Noah Burger, Red River High School; Owen Fields, Grand Forks Central High School; Ethan Dockter, Red River High School; Caleb Severson, Red River High School.
- Congratulations to Sarah Boese-Noreen, the East Region Coach of the Year in Girls' Cross Country.
- Teacher - Viking Elementary School
- Special Education Teacher
- Innovations Teacher - Valley Middle School
- Teacher - Century Elementary
- Grade 6 Teacher - Valley Middle School
- EL Paraprofessional - Century Elementary School
- Float Paraprofessional - Head Start
- Physical Therapy Assistant
- 504 Paraprofessional - Elroy Schroeder Middle School
- Assistive Technology Paraprofessional
- Mental Health Therapist
- Snow Removal (on-call)
- Paraprofessional - Resource Educator - Red River High School
- Title I Interventionist Tutor - Century Elementary
- Instructional Paraprofessional - Grand Forks Central High School
- Substitute Custodian Application Pool
- Custodian Application Pool
- Bus Monitor (part-time)
- Executive Assistant - Grand Forks Foundation for Education
- Lunchroom Paraprofessional Pool
- Elementary Level Paraprofessional
- Secondary Level Paraprofessional
- Cook Application Pool
- Paraprofessional - ENCORE Program
- November 8: Grand Forks School Board meeting (tour (open to the public) of Elroy Schroeder Middle School, 5:30 p.m.; regular meeting at the Mark Sanford Education Center, 6:30 p.m.)
- November 10: Early Release (Twining/middle/high schools: 1 p.m., elementary schools: 1:30 p.m.)
- November 11: No School K-12; District Office Closed (Veterans Day)
- November 19: End of 1st Trimester (elementary schools)
- November 22: Joint Grand Forks School Board/Grand Forks Air Force Base School Board Meeting (6 p.m., Mark Sanford Education Center)
- November 25-26: No School K-12; District Office Closed