The District Insider

Volume 6, Issue 2 | September 2018

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Grand Forks Head Start Classroom and Playground Project Receives Otto Bremer Trust Grant

The Grand Forks Foundation for Education is thrilled to announce the Grand Forks Head Start classroom and playground project at 4000 Valley Square has received a $40,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Trust.

Grand Forks Head Start joined with Valley Memorial Homes last year to locate two classrooms and a playground at 4000 Valley Square, located at 4000 24thAve. S in Grand Forks. The project is a collaboration between the two organizations and respective foundations – the Grand Forks Foundation for Education and Valley Memorial Foundation.

“We are grateful for the opportunity that the Otto Bremer Trust has given Head Start and Valley Memorial Homes to secure a playground for our students and the residents and their families,” said Tracey Johnson, Director of Grand Forks Head Start. “This playground will allow us to provided outdoor programming for our students and the residents in a safe and secure environment.”

These classrooms, opening in the Fall of 2018, will align with the concept of intergenerational learning, or the informal process of passing down culture and knowledge. This unique program setting will enable easy interaction between our community’s valued elders and young children.

“The Grand Forks Foundation for Education understands that intergenerational programming works with adults and children to foster stronger, healthier communities,” said Charlotte Johnson, co-CEO and trustee, Otto Bremer Trust. “This grant will help bring together children who need support and the adults who have the time and inclination to provide it.”

Since 1965, the Head Start program has provided comprehensive early education and support services to low-income children age 3 and 4 and their families by supporting their development in a comprehensive way. Focused on the "whole child," these services include early education addressing cognitive, developmental, and social-emotional needs; medical and dental screenings and referrals; nutritional services, parental involvement activities; referrals to social service providers for the entire family; and mental health services.

“This grant from the Otto Bremer Trust has helped us reach our fundraising goal and will allow us to complete our project this fall,” said Emilia Hodgson, Director of the Grand Forks Foundation for Education. “They see the value in our intergenerational learning experiment, helping us bring the young and the young at heart together.”

For more information about the project, please contact Hodgson at 701.787.4867.

Grand Forks Public Schools Launches Mobile App

The latest news and information from Grand Forks Public Schools is now available on smartphones and mobile devices with an official mobile application on the iTunes® and Google Play® app stores for free.

The mobile app expands the school systems communication outreach with a continuously updated feed of news and events with photos and links to Grand Forks Public Schools websites. The app can also be customized by the user by selecting the schools they are most interested in for news and updates. Users can also choose to receive push notifications to get news and updates.

To download the app on your device:

To follow any school to receive push notifications:

  • Open the app
  • Click on the “Settings” icon (located in the upper right-hand corner)
  • Click on “Follow schools” and select the school(s) you would like to follow
  • Under each school, please make sure you have marked “Receive Inbox Messages” and also have marked any other item(s) you would like to receive.

“We know that our students are more successful in schools when families are engaged in their learning and school activities. National research has shown over 75 percent of parents have a smartphone, and mobile users spend over 80 percent of their time on apps compared to the mobile web,” said Tracy Jentz, Communications and Community Engagement Coordinator for Grand Forks Public Schools. “The app works seamlessly with Grand Forks Public Schools websites and mass communication system, and provides one additional way for us to share content with the Grand Forks community using technology they are familiar with.”

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Grand Forks Public Schools has created a partnership with Purposity, a platform connecting students in need throughout Grand Forks Public Schools with those that can help.

Dubbed Your Tool for Good, the Purposity platform sends a weekly text to users with information about a need in their area. Needs range from items like shoes and jackets to school supplies and small household items. It also features user profiles, which track donors’ giving and allows them to see their impact. The company’s vision takes aim at uniting neighbors and communities around purpose by easily connecting them with opportunities for generosity.

“What is so incredible about our community is the desire for people to connect with other people,” said Jennifer Modeen, school social worker and one of the driving forces behind bringing Purposity to Grand Forks Public Schools. “This is a perfect opportunity for our community members to know and understand the needs right here in Grand Forks Public Schools, provide a way to connect to our youth, and be able to respond in a way that shows care and concern for our young people, which makes our community vital and strong.”

Those who sign up receive a weekly alert with a link to a story of a student in need and can then choose to meet that need right on their phone. The requested item is in hands of school social workers in just a few days. It takes one text, under two minutes, and a few clicks to make a difference.

“We wanted to create a way for communities to connect and unite in a meaningful way,” said Blake Canterbury, founder and CEO. “Our belief is that if you knew your neighbor needed help, you’d help.”

To join the movement, visit

Purposity is an Atlanta-based company formed on the principle that mankind finds purpose through generosity: Purposity. Their mission is to connect people in need with those that can help and work to accomplish this mission through an online platform, making it easy for neighbors to help neighbors. Users of Purposity experience transparency and a one-to-one relationship with philanthropy, based on knowing the story of the exact need their donation is meeting.

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Upcoming Events

Fall Adult Community Education Classes
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Contact Grand Forks Public Schools

Mark Sanford Education Center

2400 47th Ave. S

Grand Forks, ND 58201