The District Insider

Volume 6, Issue 6 | January 2019

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Foundation for Education Awards $1,572 for Local School Projects

The Grand Forks Foundation for Education, Inc. is awarding $1,572 this year to help fund two staff development projects in Grand Forks Public Schools using the Bjertness Staff Development Endowment.


In 2004, the Bjertness Staff Development Endowment was established in honor and memory of Echo Bjertness and Ben Bjertness. Echo and Ben were both long-time educators whose wish was to assist teachers in Grand Forks Public Schools in their growth as educators. The fund continues to grow thanks to monthly gifts from the Bjertness Estate (until June 2020.) The income from the endowed fund shall be used to finance one or more annual grants to educators in Grand Forks Public Schools, for the purpose of developing or improving their teaching skills.


  • $492 to Carla Haaven and all Grand Forks Public Schools for Let’s Get Google Certified!
  • $1,080 to Missy Miedema and Central, Community, and Red River English Language Arts (ELA) teachers for ELA Advisory Committee PD NCTE.


For further information on the projects that were funded this year, please contact Foundation Executive Director Emilia Hodgson at 701.787.4866.

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Red River High School has been named one of 250 state finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest.


The nationwide competition challenges students in grades 6-12 to create real-world, creative solutions to issues in their community using classroom skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).


Sarah Boese-Noreen’s 9th grade classroom was selected based on their proposal for students to learn and work with agriculture by determining ways a greenhouse at Red River High School could be used by different classes, clubs, and the community.


As one of five state finalists in North Dakota, Boese-Noreen’s classroom will receive a Samsung tablet.


Red River now has the opportunity to advance in the competition for additional classroom technology prizes. Boese-Noreen is currently working on an activity plan outlining how the students will execute their project.


“The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest showcases the talents of student innovators who are identifying and addressing issues impacting their individual communities,” said Ann Woo, Senior Director of Corporate Citizenship at Samsung Electronics America. “We are inspired by the desire of these students to ignite lasting change in their communities and look forward to seeing how their STEM projects unfold in the coming months.”


Fifty state winners will be selected to submit a video of their project in action. For achieving state winner status, 40 of those schools will receive a $20,000 Samsung technology package, including a Samsung video kit to produce their video. The other 10 will progress to the national finalist stage. The 10 national finalists will be selected to attend a Pitch Event where they will pitch their project to a panel of judges. For achieving national finalist status, seven schools will receive a $50,000 Samsung technology package. The other three will progress to the national winner stage. Three national winners will be selected and each will receive a $100,000 Samsung technology package. Additionally, the general public will select one winner from the 10 national finalists who will be eligible to win an additional $10,000 Samsung technology package.

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Grand Forks Public Schools has been awarded a $15,000 VEX Robotics STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) grant from American Crystal Sugar.


Grand Forks Public Schools was selected through an application process that required schools to explain the educational rationale for projects and detail how projects would promote creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration among students.


“VEX Robotics is a shining example of delivering both the STEM education needed within industry, while reinforcing those essential teamwork and communication skills that all students will need,” said Eric Ripley, Executive Director of Career and Technical Education. “This grant represents a significant investment by American Crystal Sugar, and we are grateful for their support of our VEX Robotics program.”


VEX Robotics is an innovative robotics design platform that transforms STEM 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 middle and high school robotics competitions in the world.


There are VEX Robotics clubs at Grand Forks Central and Red River high schools, and Elroy Schroeder, Nathan Twining, South, and Valley middle schools. All enrolled students at the schools have the opportunity to participate in the club, if interested.


The grant was written by Jerome Gunderson, Instructional Technology and Technology Education teacher at Grand Forks Central High School.


Representatives from American Crystal visited Grand Forks Central and Red River high schools on November 30 to present them with a check for the grants.


American Crystal Sugar Company is an agricultural cooperative owned by shareholder entities in the Red River Valley involved in the growing and processing of sugarbeets.

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Century Spreads Holiday Cheer for All to Hear!

Thank you to our Century Elementary 1st grade students who sang carols at three nursing homes on December 19th! "They did such a nice job spreading holiday cheer and sharing their talents with others," said Julie Schauer, 1st grade teacher at Century Elementary.
(photos courtesy Schauer)

Reindeer Games!

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Check out the reindeer antler competition at Wilder Elementary before the holiday break

(photo courtesy Leslie Wiegandt).

The Spartan Tradition Continues...

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Great job to the students, families, and employees at South Middle School for their donation of approximately 1,600 items to St. Joseph's on December 18th!
(photo courtesy Theresa Ostgarden).

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For Your Information

Winter Adult Community Education Classes
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Upcoming Events

Late Start at Central and Red River. 8:50 a.m. bell, 9 a.m., instruction begins. January 9, 2019.
Elementary Early Release at 1:30 p.m. January 16, 2019.
No School. Martin Luther King Jr., Day. January 21, 2019.
2nd Annual Frosty Gears VEX Robotics Tournament. Red River High School Small Gym. January 26, 2019. Competition starts at 10 a.m. Concessions and 50/50/ Raffle Offered. Free Admission.
Elementary Early Release at 1:30 p.m. January 30, 2019.

Follow Grand Forks Public Schools

Contact Grand Forks Public Schools

Mark Sanford Education Center

2400 47th Ave. S

Grand Forks, ND 58201


701-746-2200

www.gfschools.org