The District Insider

Volume 9, Issue 2 | September 2021

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Welcome to the 2021-2022 School Year!

Special Populations Program Receives State Award

The Special Populations program at Red River High School has been awarded a 2021 Director’s Awards of Excellence by the North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education (CTE).

The program was selected for using literacy strategies across the curriculum to enhance and assist students with a better understanding of the material by investing time toward the establishment of students’ individual and career goals; collaborating with other targeted intervention style programs, several other academic areas, and CTE courses across the district, the state, and post-secondary Special Needs programs; and working through a classroom remodel last summer, which allowed for better utilization of the space for student learning, a combination of collaborative and individual workstations, and updated technology for whole room instruction.

The program is led by instructor Rachael Richter.

The award was presented at the 50th Annual North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education Professional Development Conference in Bismarck.

Special Election - September 28, 2021

The Grand Forks School Board has called for a special election on September 28, 2021 to increase the Building Fund to 20 mills.

The 10-mill Increase in the Building Fund would generate approximately $2.5 million annually to:

  • Provide facility sustainability and protect investments,
  • Allow money in the general fund to focus on student and staff needs, including student programs and supports, learning materials, and compensation and benefits.

The tax impact per month is $3.75 per $100,000 of assessed property value.

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 a disability during the school years.

Screenings are completed based on a referral to the screen due to concerns about a child's development in one or more of the following areas:

  • Speech/language,
  • Cognition,
  • General development,
  • Social/emotional,
  • Fine and gross motor skills,
  • Vision,
  • 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 Wednesday mornings at the Phoenix Elementary School (351 4th Ave. S) on:

  • September 8, 2021
  • October 6, 2021
  • November 3, 2021
  • December 8, 2021
  • January 19, 2022
  • February 16, 2022
  • March 30, 2022
  • April 27, 2022

Golden Age Passes

The Grand Forks School Board wishes to encourage participation in and attendance at school events by the senior citizens of the community. Accordingly, the Board directs the establishment and maintenance of a system of passes to school events to be made available to residents of Grand Forks County age 62 and older. This pass shall be designated a "Golden Age Pass."

The Golden Age Pass shall admit the pass holder and one guest to all regular season athletic contests, concerts, and drama productions.

Golden Age Passes may not be used for Summer Performing Arts productions, or tournaments, or other post-season events under the jurisdiction of the North Dakota High School Activities Association.

The Golden Age Pass is a lifetime pass and shall be issued at no cost. Passes are non-transferable. If the pass is lost, there is a $10 fee for a replacement pass.

Applicants must provide documentation of age and residency.

Passes can be obtained from the receptionist at the district office in the Mark Sanford Education Center (2400 47th Ave. S) between the hours of 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Mentor Center

The Mentor Center is a face-to-face, drop-in resource center for middle and high school students to receive academic, social-emotional, and technology support.

What can students do at the Mentor Center?

Students can use a quiet study space (private or small group), get help with their school technology device, spend time with a social-emotional support specialist, work with a tutor, hang out, play games, or create art.

Who is eligible to utilize the Mentor Center?

Any middle or high school student enrolled at Grand Forks Public Schools can utilize the Mentor Center.

Where is the Mentor Center located?

The address is 725 Hamline St., Room 1200. The Mentor Center is south of the UND Bookstore on the south end of the Family Medicine Residency. There is an entrance on 6th Avenue North; look for the sign that says Clinical Education Center. There is an easy drop-off location at the bus stop.

What are the hours?

Monday-Friday, 1-8 p.m.

Do students need to make an appointment?

No, the Mentor Center is a walk-in facility. If a student wants to work with a specific employee or needs specialized tutoring for a higher-level class, please email or call 701-215-5484 to find a time that works.

If you'd like Mentor Center staff to reach out to a student or family, please fill out the referral form and a staff member will extend a personal invitation. LINK:

Is there a cost for using the Mentor Center?

No. The program was initially financially supported by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. During the 2021-2022 school year, the Mentor Center will be financially supported through Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) II funds.


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Students in Mrs. Buchhop's class were working hard to build a tower together during the first week of school (photo courtesy Melissa Buchhop).

Introduction to Orchestra

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Fourth grade students throughout Grand Forks Public Schools have been introduced to orchestra instruments during the first weeks of school. The students have been learning about the viola, cello, double bass, and violin (photo courtesy Rachel Berger).

West Elementary Farewell

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The West Elementary School Community Picnic was held on August 18 to celebrate the history of the school. There was food, a slideshow of submitted photos, games for children, and attendees were asked to wear West Elementary attire. Caulfield Studios commemorated the event with a few photos.

School Supply Super Star

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Thank you to Rydell Cars and employee Alex Waldeck for your school supply donations! Alex took it upon himself to solicit funds from sales staff members to fill the school supply drive box. On behalf of our students in need, thank you for your generous support (photo courtesy Rydell Cars).

All-Star Singers

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Members of Red River High School's Velvatones volunteered to sing the national anthem for the Summer Sole 5K, 10k, and 10-mile races in August. The singers also stayed for the 5K to cheer on runners and pass out medals. Great job, everyone! (photo courtesy Jessie Erickson).

Examples of Excellence

  • Thank you to everyone who ordered from Deek's Pizza on August 25! A note from our friends at Deek's: "We cannot properly express how blown away (and even a bit overwhelmed at times) by all the orders we received yesterday. We recognize this was a team endeavor, and are truly grateful for the efforts made by each of you, and your vast network of supporters. With your help, we will be donating $7,445.43 to Grand Forks Public Schools."

  • Congratulations to Selena Wu (pictured below), a sophomore at Red River High School, on placing 8th in the Health Care Administration category at the National FBLA conference in June!
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  • Check out a great article through the link below that features Red River High School EL students, Ivona Todorvic (EL teachers), and Geoff Gaukler (mental health coordinator).

Job Openings


Support Staff



Upcoming Events

  • September 6 - No School K-12/District Office closed (Labor Day)
  • September 13 - Grand Forks School Board meeting (Mark Sanford Education Center, 6:30 p.m.)
  • September 21 - Grand Forks Air Force Base School Board meeting (Nathan Twining Elementary and Middle School, 12 p.m.)
  • September 22 - Early Release (Twining/middle/high schools: 1 p.m., elementary schools: 1:30 p.m.)
  • September 27 - Grand Forks School Board meeting (6:30 p.m., Mark Sanford Education Center)

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Contact Grand Forks Public Schools

Mark Sanford Education Center

2400 47th Ave. S

Grand Forks, ND 58201