SchoolTalk

FPS e-Newsletter for December 17, 2020

- SPOTLIGHT -

Cabinet Column - Coronavirus Aid

North Dakota schools received additional funding in 2020 to help navigate the ever-changing terrain of COVID-19. These funds must be used toward technology, mental health support, professional development, additional personnel, environment improvements, and employee recruitment. In this Cabinet Column, Business Manager Jackie Gapp explains how Fargo Public Schools has allocated the additional funds so far.

Feature Column - Procedures for Positive Tests and Close Contacts

Fargo Public Schools is grateful for the community effort to keep our students and staff safe. As we get further into the school year, there are important COVID-19 test and quarantine reminders. In this feature column, Coordinator of Safety & Emergency Management Mackenzie McCormick tells us what to do if a student tests positive and what to do if a student is a close contact.

Feature Column - Trollwood Performing Arts School

Trollwood Performing Arts Schools has faced significant challenges throughout 2020 due to COVID-19. In this feature column, Trollwood Executive Director Kathy Anderson shares details on how the school is reimagining programs to keep students safe while learning. She also details how you can help Trollwood overcome the impacts from the previous year.

Fargo Public Schools 2019-20 Annual Report

As evidence of Fargo Public Schools’ commitment to our patrons, the FPS 2019-20 Annual Report is now available. It showcases the qualities and services of our school district and provides a wide array of information to familiarize families and the community with Fargo Public Schools. Report details include enrollment, staffing, and budget numbers. It also gives overviews of student services and student assessment data. Thank you for your continued support as we serve the citizens of Fargo by providing students an excellent educational experience. You can access the full document at this link.

- FPS SMART RESTART -

Instructional Level Update

On December 7, the Fargo Public Schools (FPS) COVID-19 Instructional Plan Committee decided to keep the current timeline for elementary and secondary students to return to in-person learning. The plan is as follows:


Elementary Schools:

Level 4 – In-Person Instruction (4 days per week) until January 19, 2021

Middle Schools:

Level 3 – Hybrid Learning until January 19, 2021

High Schools:

Level 3 – Hybrid Learning until January 19, 2021


It is important to know that the FPS COVID-19 Instructional Plan Committee will adapt and make changes based on new information or guidance, if needed. For more details about this instructional plan decision, read this letter from Superintendent Dr. Rupak Gandhi.

FPS COVID-19 Data

Fargo Public Schools (FPS) is providing a weekly report of COVID-19 data within the district. This data, in consideration with other factors, continues to be utilized by the FPS COVID-19 Instructional Plan Committee. Information is updated every Friday and can be found on the FPS COVID-19 page.

- NEWSMAKERS -

NDASSP Assistant Principal of the Year

Congratulations to Davies High School Assistant Principal Dr. Dale Miller for being selected as the North Dakota Assistant Principal of the Year by the North Dakota Association of Secondary School Principals (NDASSP). Dr. Miller is now in consideration to be the 2021 National Assistant Principal of the Year. To learn more about Dr. Miller and his accomplishments, read this media release from the North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders.

Student Athlete Letters of Intent

So far this school year, eleven Fargo Public Schools (FPS) student athletes have signed letters of intent to play sports at a collegiate level. More FPS students are also expected to sign later in the 2020-21 school year. Click here to view a full list and pictures of students who will play collegiate sports.

Fall 2020 Activities Awards

Fargo Public Schools students, coaches, and teams received dozens of awards during the Fall 2020 season. Awards range from All-State Teams, championship placements, personal awards, and more! Congratulations on a successful season! Click here to see a list of all the awards.

Ben Franklin Receives Bell Bank Pay It Forward

Fargo Public Schools and Ben Franklin Middle School are grateful to be recipients of the Bell Bank Pay It Forward program. Ben Franklin will use the $6,000 donation to help students and families in need. Watch the video below to find out why Ben Franklin was chosen and learn more about how the money will be used.
Bell Bank Pay It Forward: Support for Students

Ben Franklin Students Receive Patriot's Pen Awards

Four eighth grade students at Ben Franklin Middle School placed in the annual Patriot's Pen essay contest, held by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). This year's theme is "What is Patriotism to Me?" A list of winners and their award winning essays are listed below. The students earned a combined $1,100 in prize money.


Local Winners:

1st place: Larissa Lahaise

2nd place: Grace Thiel

3rd place: Grayce Anderson

4th place: Wyatt Frieler


District Level Winners:

1st place: Larissa Lahaise

3rd place: Grayce Anderson


Larissa Lahaise's essay now moves on to the state VFW competition. Judging for that level will occur in the coming weeks.

Agassiz Excellence Apple Awards

Six staff members at the Agassiz building were recently honored with Agassiz Excellence Apple Awards. This award is given to employees at the Agassiz building who provide exceptional experiences for Fargo Public Schools students and staff. Read this article for a list of the recipients and to see award pictures.

- YOUR FPS -

#FPSLearns - 2020-21 State of the Schools Address & Public Focus Group

Fargo Public Schools invites you to participate in this year's State of the Schools Address and Public Focus Group. In the #FPSLearns video below, Superintendent Dr. Rupak Gandhi talks about the focus group topics and also shows you how to sign up to attend. The virtual event takes place Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Parents, staff, and community members are invited to participate and are encouraged to pre-register by noon on December 30, 2020 by signing up online at www.fargo.k12.nd.us/focusgroup.
#FPSLearns 2020-21 State of the Schools and Public Focus Gro

School Out Days - Winter Break

There will be NO SCHOOL December 24, 2020 through January 3, 2021 for Fargo Public Schools Winter Break. Classes resume as scheduled on January 4, 2021. Fargo Public Schools wishes you a safe and happy Winter Break!

Hear for the Kids: Grief and Loss During the Holidays

Depression and anxiety often creep in during the holidays. In this edition of the Hear for the Kids podcast, school counselors Cassie Larson and Carly Gaddie are joined by Kriston Wenzel, a grief specialist at Hospice of the Red River Valley. Kriston discusses talking with kids about grief and loss, as well as some strategies for coping during the holidays.
Grief and Loss

Lewis & Clark Winter Gear Donation

Thank you to The Great North Pole for donating hundreds of winter jackets and snow pants to Carl Ben Eielson Middle School, Jefferson Elementary School, Lewis & Clark Elementary School, McKinley Elementary School, North High School, and South High School. This generous gift will help keep may Fargo Public Schools warm this winter.

Free Winter Break Take-Home Meals

Fargo Public Schools (FPS) is offering free breakfasts and lunches to students during winter break. Meals must be pre-ordered by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 17. Meals will be available for pickup on Wednesday, December 23 at a variety of locations and times. Your pickup time and location can be selected when filling out the meal order form. Meals will include both cold and frozen food items. Student names and ID numbers are required at pickup. To order meals, fill out this Winter Break Student Meal Order Form.

Winter Break Meal Bag Donation

Thank you to Bell Bank, First Western Bank & Trust, and Gate City Bank for the donation of reusable bags. These bags will be filled with breakfasts and lunches for students during winter break. See the above article for more details on how to order winter break take-home meals.

Trollwood Winter Academy Registration Now Open

The magic of Trollwood Performing Arts School is finally coming back! Several classes are available that fit a wide variety of performance interests. Winter Academy runs January 9 through February 14. Follow these links to view class details and to register:


Click here to register for Totally Trollwood Winter Academy (Grades 5-8)


Click here to register for Trollwood Winter Academy (Grades 9-12)

Parent Equity and Advisory Committee for Education Participant Application

Fargo Public School is seeking participants for the Parent Equity and Advisory Committee for Education (PEACE). This group will advise the District on employee training and leadership skill building related to equity and inclusion, advocacy programs to ensure diversity, and policy development.


Members will consist of:

  • (4) parents of students currently attending Fargo Public Schools
  • (1) High school student representative
  • (1) Community member
  • (1) Director of Equity and Inclusion
  • (1) Non-teaching school staff, selected by non-teaching school staff
  • (2) Teachers, selected by Fargo Public Schools teachers
  • (2) School principals, one from each division (elementary and secondary)


Parents who wish to apply can fill out this Google form by Monday, January 4. Students who wish to apply can fill out this Google form by Monday, January 4. Please contact Director of Equity and Inclusion Tamara Uselman at uselmat@fargoschools.org with questions.

- FEATURE -

Meal Basket Distribution

The Fargo Public Schools family is supporting the community in a bigger way than ever before. This year's meal basket program brought in a record number of donations. To learn more about the event's success and how it was executed in a safe way, read this feature article.

- BOARD FOCUS -

Feature Column - Teacher Negotiations

In the coming months, the Fargo Public Schools Board of Education is set to start negotiations with teachers for 2021-23 contracts. Both entities come together with proposals and then work to find a fair solution. In this feature column, Board of Education Member David Paulson shares details why a negotiation period can be a long and difficult process. He also shares details on actions that can be taken to find a resolution.

- IN FOCUS -

- FPS in the News -

Fargo Public Schools - SchoolTalk

This newsletter is published weekly on Thursdays during the school year when classes are in session. Material for publication is due by Noon on Tuesday of the week of desired publication.