The District Insider

Volume 6, Issue 4 | November 2018

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Grand Forks Public Schools Receives STEM Industry Matching Grant

Grand Forks Public Schools has received a $15,000 grant from the Northrop Grumman Corporation to support three program initiatives.


The funding from Northrop Grumman will be matched through a STEM Integration and Innovation grant provided by the North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education, which will provide a total of $30,000 for use at the middle and high school levels.


“This project is a perfect example of a public/private partnership, with education and industry coming together to provide opportunities for students. The Department of Career and Technical Education is proud to be a part of this endeavor,” said Wayde Sick, State Director of Career and Technical Education.


The grant funding will be used to support the purchase of additional devices for the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) App Creators class in middle school, support the new Robotics course in high school, and implement an Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) units in middle school.


"This grant provides the ability to enhance the curricular opportunities for students within three emerging career fields, Computer Science, STEM, and UAS. Providing students with the ability to learn more about these fields at an early age is valuable as they are exploring all of the career pathways available to them,” said Eric Ripley, Executive Director of Career and Technical Education at Grand Forks Public Schools. "Each of these grant initiatives are excellent examples of the innovative educational opportunities we are striving to provide to students. We are grateful to the Northrop Grumman Foundation for their ongoing partnership and outreach support for Grand Forks Public Schools."


Northrop Grumman is the leading global security company, providing innovative systems, products, and solutions in unmanned systems, including serving as the manufacturer of the Global Hawk. Northrop Grumman is an anchor tenant in the Grand Sky technology park at the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

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The Engelstad Foundation has made a $5,000 donation to the Grand Forks Public Schools' music program.


The Foundation made the donation to Keith Urban's charity of choice as a way to thank the artist for appearing in Grand Forks on his Graffiti U World Tour on October 14. Keith Urban chose to keep his donation local and gave the entire donation to the music program.


Through this gift, the Grand Forks music program will be able to fully fund new guitar classes at Grand Forks Central and Red River high school.


The two schools began offering Guitar I and Guitar II at the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year. Due to overwhelming student demand, Brad Sherwood (Red River) and Steve Carriere (Grand Forks Central) each teach three sections of guitar at their respective schools.


"The impact at both schools is overwhelmingly positive. It is highly likely that we will see a significant enrollment increase, and this gift will ensure that we will have enough guitars for every student to participate," said Sherwood and Carriere. "We cannot thank the Engelstad Foundation and Mr. Urban enough for their support of this class that we so strongly believe in! The impact of this donation will be felt for decades and will impact hundreds of students."


“Keith Urban knew exactly where he wanted the donation to go when we first approached him,” said Garth Wiedrich, Marketing Manager at Ralph Engelstad Arena. “He’s obviously very passionate about music and he wanted to make sure the next generation of aspiring local musicians had access to guitars.”

Grand Forks Public Schools Receives Grant for Innovation Awards

Grand Forks Public Schools have been awarded $15,000 in grants from the North Dakota Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department to support the competitive VEX Robotics teams at the middle and high school levels.


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.


"The incorporation of competitive VEX Robotics teams within the school system has provided our students the opportunity to incorporate all of the 21st Century Skills (critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication) that will provide them a competitive advantage in both their education and future career pathways,” said Eric Ripley, Executive Director of CTE. “Our teams are excited about this year's game challenge and preparing to compete at regional, state, and world competitions.”


Grand Forks Central and Red River high schools will each receive $3,500 and Elroy Schroeder, Nathan Twining, South, and Valley middle schools will receive $2,000 for the VEX Robotics Club at their respective school during the 2018-2019 school year. All enrolled students at the schools have the opportunity to participate in the club, if interested.


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.

Assistance Opportunities for Families in Need

Information to share with families in need: please check out the assistance opportunities on the Social Work page on the district website. Departments > Social Work Program > Upcoming Opportunities. Link: https://www.gfschools.org/domain/1397.

Head Start Ribbon Cutting

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Dozens of supporters were on hand October 12 as officials from the City of Grand Forks, Grand Forks Foundation for Education, Grand Forks Public Schools, 4000 Valley Square, and Valley Memorial Foundation joined Grand Forks Head Start students and Tracey Johnson (Director) for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Earlier this fall, two Head Start classrooms and a playground opened at the 4000 Valley Square campus.

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Congratulations to the 2018 NDHSAA Boys' Tennis Team Champions - Grand Forks Central High School

Congratulations to the following student-athletes, coaches, and educators on their awards!
  • 2018 Boys' Tennis All-State Team - Kaden Johnson, Red River High School; Jack Lindgren, Red River High School; Braden Panzer, Grand Forks Central High School; Logan Sandberg, Grand Forks Central High School; Cole Spicer, Grand Forks Central High School; Gary Wu, Grand Forks Central High School

  • 2018 Boys' Tennis Coach of the Year - Max Weisser, Grand Forks Central High School

  • 2018 Boys' Soccer All-Tournament Team - William Lawson-Body, Grand Forks Central High School; Sylver Osodo, Grand Forks Central High School

  • 2018 Boys' Soccer Coach of the Year - George DuBois, Grand Forks Central High School

  • 2018 Girls' Cross Country All-EDC Team - Emily Nelson, Red River High School; Alexis Roehl, Grand Forks Central High School; Mikayla Weiss, Grand Forks Central High School

  • 2018 Girls' Cross Country EDC Outstanding Senior Athlete Runner-Up - Alexis Roehl, Grand Forks Central High School

  • 2018 Boys' Cross Country All-EDC Team - Jake Arason, Red River High School; Adam Arnold, Grand Forks Central High School; Thomas Hugo, Red River High School; Hunter McHenry, Red River High School; Ryan Prusak, Red River High School; Matthew Rongitsch, Red River High School; Zach Simon, Red River High School

  • 2018 Boys' Cross Country EDC Outstanding Senior Athlete Runner-Up - Jake Arason, Red River High School

  • 2018 Boys' Cross Country EDC Coach of the Year - Richard DaFoe, Red River High School

  • 2018 Boys’ Tennis East Region Singles Champion - Gary Wu, Grand Forks Central High School

  • 2018 Boys’ Tennis East Region Team Champion - Grand Forks Central High School

  • 2018 Boys’ Tennis All-EDC Team - Kaden Johnson, Red River High School; Jack Lindgren, Red River High School; Braden Panzer, Grand Forks Central High School; Logan Sandberg, Grand Forks Central High School; Cole Spicer, Grand Forks Central High School; Gary Wu, Grand Forks Central High School

  • 2018 Boys’ Tennis East Region Senior Athlete of the Year nominees - Jack Lindgren, Red River High School; James Votava, Grand Forks Central High School

  • 2018 Boys’ Tennis EDC Coach of the Year - Max Weisser, Grand Forks Central High School

  • 2018 NDHSAA Boys’ Cross Country All-State Team - Jake Arason, Red River High School

  • 2018 NDHSAA Girls’ Cross Country All-State Team - Mikayla Weiss, Grand Forks Central High School

  • 2018 Communication, Speech & Theatre Association of North Dakota Hall of Fame inductee - Yvonne Kalka, Grand Forks Central High School

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Congratulations to the 2018 EDC Boys' Cross Country Champions - Red River High School

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Congratulations to the 2018 NDHSAA Girls’ Cross Country State Runner-Up

Grand Forks Central High School

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(l-r) Gary Mitchell, Annella Winger, Kerry Jaeger, Keith Ronkowski


Four outstanding educators were inducted into the 2018 Grand Forks Public Schools Teachers Hall of Fame on Sunday, October 14. The 2018 inductees joined a notable group of 71 former educators who have been inducted in the Teachers Hall of Fame.


Kerry Jaeger – English Teacher at Red River High School, 1978-2004. An inspirational leader both in athletics and academics, Mr. Jaeger is known for being a very important educator to many. "Mr. Jaeger was excited about his classes and it showed. His enthusiasm was contagious, and his exercises were fun. He really seemed to care about his students and their understanding of his class. He was a great teacher!"


Gary Mitchell – Grade 5 and 6 Teacher and Assistant Principal at Nathan Twining; Principal at Lewis and Clark, Roosevelt, and Century elementary schools, 1963-2004. An outstanding educator, leader, and friend to many, Mr. Mitchell is remembered for his service to students and colleagues alike. "He taught me a great deal on how to deal with kids, parents, and co-workers. How do be compassionate, a good listener, fair but still, have control of the situation. I have always had a lot of respect for Gary as my first principal and I am very happy to call him a great friend today."


Keith Ronkowski – Marketing Education at Red River High School, 1975-2016. For over four decades, Mr. Ronkowski instructed and inspired students and colleagues in the classroom, school store, and DECA competitions. "While I was only in the classroom with Mr. Ronkowski for three years out of his four decades of teaching, he tremendously impacted my life. I will always be very grateful for the knowledge I gained in his classes, the passion he instilled in me for business competitions, and the leadership development that occurred during my time as a DECA officer."


Annella Winger – Music Teacher at Ben Franklin Elementary, 1981-2015. Mrs. Winger left a lasting impression on the students, families, and staff at Ben Franklin Elementary, where she served as the music teacher for over 30 years. "Not only am I lucky enough to have Annella Winger as a friend, I had her as a colleague. Everyone who was ever a colleague of Annella’s knew that she was the ultimate professional. She was the role model of what we all aspired to be. She is kind. I am sure she has never said an unkind word about another person in her life. She is the model of professionalism."

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For Your Information

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Upcoming Events

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Elementary Early Release at 1:30 p.m. November 7th.
No School. Veterans Day Observed. November 12, 2018.
Late Start at Central and Red River High School. 8:50 a.m. bell rings. 9 a.m. instruction begins. November 14th.
Grand Forks Central Fall Orchestra Concert. Monday, November 19, 2018. 7 p.m. Grand Forks Central Auditorium. Featuring music by Mozard, Saint-Saens, Bach, Tchaikovsky, and Haydn.
Elementary Early Release at 1:30 p.m. November 21st.
No School. Holiday Break. November 22nd-23rd.

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Contact Grand Forks Public Schools

Mark Sanford Education Center

2400 47th Ave. S

Grand Forks, ND 58201


701-746-2200

www.gfschools.org