FPS e-Newsletter for October 15, 2020


Cabinet Column - COVID-19 Funding

Fargo Public Schools has been approved for government funding that is intended to assist K-12 education settings during COVID-19. These dollars will be used to support students and staff. In this Cabinet Column, Business Manager Jackie Gapp explains how much funding the district received, how those dollars will be allocated, and when funding may end.

Feature Column - Explorer Academy Construction

The Explorer Academy construction project is underway at Lewis and Clark Elementary School. The anticipated opening date is on track for July 2021. To learn about the project's progress, see an aerial picture of the construction, and view a floorplan, read this column by Director of Maintenance and Operations Blake Mikesell.


Virtual Academy Registration Open for Elementary Students

The Fargo Public Schools Virtual Academy is currently open for registration for elementary students. This follows instructional level changes that will bring elementary students into Level 4 - In-Person Instruction. Registration closes Friday, October 16 at 3:30 p.m. To learn more about this change and how the Virtual Academy operates, read this Smart Restart Update. Those choosing to register their K-5 grade students can contact their child's school principal.

All Students to Receive Free Meals through 2020-2021 School Year

Fargo Public Schools (FPS) is pleased to offer free meals to all students through the 2020-2021 school year. This is being made possible via a funding extension recently signed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Free meals will be available for students no matter their income level or if they learn in the classroom, via distance learning, or in the Virtual Academy. Click here for more information on FPS Nutrition Services. For more information on the program extension, read this press release from the United States Department of Agriculture.

ND Department of Health Approved Face Masks

The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) has new guidelines for safe and effective face coverings. Per North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum's recent quarantine guideline update, close contacts will NOT be required to isolate if all parties are wearing approved masks. Fargo Public Schools is now requiring use of NDDoH approved face masks. Please see the graphic below to view which masks are approved and which do not qualify.
Big picture

Instructional Levels Update

The COVID-19 Instructional Plan Committee updated the instructional levels for both elementary and secondary students. Level changes are as follows:

Effective October 19

  • Middle Schools: Level 3 – Hybrid Instruction

  • High Schools: Level 3 – Hybrid Instruction

Effective October 26

  • Elementary Schools: Level 4 – In-Person Instruction with Restrictions

To learn more about this change and how the decision was made, read this letter from Superintendent Dr. Rupak Gandhi.


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.


Staebner Receives Gladys Ray Award

Fargo Public Schools is proud to share that Fargo/West Fargo Indian Education Coordinator Melody Staebner was honored with the Gladys Ray Award at the Indigenous Peoples' Day Opening Ceremony! The award is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the Indigenous Peoples of Fargo. Watch the opening ceremony at this link.

Staebner says, "To me this is the highest and most meaningful award I could have received. Gladys was my mentor and friend when I first started Indian Education... It brought me to tears today, because I can only aspire to be like she was."

(Photo courtesy: Amber Mattson)

Davies Student Named POWERade State Athlete of the Year

Congratulations to Davies High School student Yonas Adams for being named the POWERade State Senior Athlete of the Year for Boys' Soccer. The North Dakota High School Coaches Association votes on the award.

Davies Boys' Tennis Takes 3rd Place In State Tournament

Congratulations to the Davies High School Boys' Tennis Team for taking 3rd place in the state championship tournament! The tournament was held October 8-10 in Grand Forks. The team was led to this accomplishment by head coach Paul Kolesar.

North Girls' Cross Country Team Wins EDC Championship

Fargo Public Schools is proud of the North High School Girls' Cross Country team for winning the Eastern Conference Division (EDC) Championships. The event was held at Lincoln Park in Grand Forks on Saturday, October 10. This is the first time the team has taken first place in the EDC Championship.

(Photo courtesy: Sarah Lien)

North Girls' Cross Country Coach Named EDC Coach of the Year

Congratulations to Aaron Walker for being named the Eastern Conference Division (EDC) Coach of the Year in Girls' Cross Country. Walker has been the Spartans head coach for 17 years. He is now a finalist for the North Dakota High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year award. That honor will be announced October 24.

(Photo courtesy: Sarah Lien)


School Out Days - October 22 & 23

There will be NO SCHOOL Thursday, October 22 and Friday, October 23 as staff attends the North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders conference. School will resume as scheduled on Monday, October 26.

Explorer Academy Beam Signing

Students, staff members, and administrators took turns signing a beam at Lewis and Clark Elementary School during the week of October 12. The beam will be placed in the entryway of the new Explorer Academy expansion and serve as a time capsule. A beam raising event will be scheduled at a later date.

Morning Announcements from a News Anchor

Carl Ben Eielson Middle School had a special guest read the "Eielson Today" morning announcements on October 13. WDAY-TV News Anchor Kerstin Kealy read the news of the day for students alongside her coanchor, Mr. Rudie. Some of the top stories included the start of the robotics team season, new bus riding procedures, and more. Watch the morning announcement video below.

New Administrator Profile

Meet Kellie Haaby, the new Dean of Students at Centennial Elementary School. She is one of several new administrators either changing roles or joining Fargo Public Schools this school year. Get to know these new administrators within the district through this profile series.

Vaccination Requirements

Many students are required to get booster vaccinations in order to attend school. There are updated immunization requirements for students entering Kindergarten and grades 7, 11, and 12 for the 2020-2021 school year. For more information on the immunization requirements, view this immunization document from Fargo Cass Public Health. ALL students need to provide proof of their current vaccinations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends everyone get a flu vaccine this year.


Where Dreams Debut and Come True

Trollwood Performing Arts School equips and inspires people to follow their dreams. Former Trollwood student, Joan Degerness, is now a local music teacher and Trollwood Faculty and Production Team Member. She shared her dreams in a 1983 documentary called "Where Dreams Debut," which she reflects upon in this video.

Trollwood Performing Arts Schools is a high-quality performing arts education program offered by Fargo Public Schools.
Where Dreams Debut and Come True

Eagles PTA Adapts Walk-A-Thon Tradition Amid COVID-19

The Eagles Elementary School Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is making sure kids can enjoy an annual event. Every year since the school opened, the PTA has held a walk-a-thon. The event serves as a fundraiser and quality exercise opportunity, but this year, it is also a sense of normalcy amid change. Read this article to learn more about the changes the PTA is making to keep this tradition going.


School Board Schedule and Links

Regular School Board meetings occur on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Meetings are currently being held at South High School in the Theater to accommodate for social distancing. Read the Board Briefs summarizing the October 13 regular meeting of the Fargo School Board. For more information, visit the School Board website.

School Board Votes to Rescind and Rename Woodrow Wilson High School

The Fargo Public Schools (FPS) Board of Education voted to rescind and rename Woodrow Wilson High School. This follows a formal public input period. FPS will now begin the renaming process and take suggestions for new names based on a formal public input process, which will be opened at a later date. FPS will transition the school to a new name by the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.


FPS Teacher and Students Featured In Mask Video

The Red River Valley COVID-19 Task Force is featuring Fargo Public Schools in a new #ForAllofUs and #MaskUpND promotional video. Carl Ben Eielson Middle School teacher Jessica Magnuson talks about how everyone's actions make a difference in safety. Watch the video below to see the impacts that masks can have in our schools and community.

For All of Us - Fargo Public Schools

Students Invited to Participate in Entrepreneurial Challenge

The North Dakota State University Research and Technology Park and the Nice Center are inviting high school students to participate in an entrepreneurial competition called Innovation Challenge. The competition encourages students to find an innovative idea that solves community problems. To learn more about the program and apply, visit the Nice Center website. The application deadline is October 27.


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.