FPS e-Newsletter for December 3, 2020


Cabinet Column - 2019-20 Annual Report Overview

The Fargo Public Schools' 2019-20 Annual Report is now available to be viewed online at this link. The document details information on how the District fulfills its mission of educating and empowering all students to succeed. In this Cabinet Column, Superintendent Dr. Rupak Gandhi details the information you can find in the report and highlights some of his sections.

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.

Feature Column - National Special Education Day

Fargo Public Schools is dedicated to providing a welcoming environment for all students. In this feature column, Director of Special Education Patty Cummings tells us about the history of educational rights for students with special needs. She also explains the importance of using person-first language.


Instructional Level Update

The Fargo Public Schools COVID-19 Instructional Plan Committee has modified the timeline for elementary and secondary students to return to in-person learning.

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

To learn the rationale for the modification to the instructional plan, read this letter from Superintendent Dr. Rupak Gandhi.

Snow Day Procedure

After careful consideration, Fargo Public Schools (FPS) will do the following if our weather prevents us from having school:

  • School will be cancelled for the first one to two snow days that fall Monday through Thursday. If there is a snow day on a preplanned Friday distance learning day, distance learning will occur. If one to two snow days occur, we will make up the days on either April 30 and or May 17.
  • Any additional snow days after two days will either be a distance learning day at home or will be cancelled and the makeup requirement waived.

For more information about the 2020-2021 snow day procedures, visit the FPS school cancellation process webpage.


Teachers Earn Program Excellence Awards

Congratulations to Ben Franklin Middle School teachers Jeff Pegg and Thomas Weber for earning Program Excellence Awards from the North Dakota Technology and Engineering Educators Association. These honors are given to teachers and programs for outstanding technology education. Pegg and Weber will receive their awards at a virtual conference in March.
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North Student Nominated to Military Academy

North High School student Rebecca Van Vleet was nominated by U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., to be appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy. Van Vleet is a current member of the Fargo Public Schools Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

Van Vleet says, "It's humbling to be offered a place at such an elite college, and I will have to prove that I'm worth the government's time and effort."

Van Vleet hopes to become a military pilot but says she is open to other military career options.

New Virtual Academy Logo

Fargo Public Schools proudly presents the new Virtual Academy logo. Students designed their own ideas, which Fargo Public Schools Graphic Designer Tyler Brown included in the official logo. Watch the video below to see student submissions and the official logo.
Fargo Public Schools Virtual Academy Logo


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.

Substitute Teachers Needed

Fargo Public Schools is actively recruiting substitute teachers. The effects of COVID-19 have put staffing struggles on many school districts across the country, and the need for substitutes is greater than ever. For more information about substitute qualifications, compensations, and incentives, read this letter from FPS Human Resources.

Hear for the Kids: Mental Health and Accessing Support

As we get deeper into the holiday season, there are added stresses to daily life. This year with COVID-19, those anxieties may be even more difficult to handle. In this Hear for the Kids podcast, you can learn more about coping techniques to manage stress and keep your emotions stable. Some examples include virtual game nights, activities that use your hands, and physical activities. Watch the video below to learn more.
Managing Stress and Accessing Mental Health Supports

New Administrator Profile

Meet Holly Fiechtner, the new dean of students for the Middle School Virtual Academy. She is one of several new administrators either changing roles or joining Fargo Public Schools this school year. Get to know these new administrators through this profile series.

Alex Stern Family Foundation Grant

The Fargo Public Schools Development Foundation received a $5,000 grant from the Alex Stern Family Foundation for the Critical Needs Program. This program works to ensure every student who needs help with basic needs receives support. When basic or critical needs are not met, students struggle to learn and receive a valuable education. These students are often at-risk of missing school or dropping out. Meeting these needs supports a positive learning environment.

The Alex Stern Family Foundation supports the arts, social welfare/human services, education, youth recreation, civic projects, and health issues for the benefit of the greater Fargo Moorhead area. Since 1977, the foundation has invested over $16.5 million in nonprofit organizations in Cass and Clay Counties.

Holiday Meal Baskets

Please consider helping make the holiday season brighter for families in our community by donating items for a meal basket. These meal baskets provide Fargo Public Schools students and families with a full holiday meal and other food items to help get them through winter break. Read this informational letter to learn more about how to donate.

The Giving Tree

You are invited to participate in The Giving Tree! The Fargo Public Schools (FPS) Federal Credit Union is partnering with FPS Student Wellness and Family Facilitators to help district students and families in need. The impact of COVID-19 has increased the number of families who are experiencing hardships this year, and the need in the community is greater than ever. Visit this link and view the picture below to learn more about how you can help.
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The Giving Tree Donation

Thank you to the Red River Chapter of Credit Unions for its generous donation of $500 to The Giving Tree. These funds will help district students and families in need this holiday season.

Pictured L to R are: Kori Mortenson (President of the Red River Chapter of Credit Unions), Jen Sahr (FPS Multi-Tiered System of Supports Coordinator), Kirsten Solway (Vice President of the Red River Chapter of Credit Unions)

Winter Gear Program

Lewis and Clark Elementary School is working on its Winter Gear Come Here Store for the 2020-21 school year. The store is run by second and third grade students in the gifted and talented reading enrichment program. Each year, the store gives away between 200 and 300 items. If you would like to donate, please drop off items in the lobby during normal school hours. High need items include warm mittens, gloves, boots, and snow pants.

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)

Caring Catalog Fundraiser

Trollwood Performing Arts School and the Fargo Public Schools Development Foundation are partnering with the FM Area Foundation for its Caring Catalog fundraiser. The donation drive takes place now through December 14. Please consider donating to these worthy causes that help educate and empower students to succeed.

Click here to donate to the FPS Development Foundation.

Click here to donate to Trollwood Performing Arts School.

AD-Ventures: Seasonal Activities for Kids

AD-Ventures is a district publication intended to help families find activities for their children throughout the community. AD-Ventures for Kids is for youth in grade levels K-5. AD-Ventures for Teens is for youth in grade levels 6-8. These are published on the first of each month during the school year. Click the active links above for the December issue of each publication.


School Delivers Surprise to Healthcare Workers

Essentia Health employees got a big surprise from Ed Clapp Elementary staff members and students. The school sent them goodie bags filled with candy and hand-written cards made by students. The school wanted to show their support and appreciation for all the hard work that their Adopt-A-School partner has done through COVID-19. To read more about the surprise and the Adopt-A-School partnership, read this feature article.

Thanksgiving Cards, Gratitude, and Cheer

Lewis and Clark Elementary School second grade students made cards for residents who live at Serenity Assisted Living. The students decorated the cards with a Thanksgiving theme, drew pictures, and wrote letters. Watch the video below to hear some students read their heartfelt letters.
Student Make Thanksgiving Cards for Assisted Living Residents


Feature Column - Instructional Level Decisions

Fargo Public Schools considers local health guidance, research, and many other factors when determining learning models during COVID-19. School Board member Dr. Tracie Newman, a Sanford Health pediatrician, is a liaison to the COVID-19 Instructional Plan Committee. In this feature column, Dr. Newman explains rationale and research behind learning model decisions.

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 November 24 regular meeting of the Fargo School Board. For more information, visit the School Board website.


- 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.