The District Insider

Volume 6, Issue 9 | April 2019

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Foundation for Education Awards $26,221 for Local School Projects

The Grand Forks Foundation for Education, Inc. is awarding $26,221 this spring to help fund a variety of enrichment projects at Grand Forks Public Schools. In addition to $7,879 for 10 Mini-Grant projects, the Foundation is awarding $18,342 to fund four Impact Grant projects.

The Mini-Grants have been funded through the Foundation for Education since 1992. Awards are usually for classroom-level or grade-level projects. All areas of curriculum and all grade levels are eligible for Mini-Grants.

The Bill and Shirley Brown Endowment for Education makes the Foundation’s Impact Grants possible. Income from the Brown Endowment is used to fund projects, ranging from $5,000 to $15,000, with the potential for lasting influence at the district or grade level, or at one or more schools.

Mini Grants:

  • $75: Hannah Siebels and Community High School for Community Math Whiteboards.
  • $140: Kristine Middleton and Red River High School for Language Acquisition through Literacy.
  • $200: Lindsay Schaefer and Red River High School for Evolution Board Games for High School Biology.
  • $227: Jason Ingersoll and Community High School for Modified Economics Textbooks.
  • $300: Kelly Entzel and Community High School for Little Free Library.
  • $500: Evan Pederson and West Elementary for Physical Education Equipment Replacement.
  • $750: Tyler Nelson and Red River High School for Red River Freshmen Orientation.
  • $1,300: Sarah Harlow and Central High School for iPad Integration to Band Curriculum.
  • $1,517: Martie Wesley and Winship Elementary School for Do the Math Intervention: Developing Foundational Number Skills in all Learners.
  • $2,870: Ryan Moldenhauer and Red River High School for Game Club Expansion.

Impact Grant Awards:

  • $2,500: Christine Litzinger and Schroeder Middle School for Second Step Middle Level.
  • $5,000: Lane Talkington and all middle and high schools for Reading in the Digital Age.

  • $5,050: Paul Zettler and Central and Red River high schools for Anki Cozmo Robots & Support Equipment for STEM.

  • $5,792: Missy Miedema and Central and Red River high schools for WAR 2019 Keynote Speaker and Books.

Strandell Named Principal of Grand Forks Central High School

Grand Forks Public Schools has announced an administrative assignment for the 2019-2020 school year.

Jon Strandell, currently an Associate Principal at Grand Forks Central High School, has been named the principal of Grand Forks Central High School.

Strandell has 24 years of experience of education, including 14 years as an assistant principal. He began his career as a teacher at Valley Middle School in 1995, was selected as the assistant principal at South Middle School in 2005, and as an assistant principal at Grand Forks Central High School in 2008. Strandell has served on several district committees throughout his tenure, including the Safety and Security committee, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support-A (MTSS-A) committee, MTSS-B committee, and the High Reliability Schools committee.

Strandell has a bachelor of science degree in education from the University of North Dakota, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, and a sixth year degree in educational leadership from Minnesota State University-Mankato.

The assignment is due to the retirement of Buck Kasowski.

The administrative assignment was approved by the Grand Forks School Board on March 25.

Grand Forks Public Schools Receives NAMM Designation

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation has designated Grand Forks Public Schools as one of the Best Communities for Music Education for 2019.

Now in its 20th year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, each school district answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

Grand Forks Public Schools joins Fargo and Mandan as the only three districts in North Dakota to receive the designation in 2019. The NAMM Foundation selected 623 school districts across the United States to receive the honors.

This is the 17th year Grand Forks Public Schools has received the designation from the foundation.

About The NAMM Foundation:

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit

Lord Receives Fulbright Fellowship

Rebecca Lord, Interventions Teacher at Valley Middle School, has been named a Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program (Fulbright TGC) Fellow.

Fulbright TGC is a year-long professional development opportunity for U.S. elementary, middle, and high school teachers to develop skills for preparing students for a competitive global economy. Fulbright TGC equips teachers to bring an international perspective to their schools through targeted training, experience abroad, and global collaboration.

This fall, Lord completed a rigorous semester-long online course focused on best practices in global education. Lord and Todd Selk, principal of Valley Middle School, attended a global symposium in Washington, D.C. in February. This in-person professional development workshop builds networks, collaboration, and develops strategies to enhance world learning.

This spring and summer, Fulbright TGC fellows will travel abroad for two to three weeks to experience another country’s culture and education system and promote mutual understanding. Lord will be traveling to Colombia. Fulbright TGC fellows will also create a global education guide that serves as a resource for their local community to build global awareness and mutual understanding.

"We are very proud of our staff member Becca Lord. She has demonstrated quality, innovation, risk-taking, relationship building, and leadership throughout her professional career,” said Selk. “Being selected out of over 400 applications and being the first-ever North Dakotan to be selected to this particular Fulbright program, which is in its ninth year, speaks highly of her as an individual and reflects fondly on Valley Middle School and Grand Forks Public Schools. We feel so fortunate to call her a colleague."

TGC is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX. It is governed by policies established by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. For more information, please visit

Valley Middle School Student Receives Presidential Volunteer Service Award

Kaylee Kirkeby, an 8th grader at Valley Middle School, has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President's Volunteer Service Award.

The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program.

Valley Middle School nominated Kirkeby for national honors this fall in recognition of her volunteer service.

Kirkeby volunteers at her school and throughout Grand Forks as part of the Student Leadership group. She has volunteered her time as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army, course marshaling at the Wild Hog Marathon 5K race, and counting funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients program. She has also volunteered through Grand Forks Public Schools’ Helping Hands program, volunteering at a local daycare and during a community event.

“Kaylee represents the best of what we strive for with our Valley students. She takes responsibility for her own education while giving of her time and talents to the betterment of others,” said Todd Selk, principal at Valley Middle School. “We are very proud of her accomplishments and this recognition.”

The awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), recognizes middle level and high school students across America for outstanding volunteer service.

"Across the United States, young volunteers are doing remarkable things to contribute to the well-being of the people and communities around them," said Prudential CEO Charles Lowrey. "Prudential is honored to celebrate the contributions of these students, and we hope their stories inspire others to volunteer, too."

Along with the recognition, recipients will receive a personalized certificate; an official pin, medallion or coin; and a congratulatory letter from the President of the United States.

Middle Schools Receive Distinguished Schools Designation

Elroy Schroeder Middle School, Nathan Twining Elementary and Middle School, South Middle School, and Valley Middle School have each been recognized as a 2018-2019 Distinguished School by the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Gateway program.

The PLTW Distinguished School recognition honors schools committed to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs. To be eligible for the designation, each school had to meet the following criteria during the 2017-2018 school year:

  • Offer at least one PLTW Gateway unit at each grade level;
  • Have at least 50 percent of the student body participating;
  • Have 25 percent of students advancing to high school participate in two or more units during their middle school tenure.

Through PLTW programs, students develop STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) knowledge as well as in-demand, transportable skills that they will use both in school and for the rest of their lives, on any career path they take. PLTW Gateway empowers students to lead their own discovery and uncover a range of paths and possibilities they can look forward to in high school and beyond.

The four middle schools in Grand Forks are the only PLTW Distinguished Schools in North Dakota this school year and are four of 148 middle schools across the United States to receive this distinction.

“My appreciation towards our middle school instructors in delivering the PLTW curriculum and to the building and district administration for supporting the program,” said Eric Ripley, Executive Director of Career and Technical Education. “PLTW is the gold standard for STEM-based education in the nation, and every one of our middle school students completes PLTW curriculum in Engineering, Design, Robotics, and Computer Science, which provides them with a solid foundation of skills and experiences to build upon.”

PLTW is a nonprofit organization that serves millions of Pre K-12 students and teachers in schools across the nation. Approximately 11,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit

Six Red River Students Named to Class A Academic All-State Teams

Six Red River High Schools seniors were selected as members of the 2019 North Dakota Class A Academic All-State teams.

Benjamin Hu, Tian Huang, and Millicent Schwartz were named to the Gold Team while Madeline Kleven was named to the Bronze Team. Each of the students received a medallion during the televised “Parade of Academic Champions” at the Class A Basketball Tournament in Bismarck on March 8.

Jill Goodman and Madelynne Heydt were named to the Honorable Mention Team and each received a certificate of merit.

The students were nominated for the All-State Teams by school administrators and competed for the honor on a state-wide basis. Students were selected on their overall grade-point averages, ACT or SAT scores, extracurricular activities, community involvement, and leadership qualities.

Kindergarten Registration

Grand Forks Public Schools has announced kindergarten registration information for the 2019-2020 school year.

The following elementary schools will hold registration on April 4:

  • Ben Franklin, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 1016 S 20th St.
  • Century, between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., 3351 17th Ave. S
  • Discovery, 9:30 a.m., 3300 43rd Ave. S
  • J. Nelson Kelly, between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., 3000 Cherry St.
  • Lake Agassiz, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., 605 Stanford Rd.
  • Lewis and Clark, 4-6 p.m., 1100 13th Ave. S
  • Phoenix, 1:30 p.m., 351 4th Ave. S
  • Viking, 1:30 p.m., 809 22nd Ave. S
  • West, 4-6 p.m., 615 N 25th St.
  • Wilder, 1:30 p.m., 1009 N 3rd St.
  • Winship, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., 1412 5th Ave. N

Nathan Twining Elementary and Middle School will hold kindergarten registration on April 2 from 4-5 p.m. The address to the school is 1422 Louisiana St. on the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

Parents are asked to bring their child to registration for the following schools: Ben Franklin, Discovery, Lake Agassiz, Lewis & Clark, Nathan Twining, Phoenix, Viking, West, Wilder, and Winship.

Children who will reach the age of five before August 1, 2019 are eligible to enter kindergarten. At the time of registration, parents/guardians will be required to provide parent/guardian photo identification, a copy of the child’s state certified birth certificate/I94, a copy of the certification of immunization records, and primary and secondary proof of residence.

For links to required forms and additional information, please click here.

The elementary school boundary line map can be found here.

In order to help better prepare for arrival at Kindergarten Registration, parents/guardians are asked to complete our online Pre-Registration form. This Google Form ( will allow us to capture information so we can begin your student’s enrollment now and cut down your waiting time at school that day.

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Mark Sanford Education Center

2400 47th Ave. S

Grand Forks, ND 58201