The District Insider

Volume 6, Issue 5 | December 2018

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Katie Hatt, Health Sciences Education teacher at Grand Forks Public Schools and the Grand Forks Area Career and Technology Center, has been selected as the 2019 Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) New Teacher of the Year.

The award was announced on November 28 at the ACTE’s CareerTech VISION conference, held in San Antonio, Texas.

The New Teacher of the Year award recognizes teachers with three to five years of experience at any teaching level who have made significant contributions toward career and technical education programs and shown a professional commitment early in their careers.

As a health sciences instructor, Hatt started her online programs from the ground up. Hatt teaches her courses through a virtual center, but makes it possible to meet face-to-face with each school weekly to complete hands-on skill labs. Hatt has also developed partnerships with the health care providers within each community to provide students with a clinical experience as part of the course.

Hatt currently provides instruction to students in Grand Forks, Central Valley, Hatton, Hillsboro, Larimore, May-Port CG, Northwood, Thompson, Carrington, and New Rockford-Sheyenne.

Hatt had previously been selected as one of five finalists for the award. She had also been selected as the Region V New Teacher of the Year by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), and named the New Teacher of the Year by the North Dakota Association for Career and Technical Education.

ACTE is the nation’s largest non-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals and is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development, and leadership opportunities.

 Five Students Named District Nominees for U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

Five Grand Forks Public Schools seniors have been named district nominees for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program.

Cortney Gereau (Grand Forks Central High School), Kyle Hogland (Grand Forks Central High School), Chloe Rowekamp (Red River High School), Andrew Stayman (Grand Forks Central High School), and Mandy Williamson (Grand Forks Central High School) have been submitted to the North Dakota Department of CTE for consideration of the award.

“These students were selected for their demonstration of outstanding academic, technical, employability, and professional skills within their CTE courses. These nominees are outstanding representatives of their respective CTE programs,” said Eric Ripley, Executive Director of CTE.

Each of the students has completed a CTE coordinated plan of study or career pathway, have a minimum 3.0 grade point average and 3.25 grade point average in their CTE coordinated plan of study or career pathway, and have demonstrated technical competence, employability, ingenuity, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

The state department will review all applications before selecting up to five state applicants to advance to the Commission on Presidential Scholars. The applicants will be reviewed by a committee of qualified individuals experienced in career and technical education. The committee will choose 60 applicants to be named as semifinalists. The 60 CTE semifinalist applications will then be reviewed by the Commission on Presidential Scholars. All 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be selected by the Commission on Presidential Scholars and will receive the Presidential Scholars Medallion at a ceremony in their honor in Washington, D.C.

Foundation for Education Awards Nearly $10,000 for Local School Projects

The Grand Forks Foundation for Education, Inc. is awarding $9,972 this fall to help fund a variety of enrichment projects in Grand Forks Public Schools.

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.


  • $264 Lana Wages and J. Nelson Kelly Elementary for Friends Forever Program
  • $370 Kari Groeneveld and Lake Agassiz Elementary for Social Thinking, Tech, Collaborating ... Oh My!
  • $660 Lorraine O’Shea and all elementary schools for Elementary Science Field Trip
  • $787 Beth Abrahamson and J. Nelson Kelly Elementary for The Love of Reading
  • $1,000 Evan Pederson and West and Lake Agassiz elementary schools for Skate Pass Curriculum
  • $119 Angie Gietzen and South Middle School for Classroom Library Graphic Novels
  • $230 Nate Olson and Valley Middle School for Valley Math Whiteboard
  • $330 Kyle Cummings and Elroy Schroeder Middle School for “Wonder” 6th Grade Book Study
  • $450 Justin Johnson and Elroy Schroeder Middle School for Green Screen in the Classroom
  • $522 Theresa Ostgarden and South Middle School for Micro:Bits
  • $680 Mary Reinertson-Sand and Red River High School for Playaway Audio Books
  • $800 Eileen Zygarlicke and Community High School for The Power of Choice
  • $820 Joseph Ostgarden and Red River High School for Exploring Science with Robotics
  • $900 Nancy Greenwood and Grand Forks Central High School for Twice as Much Turning into Clay
  • $2,040 Sindy Larson and Grand Forks Central and Red River high schools for Literacy Leads to Language Acquisition
Grand Forks Public Schools Receives Robotics Grants

Grand Forks Public Schools has been awarded two grants to expand VEX Robotics clubs to the elementary school level.

The grants were awarded through the Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation and will support the creation of two teams each at Discovery Elementary School and ENCORE, an after-school program at Grand Forks Public Schools.

While currently the district has VEX Robotics Clubs at the middle and high school levels, there was a strong desire in starting clubs at the elementary level,” said Eric Ripley, Executive Director of Career and Technical Education. “Through the support of the grant and interest from the advisors, we are excited to provide these opportunities to learn and experience robotics at a younger age.”

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.

Advisors for the new clubs are Chad Kurtyka (4th grade teacher at Discovery Elementary) and Kayla Erickson (ENCORE coordinator).

The grant was written by Ripley.

The REC Foundation’s mission is to increase student interest and involvement in STEM by engaging students in hands-on, affordable, and sustainable robotics engineering programs.

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Scott Berge has been selected as the next Business Manager for Grand Forks Public Schools.

Berge has been the Director of Finance and Budget at Altru Health System since May 2015. He has 15 years of hands-on experience in public accounting, as well as knowledge and experience in budgeting, payroll and employee benefits, contract negotiation, financial statement preparation, compliance, and long-range financial planning.

He had previously been the Manager of Finance at Altru Health System, a controller at S&S Transport, Inc., and was a senior a manager at Drees, Riskey & Vallager, Ltd.

Berge holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of North Dakota and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

“Mr. Berge will bring a strong background in budget forecasting based on assumptions and variables. His attention to detail and collaborative approach to leadership will well-serve internal and external stakeholders,” said Dr. Terry Brenner, Superintendent of Schools.

The hiring is due to the upcoming retirement of Ed Gerhardt.

The Grand Forks School Board approved Berge’s hiring on November 13.

Grand Forks Public Schools Awarded Career and Technical Education Grant

Grand Forks Public Schools has been awarded a $7,300 competitive grant from the North Dakota Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department to assist in funding non-traditional career activities for students in grades 7-12.

Non-traditional careers are defined as one gender comprising less than 25 percent of the workforce. Within Grand Forks Public Schools, several CTE classes are offered that are considered non-traditional courses.

The grant will help fund a number of opportunities throughout the district, including the continuation of the “Girls Who Code” clubs at the middle school level, career exploration opportunities for middle and high school students, support the annual Northern Valley Career Expo, and the development of educational materials.

“The central goal behind all of these opportunities is to help encourage students to choose a career path based on interest, not on their gender,” said Eric Ripley, Executive Director of Career and Technical Education. “The activities supported by the grant are designed around helping students become more aware of the career opportunities available.”

The grant was written by Ripley.

Thanksgiving Pies

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Check out these wonderful pies that were prepared for the Northland Rescue Mission's Thanksgiving dinner! Students in the Family and Consumer Sciences classes/FCCLA Chapter made the pies and helped deliver them. Rhonda Peterson remarked that this annual pie donation appears to have been going on since Ruth Hill (former Professional Food Service/Home Economics teacher) was at the school. A round of applause for the students and advisors on this wonderful service-learning project!

(photos courtesy Amy Beauchamp)

Thank You, Midco!

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Our deepest thanks to Midco​ for their generous $1,500 Foundation Grant for the Grand Forks Central High School Engineering Technology Club!

The club is a Technology Student Organization that provides personal growth, leadership, and learning opportunities in technology, innovation, design, and engineering. The grant will help pay for materials for an array of projects that involve costly supplies and materials to complete engineering projects.

Pictured with club members are Jeremy Billings (Regional Engineering Manager), Bryan Krump (Field Operations Manager), and Jerome Gunderson (IT Teacher at Grand Forks Central).

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For Your Information

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Upcoming Events

Red River High School Department of Fine Arts present Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells Batman Smells
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Grand Forks Central Theatre Company presents The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
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Mark Sanford Education Center

2400 47th Ave. S

Grand Forks, ND 58201