Volume 5, Issue 4 | December 2017

SPA Recognized with Top Arts and Culture Honor

The Summer Performing Arts (SPA) program has been selected as a 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program (NAHYP) award winner by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

The NAHYP award is the Nation’s highest honor for after-school and out-of-school arts and humanities programs. The award recognizes the country’s best creative youth development programs for using engagement in the arts and the humanities to generate a wide range of positive outcomes, such as increases in academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment. The awardees, chosen from a pool of 350 nominations and 50 finalists, were also recognized for improving literacy and language abilities, communication and performance skills, and cultural awareness.

Accepting the award in Washington D.C., were Dean Opp, administrative director of SPA, and Sydney Warcup, Red River High School senior and SPA alum.

“We hope this award will draw attention to the fact that programs like ours are essential investments not just in the lives of our young people, but in our community, as well,” said Opp. “We’re incredibly proud of this achievement and of the young people, volunteers, supporters, and staff who made it possible.”

Each year, the NAHYP award recognizes 12 outstanding programs in the United States, from a wide range of urban and rural settings. Award recipients each received a $10,000 award and an invitation to accept the award at the ceremony in Washington, D.C.

"These 12 creative youth development programs represent the best of the best," said Pam Breaux, president and chief executive officer of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. "They are living proof of the power of the arts and the humanities to build the skills young people need to succeed in school and in life."

SPA, which is celebrating its 30th season, is an educational arts program for students in grades K-11. SPA offers arts activities in the summer months, as well as special projects throughout the school year. SPA also oversees the Grand Cities Children’s Choir, a year-round auditioned choir for students in 3rd-9th grades.

The mission of the program is to provide high-quality arts education for all SPA students in instrumental music, vocal music, dance, drama, and visual arts; create arts-based activities to meet the demand of all students that wish to participate, rather than limit opportunities and enrollment; create a positive, safe, and respectful learning environment for students, educators and staff; promote good citizenship and educate students on being good stewards of the community, and promote and educate students on lifelong skills such as teamwork, cooperation, conflict resolution, tolerance, and good character.

In 1988, 45 students participated in SPA. Last summer, 1,405 students participated in the summer programs. Over 190,900 audience members have seen 545 SPA performances from 1987-2017.

First presented in 1998, the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award were presented through a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), in cooperation with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA).

For more information about the NAHYP awards, visit http://www.nahyp.org/. To support the SPA program, please visit donate.gffoundation.org/SPA.

SPA will celebrate receiving the NAHYP award with the Grand Forks community on December 7th prior to a 7 p.m. performance of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” at the Red River High School Performance Hall. An Open House with refreshments will be held from 6-6:30 p.m., with a program from 6:30-7 p.m.

Superintendent Search

Superintendent Dr. Larry Nybladh has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2018.

The Grand Forks School Board has contracted with School Exec Connect, a superintendent search firm, to assist with the search for a new superintendent. Board members want you to be informed of the process that will be followed as the search for a new superintendent is conducted. Additionally, the Board hopes that you will provide your input to assist them in making the best selection possible.

School Exec Connect consultants will meet with various staff, students, and community members to determine the challenges, strengths, goals of the districts, and what characteristics or skills they would like to see in a superintendent.

Patrons have the opportunity to give confidential feedback to the consultants via the district website (www.gfschools.org). The following is a link to the Survey Monkey instrument that has been developed for this purpose: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WXP95DS. Please submit any feedback by December 7.

Thank you in advance for providing valuable input to this most important process.



Doug Carpenter, President, Grand Forks School Board

Eric Burin, Vice President, Grand Forks School Board

Amber Flynn, Member, Grand Forks School Board

Meggen Sande, Member, Grand Forks School Board

Elizabeth Meihaus, President, Grand Forks Air Force Base School Board

Red River Advances in Samsung’s National STEAM Contest

Red River High School has been named one of the nation’s 255 state finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest.

The program encourages students to solve real-world issues in their community using classroom skills in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM).

Sarah Boese’s 9th grade classroom was selected based on their proposal to use STEAM skills to address the lack of sunlight available to students during the winter months. To tackle this project, students will design areas where artificial sun lamps may be used.

As one of five state finalists in North Dakota, Boese will win a Samsung Chromebook to use in her classroom.

Red River now has the opportunity to advance in the competition for additional classroom technology prizes. Boese is currently working on an activity plan outlining how the students will execute their project. If named the North Dakota state winner, Red River High School will receive a $25,000 Samsung technology package.

“I'm excited to move on to the next round of applications. I'm sure there were many quality applications sent in and that our was one of the five from North Dakota to move on is a unique opportunity for our school,” said Boese. “The Samsung Chromebook will be used extensively in my room for data collection in science labs, collaboration between students, and research.”

Fifty-one state winners will be selected to submit a video of their project in action. For achieving state winner status, 41 of those schools will receive a $25,000 Samsung technology package, including a Samsung video kit to produce their video. The other 10 will progress to the national finalist stage. The 10 national finalists will be selected to attend a Pitch Event where they will pitch their project to a panel of judges. For achieving national finalist status, seven schools will receive a $50,000 Samsung technology package. The other three will progress to the national winner stage. Three national winners will be selected and each will receive a $150,000 Samsung technology package.

Holocaust Survivor Speaks at Middle Schools
Our deepest gratitude to Marion Blumenthal Lazan for speaking at our middle schools earlier this month, and to everyone in the greater Grand Forks community for bringing her back to the area. Blumenthal Lazan spent over six years in concentration camps, she and her family surviving refugee, transit, and prison camps during World War II. The co-author of “Four Perfect Pebbles,” she shares her story regularly with schools across the United States in an effort to teach young adults the importance of being respectful and tolerant (photos courtesy Monte Gaukler, Melissa Korslien, Amy Rogers, and South Middle School).
Grand Forks Foundation for Education Awards $10,695 for Local School Projects

The Grand Forks Foundation for Education, Inc. is awarding $10,695 this fall to help fund a variety of enrichment projects in the 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.

  • $99 Cynthia Larson and Grand Forks Central High School for Write and Discuss – A Document Camera for Comprehensible Input (French)
  • $300 Ashley Vinje and Lake Agassiz Elementary for STEM Bins
  • $300 Elizabeth Hildebrand and Red River High School for Secondary Sensory Room
  • $355 Emily Dawes and Lewis & Clark Elementary for Morning Tub Manipulatives
  • $500 Tricia Lee and Special Education for Music Therapy in Motion: An Instrumental Option for Student Success
  • $505 Lana Wages and J. Nelson Kelly Elementary for Friends Forever Program
  • $520 Katie Hillestad and Ben Franklin Elementary for Strumming Up Success
  • $540 Aaron Schauer and Red River High School for Motorized Cruiser Bikes
  • $594 Jessica Sporbert and all elementary speech language pathologists for MTSS Articulation Therapy
  • $650 Jayne Flaagan and Phoenix, Winship, and West elementary schools for Bi-Lingual Books in Spanish and English for the Classroom
  • $733 Amy DeWitt and Century Elementary for Instruments for All
  • $775 Monte Gaukler and Schroeder Middle School for Building Stories with Bloxels
  • $1,224 Kati Larson and Grand Forks Central High School for Turning into Clay
  • $1,600 Britta Hanson and all Elementary Technology Partners for 3D Creations – Doodle Pens
  • $2,000 Emily Lundby and Pre-K Early Childhood Special Education for Getting the Ball Rolling with a Brand New Program for Early Childhood Special Education: ADAPTED PHYSICAL EDUCATION
November Social Media Award Recipients
Job Openings. Come in, We're Hiring!
Examples of Excellence
  • Congratulations to Maggie Steffen (Red River High School) on being selected to the 2017 Volleyball All-State First Team!
  • Congratulations to Zach Murphy (Central High School) on being named to the 2017 Class AAA Football All-State First Team! Congratulations also to Red River's Ben Christian and Landon Haagenson on being named to the Second Team.
Congratulations to Ally Byzewski and Isabell Jenkins (seniors), Mariah Hapka and Katherine Stauss (juniors), Elizabeth Pollot and Gabrielle Sims (sophomores), and Lauren Hillman and Madison Myrold (freshmen) for being selected as the Academic Students of the 1st Quarter at Grand Forks Central High School! Each student received a Renaissance Certificate, McDonald's and Buffalo Wild Wings Certificates, and will have a Renaissance parking spot in the City Hall Lot for 4 ½ weeks during the 2nd quarter.
Upcoming Events

Mark Sanford Education Center | 2400 47th Ave. S, Grand Forks, ND 58201 | 701-746-2200


Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.