Volume 5, Issue 5 | January 2018

West Elementary Named North Dakota Title I Distinguished School

West Elementary School has been named the recipient of the 2017-2018 Title I Distinguished School award for the state of North Dakota.

A project of the National Title I Association, the National Title I Distinguished Schools Program publicly recognizes qualifying Title I schools for the outstanding academic achievements of their students. It highlights the efforts of schools across the country making significant improvements for their students.

“Academically, we are very fortunate to have the support of a cutting-edge curriculum in our district,” said Angie Jonasson, principal at West Elementary. “Our teachers at West are committed to providing high-caliber instruction in all academic areas. In addition to our academic curriculum, as a staff we have taken the past four years to focus on understanding and supporting students that struggle socially and emotionally. These barriers can impede a child's ability to comprehend even the best instruction. With our schoolwide culture and climate of working collaboratively with students, understanding the root of their struggles, and helping them learn social-emotional skills, we are seeing great success in overall learning and development for all students.”

The award was announced by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction this week.

West Elementary will also be honored at the National Title I Conference, held in Philadelphia in February 2018.

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction names a Title I Distinguished School each year. The award is sponsored by the National Association of State Title I Directors. The program has been in place since 1996.

Ben Franklin Elementary School received the honor in 2013.

Peters Named North Dakota Associate Principal of the Year

Dr. Kelly Peters, Associate Principal at Red River High School, has been named the North Dakota Associate Principal of the Year.

The award is given by the North Dakota Association of Secondary School Principals (NDASSP), and was announced earlier today.

Peters has been an associate principal at Red River High School since the fall of 2007. A Grand Forks native, he graduated from the University of North Dakota in December 2008 with a doctorate degree in educational leadership. He received a bachelor’s degree in education from Mayville State in May 1992 and a master’s degree in 1996.

Over his 26-year education career, Peters has coached and advised several student organizations including football, speech and debate, yearbook, student council, and class advisor. Peters has also been actively involved in the North Dakota Council of Education Leaders (2004-2012) and North Dakota LEAD Center (2004-2012) organizations, serving on the Board of Directors and as President in both organizations.

“Dr. Kelly Peters is an extremely conscientious and dedicated educational leader working to meet the needs of all students, teachers, and support staff. Each day he strives to live out the mission of Red River High School by, ‘creating a safe and respectful environment for all students to learn,’” said Kris Arason, Principal of Red River High School.

Peters is now eligible for consideration to be the 2018 National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) National Assistant Principal of the Year.

The NASSP represents middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and aspiring school leaders from across the United States and more than 45 countries around the world. The organization’s mission is to promote excellence in school leadership.

Voya Financial Awards Two Teachers with Unsung Heroes Grant

Voya Financial, Inc. has awarded two Valley Middle School teachers with a $2,000 grant as part of the company’s 2017 Voya Unsung Heroes awards competition.

Andrew Kennedy and John Stempinski’s innovative teaching idea, “Eyes to the Skies,” focuses on connecting students to cutting-edge drone technology. The Voya grant will provide the school with the resources to implement curriculum and school programs that provide students exposure to elements of drone technology, including basic coding, flight mechanics, and professional quality video and photo equipment.

Selected from a group of more than 1,200 applicants, Stempinski and Kennedy are among only 100 winners across the country who received this award to help fund and bring their program to life.

Pictured left to right: John Stempinski and Andrew Kennedy.

“At Voya, we are proud to recognize the many teachers who go above and beyond to inspire a love of learning in their classrooms,” said Heather Lavallee, president of Tax-Exempt Markets at Voya Financial. “Understanding that we all learn differently, these teachers have developed unique programs to engage the minds of each and every student. We are honored to empower Andrew and John to continue to impact the lives of young people who will one day be the future leaders of our communities.”

Through the Voya Unsung Heroes program, Voya Financial awards grants to K-12 educators nationwide to honor their innovative teaching methods, creative education projects, and ability to positively influence their students. For more than 20 years, the program has awarded over $5 million in grants to more than 20,000 educators across the United States.

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

Adrian Cummings (Central High School), Alexander Elliot (Central High School), Molly Feland (Central High School), Brittney Gratton (Red River High School), Jackson Holm (Red River High School), Brianna Moncada (Central High School), Samuel Schumacher (Red River High School), and Cal Wigestrand (Red River High School) have been submitted to the North Dakota Department of CTE for consideration of the award.

“These students possess the outstanding talents, leadership skills, and character traits that make each of them an excellent representative for Grand Forks Public Schools and our district’s CTE programs,” said Eric Ripley, Director of Career and Technical Education.

Each of the students have 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 skills, ingenuity, and creativity.

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 2018 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.

Weather Related Information

Each year, Grand Forks Public Schools has 12 hours (i.e. two days) built into the calendar that may be used as weather-related make up days. Three of those hours will be used to cover the early school closure on December 4th.

If additional time is needed to manage weather-related events – such as late starts, early dismissals, or storm days later this school year – we have 9 built-in hours remaining. If more time is needed, May 7, 2018 (currently a professional development day) would become an instructional day, and June 1, 2018 (currently a clerical day) would become an instructional day.

December Social Media Award Recipients
Job Openings. Come in, We're Hiring!
Examples of Excellence
  • Congratulations to Jessie Erickson, Curriculum Technology Partner at South Middle School, on being named to the Governor's Innovative Education Task Force! The task force was created by executive order in September and will create, in part, a system of identification and support for schools and districts implementing innovative practices.
  • Congratulations to the three staff members who received grants through the Bjertness Staff Development Endowment at the Grand Forks Foundation for Education: $599 to Ali Parkinson of Discovery Elementary School for Swivl Virtual Learning Walks; $475 to Emily Parrill and Red River High School for Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages; $569 to Martie Wesley and Winship Elementary School for Passionate Readers: The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child book study!
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Mark Sanford Education Center | 2400 47th Ave. S, Grand Forks, ND 58201 | 701-746-2200


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