Jennifer Johnson covers K-12 education for the Grand Forks Herald.
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Early in his teaching career at Grand Forks' Ben Franklin Elementary School, Harold Gustafson had a good student he described as "a little Pigpen," named after the Peanuts character who was always followed by a trail of dust. The boy's father kept urging him to clean his room, but the boy refused. One weekend, the father moved out. The boy told Gustafson that if he'd only cleaned his room, his father would have stayed. Gustafson told the boy his parents loved him, and that the divorce wasn't his fault.
Lake Region State College instructors have been teaching Grand Forks high school students for the past three years now, helping them prepare for the academic rigor of higher education. "It provides a wonderful opportunity for when they plan to go to college," said Kelly Peters, associate principal at Red River High School. Many of the students earn both college and high school credits in dual-credit courses -- often taught by Lake Region instructors based in Grand Forks. High schools here are among 60 statewide that have access to instructors from the Devils Lake-based college.
The report card for Minnesota schools comes out today, and several schools in the state's northwest region received high marks. Among those the state considers "reward" schools, meaning they are in the top 15 percent of all Title I schools, are elementary schools in Crookston (Highland Elementary), Fisher, Grygla and Warren and the secondary school in Climax. One school, the high school in Oklee, received low marks and was considered a "priority" school, meaning it is among the 5 percent of persistently low-performing schools statewide. In East Grand Forks Public School District, South Poin
Grand Forks Catholic schools are reporting higher first day enrollment, after the first day of the new school year on Aug. 22. Enrollment at St. Michael's Catholic School totaled 130, an increase of 11 compared to last year, according to Principal Nancy Kochmann. Enrollment at Holy Family St. Mary's Catholic School totaled 80, an increase of eight, according to Principal Charles Scherr. Kochmann, a first-year principal, credits the increase to "phenomenal teachers" and an increase in parents taking control of their children's education.
Under a new proposal by the North Dakota chancellor, students who take dual credit courses would get credit only at college. How does this plan affect your child's future? If you're a student or parent, we'd like to hear from you. Contact Jennifer Johnson at email@example.com .
On the first day of her first year of teaching, Taylor Raboin was coaxing a student standing toward the back of her classroom. Six-year-old Aaron Carlson was one of the first to arrive Wednesday morning, and he had been clinging to his mother. "We can look for a book in the book box," his new teacher gently told him. The boy said nothing, but picked up three books and returned to his desk. Asked if he was excited for the first day of school at Grand Forks' Ben Franklin Elementary, he smiled impishly and shook his head.
First-day enrollment was an all-around record-breaker at UND and other area universities this year. At UND it was 14,807, which exceeds first-day enrollment a year ago by 731, according to the university. In fact, it exceeds the record-breaking final enrollment numbers from last year by 110. Final enrollment tends to be higher than first-day enrollment, so the university has some assurance at this point that this year's final numbers will likely be a record-breaker also. "Generally, we're pleased with the numbers," said spokesman Peter Johnson.
Last year, Rep. Bob Skarphol, R-Tioga, pushed a bill to reduce the power of the North Dakota University System chancellor. Like many state lawmakers, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee's education division was unhappy with the way the system was run. On Wednesday, the day after new Chancellor Hamid Shirvani announced he wanted to make sweeping changes to the system, including toughening admission standards, Skarphol whistled a different tune. "He has a refreshing attitude that seems to be extremely open and transparent," Skarphol said of Shirvani.
In his East Grand Forks basement, Sam Melquist can turn a plain white hat into a kid's fashion statement in less than ten minutes with an airbrush. His airbrushing style on clothing mixes cartoon-like whimsy and edge, while his portraits tend toward realism, capturing details that seem beyond the capabilities of the paint-spraying device -- thin lines of sunlight on strands of hair, wrinkles in a smile. This is what drew him to the technique in the first place as a 15-year-old, he said. "The realism that you can achieve with an airbrush was the most attractive part of it," he said.
HILLSBORO, N.D. -- A candle in a wine bottle sparked a business that took one couple from their farmhouse kitchen to a 10,000-square-foot factory here in less than a year. Observing the uncontrolled wax flow, Aaron McWilliams, 28, and his wife Sara decided they wanted to create a candle with a new kind of wax flow where the dripping wax can be reused to stretch the burn time. When the couple started making the candles in February 2011, they said it took three to four hours to make just one. Today, Spiral Light Candle Corp.