Jennifer Johnson covers K-12 education for the Grand Forks Herald.
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Grand Forks teachers will now be assessed under a more rigorous evaluation system, marking its first significant change to the approach in at least 20 years. Instead of relying more on self-evaluations, principals will make sure an estimated 750 teachers in the district are held accountable for all aspects of their jobs including content, student comprehension and collegiality. Principals are also spending more time watching teachers in the classrooms compared with the past. The new system, part of Superintendent Larry Nybladh's strategic plan, is independent of the state's development of n
Although he hadn't received a significant number of calls from parents, Grand Forks Public Schools Superintendent Larry Nybladh said there were some conversations about the Newtown, Conn., school shooting between parents and teachers that morning. "It's been a very measured response here in Grand Forks," he said. "I think here, like everywhere across the country, people are just shocked and horrified that an instance like this could happen at an elementary school." Nybladh issued a public statement Monday about the school shooting in Connecticut last week.
As student loan debt reaches unprecedented highs, UND's new Financial Wellness program is using students to teach students ways to manage that debt. Starting Feb. 1, students can be matched with peers who help them create spending plans, learn about their credit scores and find ways to pay for college. "There are some sound, savvy students on this campus that have investment portfolios that would make 50-year-olds blush," said Laurie Betting, associate vice president for health and wellness.
Grand Forks Public School District has an emergency plan in place but has rarely been called to use it, said Assistant Superintendent Jody Thompson. After hearing of the mass shooting on Friday in Connecticut, he called it "devastating." "Anytime you learn of a school shooting, there's no question that's every community's worst nightmare," he said. Because of safety concerns, he didn't want to release details of the district's emergency plan, particularly in the event of an active shooter. Every school has an emergency plan, which includes practicing a lockdown procedure two to three times
The East Grand Forks School Board on Monday approved a 1.96 percent increase to its 2012-2013 property tax levy, or a $37,630 increase from last year. With the increase, the district's total tax levy is $1,959,049, the majority of which is made up of student-driven costs. With the levy increase, the owner of a $150,000 property has an annual tax bill of $377. The "relatively flat" increase was mostly due to a slight uptick in student enrollment this year, said Bill Menozzi, business manager, from 1,693 at the end of last year to 1,719 now.
After being held at gunpoint in Zimbabwe and caught in a civil uprising in Mali, UND anthropologist Marcia Mikulak is known to put research ahead of her own safety.
Technology may have become a staple at home and in school, and Grand Forks educators maybe mulling an even earlier start to keyboarding classes, but traditional cursive continues to survive in some classrooms here. "They're really eager to learn because they see it as a mature way to write," said Principal Ali Parkinson at West Elementary School.
Sarah Hopkins, a junior at UND, just finished getting a massage Wednesday when she worked her way over to design a carnival mask. She joined a few students who were already sitting down at the table in the Memorial Union's Loading Dock, quietly gluing feathers and jewels to their mask. Hopkins wasn't attending a carnival or a spa, but a hybrid of both. She was one of hundreds of students to visit UND's annual De-Stress Fest, an event through the Health and Wellness Center offering students ways to relax a little before finals week. "I'm a creative person," she said.
With North Dakota's aging population and a growing number of new residents in the Oil Patch, the shortage of physicians throughout the state will worsen, according to a report UND released Tuesday. The School of Medicine and Health Sciences' Advisory Council said in the report that not only is there not enough physicians, but there aren't enough physicians where they are especially needed -- in rural areas and small cities, including those of the Oil Patch. Physicians in small cities have twice as many patients to see as those in metropolitan areas.