Jennifer Johnson is the K-12 education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. Contact her if you have any story ideas or tips and visit www.grandforksherald.com.
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Imagine if you threw a rock in the air and, instead of watching it slow, then drop to the ground, it sped up and disappeared in the sky. That's what it's like for scientists when they look at the stars and find that the universe, which has been expanding since its beginning, is expanding faster rather than slowing down, according to UND astrophysicist Wayne Barkhouse. "It's so profound," he said Tuesday in his office.
As universities nationwide continue to cut costs by adding more temporary positions, UND has been moving in a different direction. Institutions are hiring more adjunct professors, temporary instructors with no hope of tenure, as the recession has put more students back in school and forced university administrators to adjust their budgets. Nearly 64 percent of instructional faculty members at four-year institutions nationwide aren't eligible for tenure, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education analysis in fall 2012. At UND, that figure was at 39 percent in fall 2012, a slight increase s
Crookston High School students might be going to an eight-period day starting next fall, but, instead of more classes, it would mean more time for homework. The school is considering adding an extra hour each day after teachers expressed concern about homework completion, according to Principal Lon Jorgenson. In a school-wide poll, a majority of teachers and students back the move; parents will get a chance to weigh in at the end of the month. "As principal, I've seen pretty much every aspect of scheduling, from block to modified block to six- and seven-hour days," he said.
Student success remains the focus of the North Dakota University System plan to overhaul admissions standards, which will not affect tuition rates, system Chancellor Hamid Shirvani said Tuesday at UND. "If the standards are raised, the quality of education is higher and students graduate quicker, faster," he said. With students taking longer than four years to graduate with a bachelor's degree, "we don't want to waste students' time," he said. It was the first time Shirvani held a forum with faculty, staff and students at a university to discuss his Pathways to Student Success plan.
An update to the 2011 Grand Forks School District strategic plan is aimed at fine-tuning issues ranging from student enrollment to communication, said Superintendent Larry Nybladh on Monday. After two decades without a comprehensive strategic plan, the district felt, at the time, it should develop one in response to a rapidly changing economic and educational climate, Nybladh told school board members. "We need to constantly be considering positive and progressive change," he wrote in a forward to the plan.
In early December, some young students from Win-E-Mac School in Erskine, Minn., returned home with their hands stamped. It was a reminder to their parents that their lunch accounts were delinquent. Win-E-Mac had tried phone calls, emails, letters and even home visits, but found those efforts not effective, according to Superintendent Randy Bruer. About a dozen of the school's 430 students got the stamps. "It's amazing how quickly they responded," Bruer said. Community members were equally responsive.
A new program at Northland Community and Technical College this semester boasts of employing students virtually anywhere -- and it's nearly free of cost. Under the imagery analysis program, students at the Thief River Falls campus will learn how to collect and interpret imagery used to feed everything from online maps to unmanned aerial vehicles. With only about 3,000 imagery analysts nationwide right now, and increasing use of UAVs for surveillance, there's a desperate need for people who can interpret this data, said Sterling Williams, program manager.
Grand Forks is ringing in 2013 with a chill, according to the National Weather Service office here. The weather service issued a hazardous weather warning for New Year's Eve into this morning, with wind chills projected to be 25 below in some areas. Although it will be partly sunny today in Grand Forks, with a high near 15, the wind chill could bring that down to about 20 degrees below zero. Compare that to last year's first day, when the high was 30 degrees and the low was 13, said Jeff Makowski, a meteorologist with the city's weather service office.
A rare genetic disease forced Nicole O'Toole of Grafton, N.D., to spend much of her childhood in and out of hospitals. Rather than dwell on these struggles, she thinks about others, say family. The 18-year-old was born with tuberous sclerosis, a disease that causes non-malignant tumors to grow on the brain, kidneys and skin. She spent her childhood wracked with seizures that hit several times per day, and the exhaustion forced her to miss school.
Megan Moore, a high school senior from Northwood, N.D., recently readied her patient for a walk at Altru Health System in Grand Forks. "Hello Ms. Wietzema, I'm Megan, and I'll be your CNA today," she said. "Can I get you to lift your hands up?" In a small room in the hospital's basement, Moore tied a belt around Hannah Wietzema, another high school senior from Northwood, to steady her for their walk. They were joined by two other students that day to practice skills needed for a certified nursing assistant, such as checking for blood pressure.