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West named state 'Title 1 Distinguished School'

West Elementary School has been named the 2017-18 Title I Distinguished School by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.

The award is given to recognize schools for outstanding academic achievement of their students.

Sponsored by the National Association of State Title 1 Directors, the award was announced recently by the DPI, which selects one school for the honor each year.

The Title 1 program, part of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, provides financial assistance to schools with high numbers or percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children are meeting state academic standards.

In North Dakota, 265 schools received Title 1 aid.

The West school's staff is "committed to providing high-calibre instruction in all academic areas," said Principal Angie Jonasson in a news release, but in recent years has focused on supporting students who "struggle socially and emotionally," which can impede a child's ability to learn.

West Elementary will be honored in February at the National Title 1 Conference in Philadelphia.

Ben Franklin Elementary School received the honor in 2013.

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

The contest is part of a program that encourages students to use their skills in science, technology, engineering, arts and math to solve real-world issues in their community.

Science teacher Sarah Boese's ninth-grade classroom was selected as a finalist based on its proposal to use STEAM skills to increase the amount of sunlight available to students in winter months. The students plan to design areas where artificial sun lamps may be used.

As one of five finalists in North Dakota, Boese will receive a Samsung Chromebook for classroom use.

Grand Forks Central High School students have been nominated and selected by the school's staff members as Academic Students of the First Quarter, one of the Renaissance Club's most prestigious awards.

They are 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.

As honorees, the students received a Renaissance Certificate, McDonald's and Buffalo Wild Wings certificates and a plaque.

The nationwide Renaissance Program aims to motivate and encourage students and staff by recognizing academic achievement and positive behavior.

Andrew Kennedy and John Stempinski, technology education teachers at Valley Middle School, have received a $2,000 grant from Voya Financial, Inc., for their "Eyes to the Skies" innovative teaching initiative.

The grant will be used to implement programs that expose students to drone technology, including basic coding, flight mechanics and professional-quality video and photo equipment.

Kennedy and Stempinski were among 100 winners, selected from a group of 1,200 applicants, to receive the grant, which is part of the company's Voya Unsung Heroes awards competition.