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Published January 17 2010

Norman County school receives Spotlight Award

The Norman County West Elementary School in Hendrum, Minn., became one of the state’s 10 recipients of the 2009 School Spotlight Award. The award recognizes schools that show student gains thanks to innovative curriculum, student support programs and staff development.

The nonprofit Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation administers the annual award.

High math and reading standardized test scores are a decisive factor, said Ollen Church, the Norman County West superintendent and the principal of the elementary school.

He credited the work of district teachers and the school’s entire staff for the award.

“For most, it’s not an 8-to-4 job,” he said. “I have people who almost live there. It’s an all-school effort.”

The school had a few other things going for it besides high test scores. It became a Blue Ribbon school in 2006 as part of the federal program recognizing dramatic gains in student achievement.

The district also employs a curriculum director who works closely with teachers. And last year, Norman County West won an $118,000 state technology grant, which allowed it to buy interactive whiteboards for all its classrooms.

Top administrator

West Fargo High School Assistant Principal Corey Steiner was recognized this week as this year’s North Dakota Assistant Principal of the Year.

Steiner was presented with the award at a ceremony on Thursday by the North Dakota Association of Secondary School Principals.

He was commended for involving the community and improving the school’s learning environment.

Steiner is now eligible to be considered for the national award. He and every state’s winner will be recognized in April in Washington, D.C.

Geography buzz

Seventh-grader Christian Borgen won Park Christian School’s 2010 National Geographic Bee. He recently competed against 19 other geography whizzes grades four through eight in the school’s gymnasium.

Jordan Kerr, a sixth-grader, and fifth-grader Olson Langness took second and third place.

Christian will take a written Geography Bee test that will determine whether he qualifies to the regional competition.

In West Fargo, Cheney Middle School student Lance Wilson won his school’s geography bee. He will now take a qualifying test to see if he advances to the state-wide level in Bismarck.

Certified program

The Fargo Public Schools’ automotive technology program recently received certification from the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation.

The General Services Technician Certification means the program meets a set of 10 core standards.

More than 125 students from both North and South high schools participate in the program each year.


Readers can reach Forum reporters Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515 and Mila Koumpilova at (701) 241-5524