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Helmut Schmidt, Published August 25 2010

Fargo studies alternative education plan

The Fargo School District is studying how to create an alternative education plan for middle school students.

Staff members, most of them teachers from the three middle schools, researched and brainstormed this summer on how to make the concept work for sixth- through eighth-graders who need help with schoolwork or behavior issues, Assistant Superintendent Bob Grosz told the school board Tuesday.

Grosz said the team has been looking closely at a school-within-a-school concept for the program.

It could be run at all three middle schools, or all the students in need could be sent to one school, he said.

The district currently places middle school students in an educational day program with Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, Grosz said.

Grosz said a program could be modeled to provide help for literacy, math, science, social studies, and behavioral issues, using a block scheduling system to tailor the program to each student’s needs.

Grosz said such a program could be “a wonderful opportunity” for 12 to 20 students at each school to get help for needs not bad enough to require time in the educational day program.

Further work will be done on the concept before it’s brought back to the board to be considered for funding, he said.

In other business, the board:

- Voted 6-1 to raise the target size for future elementary school construction from three to four sections (classes) per grade in the building, to four to five sections, with a maximum of six.

The guidelines would apply to new construction or to additions to schools such as Kennedy, Bennett, Lincoln or Lewis and Clark elementaries.

Board member Kris Wallman voted against raising the school size limit.- Interviews for a new assistant superintendent for business services will be held Sept. 2-3. The post is currently held in the interim by Jackie Gapp.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583