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Helmut Schmidt, Published February 25 2014

Fargo schools join career, tech ed consortium with West Fargo, Northern Cass

FARGO – The Fargo, West Fargo and Northern Cass school districts are partnering to expand career and technical education offerings for high school students.

The final piece of the Cass County Career and Technical Education Consortium was put into place Tuesday when the Fargo School Board voted 8-0 to have the district participate.

The West Fargo and Northern Cass school boards approved the arrangement in earlier votes.

Starting in the 2014-15 school year, the three districts will share career and technical education course offerings, Assistant Superintendent Bob Grosz said.

Students will be able to take some courses online, some courses will be hybrids with online and classroom learning, while the remainder will be in traditional classroom settings with students traveling between districts as needed, Grosz said.

“I really see this as being able to provide additional opportunities for our students,” Grosz said.

The consortium will be governed by one board member from each district. For Fargo, that will be Jim Johnson.

The governing board will have an advisory team of administrators from each district and the director of the consortium.

The consortium will get most of its funding in the first year through a $429,900 state grant, which was approved last week.

Another $143,340 will be provided through fees assessed to each district.

The fees for each high school are determined by a percentage of total enrollment in the program and a base fee of $2,530 for each school.

The fees are: Fargo Davies, $30,729.60; Fargo South, $26,884.20; Fargo North, $24,320.60; West Fargo Sheyenne, $17,911.60; West Fargo High, $37,138.60; and Northern Cass, $6,355.26.

Superintendent Jeff Schatz said other school districts in the county and southeastern part of the state can join when they feel ready to take part.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” said Schatz, adding that it plays to the strengths of each district. “This here is just the very, very beginning.”

Grosz said students in each district will have priority to enroll in courses offered by that district. Then students from the other districts can enroll.

Material shared with the West Fargo School Board shows that proposed courses for the first year are:

  • Health sciences: Health careers 1 and 2, medical terminology, certified nursing assistant, prevention and care of athletic injuries.

  • Welding technology 1 and 2.

  • Aviation technology 1.

  • Agriculture: Botany/horticulture 1.

    Future programs are:

  • Automated manufacturing 1 and 2. (The program is now in place at South High.)

  • Diesel technology.

  • Information technology.

  • Law, public safety, corrections and security.

    “We often get asked, ‘How come we never do things with other districts?’ And I think this is a great addition to some of the things we are doing behind the scenes,” board President Dinah Goldenberg said.

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