Moorhead Area Public Schools' District Blog

Moorhead School Board names new assistant superintendent

April 15th, 2014

At the School Board meeting April 14, the School Board voted on the recommendation of the administration to hire Brandon Lunak as the new assistant superintendent effective July 1, 2014.  Lunak has served as superintendent of the Waubun-Ogema-White Earth Public Schools since 2011, and he is serving as the Minnesota chairperson for the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS).  Read the full story at

June 4 remains last day of school for E-12 students; staff to work June 5-6

April 14th, 2014

The Moorhead School Board has scheduled the district’s remaining two makeup days for staff only. The last day for students remains June 4; the two makeup days will be for staff on June 5 and 6.

The school district’s 2013-14 calendar included one built-in makeup day. School was canceled Jan. 6 by Governor Dayton, and the built-in makeup day was used.

School also was canceled Jan. 16 and 22. Although March 31 had been scheduled to make up one instructional day, school was canceled on the makeup day. Therefore, two days remained to be made up.

With the adoption of a new literacy program, the implementation of teacher evaluation and other professional development needs, the two remaining makeup days will be used for professional development for staff, said Superintendent Lynne Kovash in the recommendation to the board.

The professional development and work time for teachers currently scheduled for June 5 will be made up through district options and flexible scheduling. Building administrators will work with teachers to determine the work time for closing their classrooms and completing end-of-year work. Information will be provided to the grades 9-12 teachers regarding the options available for making up the half day of professional development.

Non-licensed staff will make up the two days with work time and professional development on June 5 and 6.


8th Grade Orchestra to perform at the State Honor’s Concert

March 24th, 2014

Moorhead’s 8th Grade Orchestra makes its 14th appearance at the State Honor’s Concert on Monday, March 31 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

The 103 members of the Horizon Middle School 8th Grade Orchestra performed at one of three regional orchestra festivals on March 14. Following their performance, the judges selected Moorhead to perform at the State Honor’s Concert on March 31. Forty-seven middle school orchestras performed at the three regional festivals.

The Horizon students will spend a day in sectionals and rehearsals with professional musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra. The day will culminate with an evening concert at 6:30 p.m. where the Horizon 8th Grade Orchestra and seven other orchestras, including ones from Wayzata, Stillwater, Mounds View and Northfield, will perform.

Department of Education approves district’s proposed construction projects

March 21st, 2014

Moorhead Area Public Schools received approval last month from the Minnesota Department of Education for three proposed construction projects.

In November 2013, the School Board approved nine facilities recommendations, including a new track and artificial turf at Moorhead High School and additions to Robert Asp Elementary and Probstfield Center for Education, with construction to begin in the spring of 2014 for all projects.

The positive review and comment from the Commissioner of Education for the Moorhead High, Robert Asp and Probstfield projects judges the proposed construction projects to be educationally and economically advisable. The Moorhead School Board accepted the review and comment statement at the Feb. 24 meeting.

Although estimated costs for the projects have risen slightly since November, the impact on taxpayers will be offset because the Moorhead School Board refinanced some of the district’s long-term debt in January to save approximately $3.8 million in interest payments over seven years.

Replacing the track and installing an artificial turf field at Moorhead High School was originally estimated to be $1.54 million. This was later adjusted to $1.87 million. However, at the March 10 board meeting, the School Board accepted the bids for the project with costs coming in more than $200,000 below earlier estimates. Work is scheduled to begin this spring with a goal of having the new field ready for the Spuds to play football on in the fall, said Jeremy Larson, interim assistant superintendent.

The 11,000-square-foot Robert Asp addition is estimated to cost $2.3 million, which will be paid using the lease levy, and will address a critical shortage of physical education space at Robert Asp Elementary and provide for more equitable elementary school facilities.

The Probstfield Center 20,100-square-foot addition will include eight classrooms and a gymnasium to address the need for elementary classrooms beginning with the 2014-15 school year and gymnasium space issues. It will cost approximately $4.3 million and will be paid for using the district’s lease levy and existing district funds. Costs will rise for this project because another 1,000 square feet of space is needed, Larson said.

Using lease levy financing of about $5 million to pay for part of the Probstfield and Robert Asp additions will have an estimated tax impact of $27 per year on a $200,000 home. The district’s payments would be approximately $439,000 a year, Larson said.

However, the district’s refunding of its long-term debt will reduce payments on the bonds by an average of $550,000 per year for fiscal years 2016 through 2022, which reduces the district’s property tax levies.

Moorhead High chemistry teacher named 2014 Moorhead Teacher of the Year

March 20th, 2014

Moorhead High chemistry teacher Jana Kasper grew up in a teaching family and tried for her first years of college to not be a teacher. She knew teaching could mean long hours and work at home, and she thought she was going to do something different.

It was her love of working with kids and the challenge that each year brings with a new set of students that drew her to teaching.

Kasper, who has taught at Moorhead High School for the last 27 years, has been named the 2014 Moorhead Teacher of the Year by the Education Moorhead Communications Committee. Read the article at

Horizon teams place first, second and fourth in regional math tournament

March 19th, 2014

Several Horizon Middle School students received individual awards, and Moorhead teams placed first, second and fourth in the Grade 6 Regional Math Masters Tournament held in Moorhead on March 14. Teams from Detroit Lakes placed third and fifth. Ten teams from the area participated in individual and team rounds.

Horizon Middle School House 6B Team placed first in the Math Masters Tournament. Team members are Hunter Covey, Chrisanto D’Agostino, Sam Grotberg, Brock Klimek and Terry Kreps. Their math teacher is Diana Anderson.

The Horizon House 6A Team placed second in the tournament. Team members are Tyler Balluff, Emma Craig, Kylie Dumas, Cullen Gess and Christian Thingvold. Their math teacher is Sharon Nelson.

The Horizon House 6C Team placed fourth in the tournament. Team members are Rachel Craig, Eric Hawley, Ryan Luthi, Gunner McLeod and Gavin Sorby. Their math teacher is Barb Stack.

Horizon students who earned Fact Drill Awards were Brock Klimek, second place, and Chrisanto D’Agostino, third place. Kylie Dumas, Emma Craig, Cullen Gess, Rachel Craig and Ryan Luthi earned ribbons for Fact Drill.

Individual medals went to Horizon students Emma Craig, first place; Chrisanto D’Agostino, second place; and Brock Klimek, third place. Individual ribbons went to Rachel Craig, Christian Thingvold, Cullen Gess and Ryan Luthi.

Lois Brown and Kathy Cole are the Math Masters coordinators.

Math Masters of Minnesota is a statewide competition that challenges students to use higher-order thinking skills and problem-solving abilities in mathematics and recognizes academic effort and achievement.

School Board approves calendar for 2014-15 school year

March 10th, 2014

At its meeting on Feb. 24, the Moorhead School Board approved the calendar for the 2014-15 school year. Classes will begin Sept. 2, 2014.

The last day of classes for students is May 29, 2015, unless additional emergency makeup days are needed. March 4 and April 6 are scheduled as makeup days and school will be held on those days if makeup days are needed. If additional days are needed, the calendar will be extended and classes will be scheduled June 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 as needed for makeup days.

Other priorities addressed by the district’s calendar committee in establishing the 2014-15 calendar were having all students in school on the same days, conferences that address schedule needs at the elementary, middle and high school levels, and professional development for teachers and staff spread throughout the school year.

Aug. 26 includes parent communication time for grades 6-12 with Aug. 28 scheduled as the elementary parent communication day prior to the start of the school year.

Fall parent/teacher conferences will be held the evenings of Oct. 13 and 14 at all schools. On Oct. 15 there will be conferences in the morning for grades 9-12 and conferences all day for grades K-8. There will be no classes for K-12 students on Oct. 15 for conferences, and there will be no school on Oct. 16-17 because of the Education Minnesota conference.

Moorhead High School will have conferences during the second quarter on the evening of Dec. 8 and during the third quarter on the evening of Feb. 9. Moorhead High will have a final evening conference on April 20.

Parent/teacher conferences for the elementary schools and Horizon Middle School will be held the evenings of March 2 and 3. There will be no classes for K-12 students on March 4-6 unless March 4 is needed as a makeup day.

There are no classes Nov. 26-28, which falls over the Thanksgiving holiday. Winter break will be Dec. 24 through Jan. 2, 2015. Classes resume Monday, Jan. 5, 2015.

There will be no classes for students on Jan. 19, which is a professional development day for teachers. There is no school on Nov. 10, Feb. 16, April 3 and April 6. April 6 is scheduled as the second makeup day if needed. There will be no school on May 25 for Memorial Day.

May 29 is the last day of classes for K-12 students unless the calendar is adjusted. Besides March 4 and April 6, the possible emergency makeup days are June 1-5. School could be scheduled those days if needed. June 1 is the last day for staff unless the end of the year is adjusted. Graduation will be May 31, 2015.

A one-page version of the 2014-15 calendar is available at


District partnering with Solutions to expand mental health supports

March 4th, 2014

Moorhead Area Public Schools is partnering with Solutions Behavioral Healthcare Professionals to increase the mental health supports available for students thanks to an extension and expansion of a School Linked Mental Health grant that Solutions has received from the state. Read the article at

Red River Area Learning Center students sew dresses for service learning project

March 3rd, 2014

In January, Red River Area Learning Center students made dresses from pillowcases to be sent to children in Africa. Read the article at

Wrestling team advances to state for second straight year

February 24th, 2014

The Moorhead High School wrestling team, coached by Skip Toops, has advanced to the state tournament for the second year in a row. Last year the team won its first section title since 1981. Read the article at