Moorhead Area Public Schools' District Blog

April, 2011Archive for

Every 15 Minutes program educates Moorhead High students about impact of drinking and driving

Friday, April 29th, 2011

“We are the sum total of every decision we’ve ever made,” Everett Contois told Moorhead High School juniors and seniors as part of the Every 15 Minutes program held April 27-28. 

The four-part program included the living dead, a mock crash, a student retreat, and the mock memorial service and presentations. Every 15 Minutes is designed to show students the consequences of drinking and/or texting while driving and help students make positive decisions.

In 1995, Contois was 18 years old, a three-sport athlete from a well-off family, with an expensive sports car, making him the “coolest kid in school,” he said. 

He was racing his car when the police clocked him going more than 100 mph. Instead of stopping, his friends convinced him to keep going. The police pursued him, but weren’t able to stop him. “What stopped my car was a guy in a pickup that I T-boned going 100 mph,” Contois told the students.

Contois was sentenced to prison and was released when he was 32 years old. “My decision was to drive that car that night and kill somebody. I want you to know what real life is like,” he said.

The presentation by Contois was part of the final assembly. The first part of the Every 15 Minutes program occurred on April 27, when students were removed from classes as part of the “living dead” and obituaries written by their parents were read to their classmates. Other students were part of the mock car crash on the afternoon of April 27. Police, fire fighters and paramedics responded to the mock crash. The living dead and those involved in the mock car crash were separated from family and friends overnight as part of a retreat. 

One exercise the students did during the retreat was to write letters to their parents that began with the phrase, “Today I died in an alcohol-related accident and never got the chance to tell you…” Their parents also wrote letters to their children. 

Officer Scott Kostohryz with the Moorhead Police Department introduced the April 28 assembly, staged as a mock memorial service for the mock car crash victim. 

He explained that Every 15 Minutes was developed in the mid-1990s, and at the time every 15 minutes someone died in an alcohol-related accident. Officer Kostohryz said this statistic has improved to one death from an alcohol-related accident every 33 minutes. Three efforts to help reduce drinking and driving are stricter laws, increased enforcement and education programs, he said.

Students then viewed a video of the events leading up to and the aftermath of the mock car crash, including the ambulance ride, emergency room treatment and, for the drunk driver, being charged with criminal vehicular homicide, among other charges.

Following the video, two students and their parents shared letters during the morning assembly.  One student read to his parents, “I wish I would have told you one more ‘thank you.’ … I wish I would have said one more ‘I love you.’” 

Next Elizabeth Parrow-Hawkins shared several poems and her story with the students. Parrow-Hawkins lost her 21-year-old daughter Becky and husband Don when they were killed by a drunk driver in 1998. Two years earlier her son had been killed.

Contois took the stage after Parrow-Hawkins and shared the details of his story. While in prison he was able to attend college through correspondence courses. But things were different when he got out of prison. “It’s tough to make up for anything when no one will give you a chance,” he said.

Finding a job was difficult so he makes minimum wage cleaning dirty carpets in cars. 

“It is what is is. It’s life after you make a decision like this,” Contois said.

For more information about the Every 15 Minutes program visit

Out and about in Moorhead Schools

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Over the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to substitute teach in our schools. It has been a great experience — a chance to reconnect with students and a chance to work alongside our teachers. The commitment of our teachers is so strong in all of our schools. I know the time and effort teachers put into lessons to connect our students with learning about their world. The relationship between the teacher and the student provides a strong foundation for more learning.

At the elementary level, I used caps for milk containers as markers in a mathematics lesson. Our teachers have innovation skills, especially as they look to use and reuse everything. Our teachers have classes of students with the thirst and desire to use their minds. Our students are active; classrooms of elementary students kept me hopping.

Our middle school students are full of energy and want to know about the rules of their school. They can develop a topic, research the project and put together their ideas into a presentation for the class. They research environmental issues and the effect on our world. Our students are continuing to learn deeper about the world around them. It is a pleasure to work with staff members who are ready to teach students about their global world.

Our high school students are learning about the world from the historical perspective. Teachers are teaching many students from other countries, including students who are trying to learn language and the concepts at the same time. Teachers are constantly exploring ways to connect with their students every day.

Both administrators and teachers have been a part of learning walks in our schools this year. The learning walks allow us to observe classrooms to see the curriculum and teaching in action. These learning walks have been helpful in looking at what is happening in the classroom and tying those observations to the work being done district wide.

Our teachers are working hard to meet the diverse learning needs of students in the Moorhead Area Public Schools. We have students ranging from those who have traveled or lived in many parts of the world to those who have never left the community. We need to teach our students about their global world and provide strong experiences for every child.


Dr. Lynne A. Kovash
Moorhead Area Public Schools

Community Education offers summer athletic camps for youth

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Moorhead Community Education is offering several summer athletic camps throughout the summer. Students will learn from Moorhead High School coaches and players. The summer athletic camps provide students an opportunity to have fun, enhance skills and make new friends.

Camps have varying starting dates. Volleyball camps are June 6-17, gymnastics camp is June 14-16, and wrestling camps are June 20-23 and July 18-21. Football camps are in June or July depending on grade level. Boys basketball camps are June 20-July 1, girls basketball camps are July 11-22, and boys and girls basketball camps for grades 1-3 are June 13-17. The complete camp schedule and registration forms are available at

Call Moorhead Community Education at 218-284-3400 for more information or to register with a credit card or register online at

Moorhead High spring play “Cinderstein” offers comic relief

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

This spring, Moorhead High School theater offers comic relief with the zany, funny show “Cinderstein,” which combines the storylines of “Cinderella” and “Frankenstein.” More than 40 Moorhead High students are part of the cast and crew. Performances are 7:30 p.m. April 28, 29 and 30 and 2 p.m. May 1. A sign language interpreter will be present at the April 28 show.

“Cinderstein” is a play within a play where the actors are high school students putting on a performance. The high school drama teacher wrote her own version of Cinderella by combining the princess’s tale with the story of Frankenstein, but the production is bombing.

According to Moorhead High director Dawn Gunderson, the show includes a fairy “goshmother” not godmother, five stepsisters not just two, a boy who has to dress up like a girl, a queen who never gets her lines quite right, and a tech guy who shows up in scenes when he should be running sound.

After being forced to play a girl, one of the boys worries that if his father, a sports fanatic, sees him his acting career will be over. Despite the director’s explicit instructions that the Prince’s Ball scene must be slow and elegant, the cast speeds it up so the boy won’t be seen, but the actress playing the queen is incapable of improvisation and can’t keep up. When Frankenstein replaces Cinderella’s brain with a cat’s brain instead, this wacky production changes beyond even the director’s recognition.

Tickets for the performances are on sale now. Tickets are $6 for students and $8 for adults. You can purchase them through the box office at 218-284-2345, in the activities office or at the door.

Community Education and Senior Connections hosting Baby Boomer Boot Camp on Tuesdays in May

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Are you ready for the next stage of life? If you want to sound off with a “SIR YES SIR!” these are the classes for you. You need to be ready to run the gauntlet of medical and retirement benefits, to battle your way into long-term care and to develop your reconnaissance skills find your way to successful aging. Getting older is not for the faint of heart. Learn what you need to know to successfully soldier on through the coming years.

Register for one or more of the sessions. The classes are offered at no charge, but space is limited. For more information or to register, call Moorhead Community Education at 218-284-3400 or register online at

Aging in Place
As we get older our bodies change. Our drill sergeant tonight will be a doctor who will help us learn what to expect, what to accept and what to reject.

APG64A – Tuesday, 5/3, 7-9 p.m., Hjemkomst Center, 202 1st Ave. N., no charge 

Aging Wisely

You’ve got to stay strong to survive! Eating, exercising and balance are important to develop and maintain. Learn what resources are available in the community to help you.
APG65A – Tuesday, 5/10, 7-9 p.m., Hjemkomst Center, 202 1st Ave. N., no charge 

Aging Productively

You have a lifetime of skills. How do you use them in your new theater of operations? The F-M area is full of great learning opportunities, volunteer experiences, service groups and interesting clubs. Find out how you can invest your time for maximum satisfaction. 

APG66A – Tuesday, 5/17, 7-9 p.m., Hjemkomst Center, 202 1st Ave. N., no charge

Aging Maze of Health Insurance Coverage

The obstacle course of health insurance becomes even more treacherous as we age. Learn about Medicare, Medigap and long-term care insurance from drill instructor Susan Johnson-Drenth of the Vogel Law Firm. 

APG67A – Tuesday, 5/24, 7-9 p.m., Hjemkomst Center, 202 1st Ave. N., no charge

Six Moorhead student volunteers receive “Scholarships for Sandbags”

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

The City of Fargo, Dakota Medical Foundation, Impact Foundation and United Way of Cass-Clay honored 40 local student volunteers integral in the 2011 flood fight through the ‘‘Scholarships for Sandbags’’ program. Five Moorhead High School students and one Red River Area Learning Center student were among those awarded $1,000 scholarships.

Forty students from 17 schools throughout Cass and Clay Counties received scholarships and were honored for their volunteer efforts during a ‘‘Scholarships for Sandbags’’ presentation on April 18 at the Fargo City Commission meeting. Moorhead High School students Zach Drechsel, Parker Jacobsen, Joni Klovstad, Christian Larson and Mercedes Ness and Red River Area Learning Center student Anthony Clapper are recipients of these scholarships.

Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker and representatives from DMF and Impact Foundations and United Way of Cass-Clay presented the students with “Scholarships for Sandbags” certificates. Representatives from the City of Fargo, City of Moorhead, and Cass and Clay Counties also attended.

The ‘‘Scholarships for Sandbags’’ program is designed to honor and recognize the volunteer spirit of area youth during the 2011 flood fight. Students from public and private schools in both Cass and Clay Counties who volunteered to sandbag during the 2011 flood fight were entered into a random drawing for the scholarships.

The $1,000 scholarships will be awarded directly to the college named by the student. United Way of Cass-Clay will provide $20,000 in scholarships. DMF and Impact Foundations will provide $20,000 in scholarships through the Spirit of Fargo Flood Fund.

Celebrate Week of the Young Child with Curious George at MECA family event

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Metro Early Childhood Alliance is celebrating the annual Week of the Young Child with an event for families and children featuring Curious George from PBS and interactive activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 16 at West Acres. Families are invited to meet Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Hat, participate in story time, do activities together, and increase awareness of the importance of social and emotional development.

The event is sponsored by the Metro Early Childhood Alliance, which is a network of community partners caring for families and children from birth to six years of age by providing education and experiences that support social and emotional development.

This event helps MECA and the community celebrate the annual Week of the Young Child. The celebration focuses public attention on the needs of young children and their families and also recognizes the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.

MECA has responded to research stating that the experiences of young children in the first six years have a lasting impact on later success in school and life. MECA hopes to fulfill its vision that all area children will live in a supportive environment that is sensitive to their social and emotional needs. The group hopes to promote healthy family time that encourages positive social and emotional development in children.

2007 Hall of Honor inductee dies

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Thomas Proehl, a longtime fixture in the Twin Cities theater and arts scene, died at his Minneapolis home Tuesday night. Proehl graduated from Moorhead High School in 1982 and was inducted into the Moorhead High School Hall of Honor in 2007. Read his Hall of Honor biography. Proehl, 46, was producing director of the theater arts and dance department at the University of Minnesota at the time of his death. Read the Star Tribune article.

Moorhead High School students encouraged to sandbag

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Moorhead High School students are encouraged to work on the city’s sandbagging efforts as the Moorhead Area Public Schools supports the community’s flood protection efforts.

“We have been working with the city leaders to coordinate efforts once the projection passed 38 feet,” said Superintendent Lynne Kovash. “While we are trying to maintain stability for our students, especially the younger ones, we also are ready to respond if the city leaders indicate a need for student volunteers.”

Beginning at noon Friday, April 8, Moorhead Area Public Schools will bus student volunteers from Moorhead High School to neighborhoods in coordination with Moorhead’s volunteer center. High school students who wish to volunteer need a volunteer waiver form signed by a parent/guardian. The volunteer form is available on the City of Moorhead’s website at Copies are available in the high school office or in the school announcements online.

Approximately 180 Moorhead High ninth-grade students are sandbagging Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week as part of their Explore class, which is focusing on civic engagement. Additionally, nearly 100 students have been excused to assist with flood-fighting efforts.

The district, in consultation with the Minnesota Department of Education, has rescheduled the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs), originally set for April 12-14, 2011, to April 19-21, 2011. The impacted tests include reading (grades 3-8 and grade 10), writing (grade 9) and math (grade 11).

Jenkins named Red River ALC Teacher of the Year

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Alternative education has the saying: “Show me what you know.” This motto is at the heart of Kelsy Jenkins’s teaching. Jenkins, a social studies and reading teacher at Red River Area Learning Center, was named the Red River Area Learning Center Teacher of the Year.

“I encourage my students by example and the constant positive feedback I offer,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins, who graduated from Concordia College, began working for Moorhead Area Public Schools as a substitute teacher and summer school teacher. She has also been a paraprofessional at the West Central Regional Juvenile Center and a Reading Recovery and history teacher in the Excel school-within-a-school program at Horizon Middle School. She also has taught independent study at both Red River ALC and Moorhead High School.

“Kelsy is an exceptional teacher and is a great asset to our team,” said Deb Pender-Tilleraas, alternative education program manager. “She has a ‘can do’ attitude that is reflected in her work with colleagues, students and parents. She is working at the state level with fellow educators in alternative education to support state-level initiatives and to increase opportunities for students to participate in regional and state-level activities that are sponsored by the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs.”

Jenkins has organized a professional learning community at Red River ALC, participated in the Japanese lesson plan training, helped coach the ALC robotics club and was recently trained in the Boys Town Reading Program, which she is now teaching and helping coordinate.

Read the full article at