Moorhead Area Public Schools' District Blog

Archive for the ‘Robert Asp Elementary’ Category

Veterans honored by Robert Asp kindergartners

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Some Robert Asp Elementary kindergarten students stand in front of their Wall of Honor that recognizes veterans for their service.

Kindergartners at Robert Asp Elementary School honored veterans with a Wall of Honor in the school’s main hallway in November.

The students brought photographs of veterans they know for a writing project. Besides writing, the students also learned about special holidays like Veterans Day and discussed what a veteran is.

Kindergarten teachers Sandy Asleson and Cathy Davis developed the idea as a way to recognize and remember veterans.

New elementary assistant principals aim to build relationships

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Relationships are key for Moorhead Area Public Schools’ three new elementary assistant principals, Michael Daugs, Jacob Scandrett and Travis Okerlund.

Daugs, assistant principal at Ellen Hopkins Elementary School, is already getting to know the students, staff and community and looks forward to continue developing these relationships. “I plan to use these relationships to develop the mission of our district while impacting our students’ learning and the community,” he said.

Daugs graduated from Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall, Minn., with a degree in elementary education. He earned his master’s degree in education and his principal license from St. Mary’s University. Daugs has been a fifth-grade teacher in the Elk River Area School District for the last nine years.

“The development of good relationships is foundational to the success of our students,” said Scandrett, assistant principal at Robert Asp Elementary. “The relationships we build each day with our kids influence their attitudes about learning, school and themselves,” he said.

Scandrett completed his master’s degree and teaching certification at Minnesota State University Mankato. He has taught science in Tracy, Minn., for the past five years and recently earned his specialist’s degree in educational leadership and his principal license from MSU Mankato.

Okerlund, assistant principal at S.G. Reinertsen Elementary, is eager to meet the students and teachers of Reinertsen when classes resume in September. “I also look forward to seeing so many different great teachers delivering strong lessons to hardworking students,” he said.

Okerlund graduated from Bemidji State University in elementary education and then moved to Las Vegas where he taught at the elementary level. He completed his master’s degree in educational leadership at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. After five years away, he moved back to the area and has been teaching at the elementary level in West Fargo. He earned his specialist’s degree in educational leadership at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Moorhead Area Public Schools added the elementary assistant principal positions this year to provide administrative support in part because of increased state requirements for the Reading Well plan and teacher evaluations. While the roles of the elementary assistant principals are still being defined, they will be assisting teachers with student data, working with student discipline, continuing to develop the K+ program in conjunction with Community Education, and supporting the implementation of the Reading Well plan.

Energ-i-ze encourages Robert Asp families to eat healthy, get fit

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Stuffed Angry Birds flew through the air at cardboard boxes set up in the gymnasium at Robert Asp Elementary School. The Angry Birds game was just one of the various activities available to families at Robert Asp’s second annual Energ-i-ze event on April 3.

Energ-i-ze is a school-based collaborative family fit night organized by Sanford Health with multiple community partners. According to Kristen Liebl, RD, LRD, with Sanford Health, the focus of the project is to hold family events that focus on physical activity and nutrition education.

“The intended impact is to increase knowledge, skills, confidence and intended behavior related to healthy behaviors,” Liebl said.

Energ-i-ze included a healthy meal (sloppy joes with a more nutritional punch) and snack attack; nutrition BINGO; organized physical activity games, obstacle courses and Zumba for the whole family; and door prizes.

Organizers of Energ-i-ze are working to increase the number of free physical activity events available to families, increase the awareness of healthy eating and options, and increase collaborative relationships among nonprofit organizations in the community working toward a healthier community. Community partners collaborating with Sanford on Energ-i-ze include YMCA, Youth Commission and Boys and Girls Club of Red River Valley, TNT Kids Fitness and Gymnastics, NDSU Extension, Junior League, Great Northern Bicycle Co. and Great Plains Food Bank Back Pack Program.

Energ-i-ze, which was launched in 2010 at Madison Elementary, Fargo, has been held at several schools in the metro area.

Open houses scheduled for students beginning kindergarten in the 2012-13 school year

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Kindergarten open houses for parents and children beginning kindergarten in the fall of 2012 will be held at the three elementary schools in April. Activities for incoming kindergarten students include information booths from community agencies and a chance to meet teachers, practice bus rides, and see the school and classrooms.

Kindergarten open houses for parents and children beginning kindergarten in the fall of 2012 are scheduled as follows:
S.G. Reinertsen Elementary at Probstfield Center for Education — 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12
Ellen Hopkins Elementary — 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17
Robert Asp Elementary — 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19

Biller named Robert Asp Teacher of the Year

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

As the mother of three daughters, Amy Biller understands that academic success and education by themselves are not enough.

Fifth-grade teacher Amy Biller, named Robert Asp Elementary Teacher of the Year, observes as a student demonstrates her completed paper corrugator, a simple machine made from Legos.

“As an educator,” Biller said, “I work to ensure that my students have not only the fundamentals, but also the tools and skills necessary to overcome obstacles, problem solve and, hopefully, find success in a dynamic world.”

Biller, who was named Robert Asp Elementary’s Teacher of the Year, has been a fifth-grade teacher at Robert Asp for 14 years. She has been an elementary and special education teacher in Moorhead Area Public Schools for the last 27 years. Prior to that she taught special education in Williston, N.D., for two years.

Read the complete article at

Food Bank’s BackPack Program expands to all three Moorhead elementary schools this year

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

The Great Plains Food Bank is expanding the Cass Clay BackPack Program to 750 children living with or at immediate risk of hunger in the community. This is an increase of 41 percent over last year when 530 students were served.

A Moorhead High School Key Club member places a food pack in a student locker at Robert Asp Elementary. The food packs are provided to students who may need meals over the weekend as part of the Great Plains Food Bank’s BackPack Program.

The program will reach students at all three of Moorhead’s elementary schools this year. Good Shepherd Church sponsored 100 students last year and will continue this year. Trinity Lutheran Church donated $5,000 for the 2011-12 school year, and MidContinent Communications donated enough money to start the program at S.G. Reinertsen Elementary School this year.

During the 2010-11 school year, 7,063 children in the Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo school districts qualified for and relied on the free and reduced-price lunch program to meet their nutritional needs. The BackPack Program is designed to meet the needs of hungry children who might not get needed nutrition on the weekends.

“Hungry children don’t learn as well at school, which in turn limits their potential and productivity as adults. We believe that when a child is fed, they are equipped to learn, grow and dream of a future filled with opportunity. This program makes sense,” said Melissa Sobolik, director of member and client services for Great Plains Food Bank.

Students are recommended for the program by teachers or principals who see first-hand their nutritional needs. Food packages are filled with child-friendly, nonperishable food and then discretely given to children in the program just before the weekend or a school holiday.

Last year at Robert Asp, 85 packs were handed out every week.

“The program is changing lives,” said Nadine Moon, the Title I parent coordinator and supporter of the BackPack Program for Moorhead’s elementary schools. “For some children participating in the program, this food is the difference between eating or not.”

The Great Plains Food Bank, a program of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, secures and stores food for the program, coordinates community volunteers to fill the food packages, and delivers the packages to the schools. In Moorhead, the Moorhead High Key Club members assist in distributing the packs to student lockers. Last year, Key Club members donated more than 310 hours distributing the packs at Robert Asp and Ellen Hopkins Elementary Schools.

It costs $4.25 to fill a backpack with juice, milk, fruit and food for four meals and snacks. Sponsoring a child for the entire school year costs $162, the Great Plains Food Bank said. Donations to the program may be designated to a particular school.

Ellen Hopkins Elementary, Robert Asp Elementary and S.G. Reinertsen Elementary are three of the 14 schools participating in the Cass Clay BackPack Program this year.

Robert Asp Elementary welcomes new principal

Friday, August 26th, 2011

For Chris Triggs the most important responsibilities of a principal are student learning and safety. As the new principal at Robert Asp Elementary School, Triggs said it is his job to ensure that all students are provided a quality education and realize their strengths as they become lifelong learners. Read the article at

Robert Asp students and staff create human mosaic of a Viking ship

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

An integrated project that connects the use of a GPS with physical education, mathematics, art and geography culminated June 1 at Robert Asp Elementary. Approximately 700 students and staff at Robert Asp formed the world’s largest human mosaic of a Viking ship.

The collaborative project began with physical education teacher Bert Chamberlain teaching the fourth-grade students how to use GPS units. The fourth-graders also did an art project involving geometry inspired by the work of Spanish artist Joan Miro. The students went outside and found geocache marks and drew a large abstract line artwork on their GPS. This was downloaded into the computer and turned into another work of art using the program Kid Pix.

Then the students watched a movie about the school’s namesake Robert Asp, his building of the Hjemkomst ship, which is now on display at the Hjemkomst Center, and the journey the ship took. They drew a picture of the ship and created a painting of it, said art teacher Kathy Larson-Carlson.

In May, they began working on a metal relief and learned how the Vikings used metal. They also learned about the giant glyphs found all over the world, particularly in northern Europe and South America.

The students used the GPS units to trace a giant ship outside and figure out the distances for the parts of the ship. Robert Asp students formed the ship’s shape with kindergarten students as clouds and staff in the mast. They used jeans for water and sheets for the sail. The jeans were donated to local thrift store after the mosaic was finished. A plane flew over to take a picture of the human mosaic.

The students raised money for this by selling products with their artwork on it. Next year, some of the earnings will be used to create a 24-foot mosaic of the ship for the school’s main hallway.

Robert Asp Elementary receives Pay It Forward funds

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Over the past three years, Robert Asp Elementary School has received $2,500, courtesy of Dee Vos through State Bank and Trust’s Pay It Forward program. State Bank and Trust implemented the Pay It Forward program as a way to focus on one of the company’s core values — giving back to the communities the company serves. Vos, a State Bank and Trust employee, donated $500 this year, which is being used to purchase an iPad for a learner support services classroom. Read the full article at

Shamdas named Robert Asp Teacher of the Year

Monday, February 28th, 2011

According to Mari Lourdes Shamdas, she became a teacher because it is what she always knew she should be doing. “When others were playing house, I was playing teacher,” she said. “I wanted to be part of helping students find pride in themselves by doing something well.”

Shamdas, named the 2011 Robert Asp Teacher of the Year, has been an English language learners teacher for Moorhead Area Public Schools since 1996.

Before coming to the district, Shamdas was an English as a Second Language teacher for Fargo Public Schools for four years and an ESL teacher for the Fargo Adult Learning Center for two years. From 1990-2005 she also worked as an adjunct instructor teaching Spanish at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Shamdas earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Málaga, Spain, her English as a Second Language licensure from MSUM, and her master’s in curriculum and instruction from MSUM.

“At every level of my education, I’ve been inspired by teachers who loved students and their professions,” Shamdas said. “I love connecting my passion for learning to others, and I enjoy being with young people.”

Read the full article at