NDSD students will return to DLHS next year

Sue Kraft, Lifestyles Editor

The first full year of integrating North Dakota School for the Deaf (NDSD) students into the public school high school system has been ruled a success.

At the school board meeting Monday night, the board unanimously voted to continue the agreement between NDSD, the Department of Public Instruction and the Devils Lake Public Schools.

Superintendent Steve Swiontek said faculty from both schools worked hard to welcome the students and accommodate their needs.

“I thought both NDSD and DLHS benefitted from this,” he said. “I thought it worked very well.”

Carmen Grove Suminski, NDSD Superintendent, said seven students attended the high school this year, and there were no graduates. One more student will be added next year, bringing the total to eight.

She said there were a few quirks to work out, as is the case with most new endeavors, but the students seemed to thrive in the halls of DLHS.

One student, she noted, played basketball and three joined the drama club.

She said after a recent play she saw a father congratulate his son and it was very touching to witness.

“The pride I saw in that father was just phenomenal,” she said. “I'll never forget it.”

DLHS Principal Ryan Hanson said he has seen the students “flourish” since joining Devils Lake High School and some have taught sign language to their new friends.

“From what I saw and heard from families, it went very well,” Hanson said. “I expect things to keep moving forward.”

Other business

• Beginning Aug. 1, 2011 all coaches in grades 7-12 will have to become certified, the board decided. The certification program will include four requirements and must be completed within one year. The courses are: First aid, CPR, Concussion Management and Fundamentals of Coaching.

Activities director Jason Wiberg said some coaches were on board with the new requirement, but some felt that having a coaching minor was sufficient.

The courses, he said, can be taken at home on the computer whenever is convenient and serve as a “great refresher” for the little things they may have forgotten.

• The board formally recognized Kayla Frappier as the state high school fast pitch coach of the year. Frappier is in her second year as coach and led the girls to a third-place finish in state this year.

Frappier credited the school system for their support and the players for their hard work.

“It's been a labor of love, a terrific experience,” she said. “It's been a great two years and I hope we can keep the tradition of success going with this program.”

• Swiontek said an evacuation plan has been put in place at Minnie H Elementary School in the case of a dike breach.

“All of the other buildings are safe at the water level now,” he said. “But if there's a flood it will be almost to the rafters at Minnie H.”

A gate is being installed at the school and the staff and students have practiced evacuation drills.

• Board members approved a request for the Spanish teacher, Megan McCann-Engberg, to take three students and one other chaperone to Costa Rica for nine days. They will visit a volcano, take a kayaking tour, visit a biological reserve, national park and the Santa Elena Cloud Forest, while immersing themselves in the native language.

• The board approved resignations from the following: Amanda Wheeling, grade 3 teacher at Prairie View, Natalie Smith, Century 21 Coordinator, and Danielle Hawn, special ed teacher at Devils Lake High School.

They also approved several new staff members: Nicole Johnson, vocational ed teacher at LACTC, Derryn Johnson, English teacher at DLHS; Emily Ellingson, visual arts teacher at CMS; Terri Peterson, grade 5-6 music teacher at CMS; and Patti Yoder, ED strategist at DLHS.

• A number of tuition waivers were approved for families living outside the district, but would like their children to attend the Devils Lake Public Schools. They were: Doug and Samantha Reese, Petersburg; Kelly and Heanne Durbin, Grant and JoAnna Lonski, Kyle and Jill Schlenker, Brad and Jamie Schneider, all of Lakota; Kevin Alexander and Shawn and Katie Banet of Leeds; Corey and Bonnie Erickson, Gene and Bernie Hager, Corey and Sarah O'Connell, all of Minnewaukan; Shawn and Bonnie Howatt of Cando; and Brian and Michelle Aanstad, Brad and Shawna Janzen, Wayne and Donna Rance, Will and Joanie Rossow, Jon Saastad, and Kurt and Sandi Weaver, all of Starkweather.

The board also approved a couple of requests from families living in Devils Lake that would like their children to attend Starkweather School: Nicole Steinhaus and Darrin and Amy Cox.

• Swiontek informed board members that the Devils Lake Area Foundation donated $12,264 for the track resurfacing project at Roller Field.

• There are still two teaching positions that are proving tough to fill, Swiontek told the board. There have been no applicants for the auto mechanic instructor at the Lake Area Career and Technology Center and they have yet to find an JROTC instructor to replace Dale Moser.