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Red River first high school in state to receive counselling honor

Pamela Knudson

Red River High School has been selected as a Recognized American School Counselor Association Model Program (RAMP) school, the Grand Forks Public Schools announced.

The RAMP designation recognizes schools that are committed to delivering a comprehensive, data-driven counseling program and an exemplary educational environment, according to the school district's communications coordinator, Tracy Jentz.

Red River is the first high school in North Dakota to receive the RAMP award. It is the third school in the state to receive the honor, joining J. Nelson Kelly in Grand Forks and Cheney Middle School in West Fargo.

Last year, Kelly Elementary School was recognized as a RAMP School of Distinction. Ginny Blake, school counselor, accepted the award at the ASCA conference in Denver.

Kelly was one of six schools nationally to be named as a RAMP School of Distinction.

Since the RAMP program's inception, more than 800 schools have been designated as RAMP award recipients.

This year's award recipients will be honored at a recognition ceremony at the annual conference of the American School Counselor Association in July at Los Angeles.

Grand Forks Central and Red River high school students placed in competitive programs at the 48th annual North Dakota SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference recently in Wahpeton, N.D.

SkillsUSA is a national organization that serves trade, industrial, technical and health occupations students in public high schools, career and technical centers and schools, and two-year colleges.

More than 500 students placed in the SkillsUSA competitive event programs and each received a medal, according to Grand Forks Public Schools.

These students competed in 42 occupational and leadership skill areas at the conference:

Grand Forks Central—Noah Darland, Jakob Stevenson and Rachel Craig placed first, second and third place, respectively, in Technical Drafting; Alex Elliott and Garret Manley, placed first and third, respectively, in Internetworking, and Mason Smith, placed first in Computer Programming.

Red River—Brendan Muus, Adam Hanson and Grant Richtsmeier, placed first, second and third, respectively, in IT (information technology) Services; Jackson Holm placed second in Computer Networking; Erik Walker and Kyle Holter-Vogel placed second and third, respectively, in Computer Programming.

First-place winners are eligible to compete at the National Leadership and Skills Conference next month in Louisville, Ky. Each students also receives a $1,000 scholarship to the North Dakota college of his or her choice.

In Grand Forks, program advisers include Nathan Carlson, engineering and drafting; Pat Compton, drafting; Jerome Gunderson and Paul Zettler, information technology, and Kevin Nelson, automotive.

North Dakota's scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress revealed the need for continued emphasis on early learning and reading programs, according to State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler.

The NAEP, which is often called the "nation's report card," is administered every two years to fourth- and eighth-grade students in all 50 states. The most recent assessment shows that North Dakota's average scores in reading and mathematics changed little from 2015.

Compared to the national average, the 2017 results showed that North Dakota fourth-grade students scored slightly higher in mathematics and about the same in reading.

North Dakota eighth-graders scored higher than the national average in math and slightly lower than the national average in reading.

The state's score trends on the NAEP, as well as the North Dakota State Assessment and other exams, have been flat, Baesler said in a news release.

Projects are in place to improve those results, including an emphasis on early childhood education; North Dakota's Choice Ready initiative, which encourages each school district to tailor programs to reach its educational goals, and a Striving Readers program, which supports school districts' efforts to improve reading skills, she said.

The North Dakota test data can be found on the NAEP's website,