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WF boasts top talent

When West Fargo School District officials tried to explain the National Certification process during a school board meeting Monday night, they threw around verbiage like "rigorous" and "consuming."

In a nutshell, the process is downright tough.

"I file like I was doing my master's thesis all over again - and in just six months," said Molly Bestge, one of three West Fargo teachers who recently received National Board Certification.

Bestge, a teacher at the STEM Center, Aaron Knodel of West Fargo High School, and Amber Rudolph of Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center received word in late November that their performance met the standard for National Board Certification in language arts, as set by the board of directors of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

National Board Certification is an advanced teaching credential, "that is highly rigorous and time consuming," Assistant Superintendent Louise Dardis said. "You need an understanding family to accomplish it."

As part of the certification process, candidates complete 10 assessments that are reviewed by trained teachers in their certificate areas. The assessments include four portfolio entries that feature teaching practice and six constructed response exercises that assess content knowledge. National Board Certification complements a teacher's state license, and is valid for 10 years.

Being nationally certified means a teacher can do his or her job in any state in the union, Grooters said.

West Fargo Public Schools already had one National Board Certified teacher, so the three new additions means the district has more than 10 percent of the state's 35 nationally certified instructors.

WFHS parking lot update to cost estimated $2.4 million

Also at Monday's meeting, the school board received an update on the proposed cost of resurfacing the West Fargo High School parking lot.

According to the engineer's report, construction could cost anywhere from nearly $1.8 million to more than $2.4 million, depending on the material used to resurface the lot.

Because the district shares the parking area with West Fargo Parks, however, costs will be shared proportionately to each entity's use, West Fargo business manager Mark Lemer said.

The reasons for the price disparity largely came down to the parking lot's new surface itself. If the parking lot was resurfaced with asphalt, which it now consists of, it would cost the district approximately $1.5 million for its share.

Lemer said the downside to asphalt is the maintenance, which requires upkeep yearly and significant work on a five-year basis.

"And remember, part of the reason we're at this point is because the district has not kept up with the updating, neither with dollars or discipline," Superintendent David Flowers said.

The more expensive but less costly in the long run because of upkeep would be concrete.

"It nearly doubles the life of a parking lot," Lemer said.

At $600,000 more expensive, concrete definitely was a less appealing option from a price point. But given the dilapidated state of the current lot's asphalt covering, the board decided concrete would be the best choice in the long run.

"We need to put something in that will actually have a long life," Lemer said.

While the park board was scheduled to meet Wednesday to decide it's choice in the matter, Lemer said, either way, the city likely would be approached to develop a special assessment district for the project.

"We would struggle to pay for the lot, and the park district definitely would struggle," he said.

As it stands, the school district will pay for 100 percent of the cost for the high school's main lot, the high school visitor parking lot, and the staff parking lot. It will pay 50 percent of the cost for the Veteran's Memorial Stadium main lot, of which it uses frequently during the school day and for events, and 85 percent for drive lanes.

In that case, the school district will pay more than $1.9 million for the project, while the park district foots approximately $460,000 of the bill.

No action was taken for the parking lot at Monday's meeting.